Overview: In Penguin #0, Catwoman is roped into helping Executor, the keeper of the last will of Oswald Cobblepot, locate his long-lost children. What she finds is a trail of death leading to an unlikely source.
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Belen Ortega
Colors by: Luis Guerrero
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Editor’s Note: The Penguin #0 collects and reprint the backup stories in Batman #125-127. It is a prelude to the upcoming Penguin series.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead):
We begin in the Iceberg Lounge. After the death of the Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot, at the hand of the Batman, a power struggle for control of the Lounge has begun. Catwoman (Selina Kyle) tries to protect the workers as a gang war is about to erupt.
Before anything major happens, the Underbroker arrives with his new toy called the Executor: a giant metal machine dressed in a suit. Executor handles the will for “special clients” like the Penguin. He tells the crowd the will is to be read in seven days, beating one of the thugs to get his point across.
Later that evening, the Executor knocks on Selina Kyle’s door. The robot has figured out she is Catwoman and needs her help. He explains that he needs to contact the people that are requested to be at the reading of the will, a difficult task given that he is not from the same world as Oswald. Catwoman protests until she is offered $500K.
The 10 people she needs to locate turn out to be Oswald’s children. We catch back up with Selena as she locates the tenth and final kid, as the other nine have been murdered. She catches this one in progress. She fails to save the boy or catch the killer.
Selina sits across from the Executor. She wants to know the names of the mothers of all the children that died. If Oswald won’t help them, she will, but Addison and Aiden Cobblepot interrupt them. DNA tests prove they are Oswald’s children, and they are given the lounge.
Selina is able to find out that Aiden killed all of his siblings. As a result, she can’t let it rest. She heads to Metropolis and walks into the flower shop now owned by Oswald Cobblepot. She tells him what happened to his children. He had hoped that they would bond over his death. He explains to Selina how Batman is a drug, and he can’t do it anymore.
After she leaves, Oswald sits with his own thoughts. He says to himself, “They’re coming for you little ones.. the Cat and the Bat. Make your Father proud… And destroy them for me will you?”
Neutral. I am usually able to decide whether I like a comic or not, but on this one I am torn. I enjoyed the base of the story: Catwoman needing to chase down the kids of Oswald for this giant machine man that holds his will. It could have been its own miniseries, fleshed out longer than just 27 pages. Seven of the pages are spent in the Iceberg lounge while a bunch of non-essential characters make threats. In my opinion, the focus should have been more on her uncovering the plot of the dead siblings, which then could have led her to an alive Oswald Cobblepot. It was a mistake to have Selina tell the story. If this wasn’t called Penguin, or I didn’t know there wasn’t a miniseries coming, I would think this was leading into a Catwoman series. We see this the most at the end. Oswald asks his children to kill the Cat and the Bat for him. He makes zero indication that he will be returning, If anything, this cements that he isn’t returning.
Dilemma time. I do know this is called the Penguin, and I do know there is a miniseries coming. I know that it involves him working for the government in some sort of capacity. I am really intrigued by the landscape that this Oswald will be returning to. The children he never had in his will are now in charge of the Iceberg Lounge after murdering the rest of their siblings, he framed Batman for his death, and I assume he is going to have to deal with Amanda Waller.
The art team did a splendid job. There aren’t any major wow moments to point out, but from start to finish the art is solid. I do like the cover with Selina perched in front of the Executor. The pinks, purples and blues are gorgeous but are muted a touch once the cover is opened which is disappointing.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with an advanced copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.