Artist: Christian Duce
The issues I've mostly been looking forward to from Villains Month have been the Batman related ones that I'm getting, as although I've been looking forward to the likes of Zod, and Doomsday more, it has been the Batman ones as a whole that I've been interested in, as with his villains being the best collection of villains ever I've been hoping for great stories involving them.
After recent events Penguin is still trying to build his empire up to what it was, though his old friend Carter Winston is a thorn in his side when he plans to close The Iceberg Casino.
This was a surprisingly good issue, as although it wasn't anything special, it was much better than I thought it'd be. I've never really been a fan of the bits and pieces of Frank Tieri's work that I've read in the past, but this was really good, as after expecting a mediocre issue I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be good. The issue had a brilliant theme to it, taking a different direction to not only most issues that Villains Month has produced so far, but Penguin stories in general. I also loved the dram, and suspense throughout, as although the story wasn't spectacular, the gritty nature of it was brilliant, and I loved seeing Penguin do whatever he needs to get his way.
The art on this issue was also very good, as although I wasn't impressed when I saw the preview, as a whole it was fantastic, and Christian Duce did a great job, and I'd gladly buy more comics with his art. Duce's artwork suited the Penguin perfectly, as although I felt the preview issues made him look a little too grotesque, after reading the whole issue I felt that it was actually perfect, showing this sinister character, who can be charming as well as deadly. I also loved the layout of Duce's artwork, and overall the way he showed the characters emotion was brilliant, though it did look slightly awkward when it came to Carter. I also loved the tone of the artwork, and Andrew Dalhouse produced some amazing colours.
This issue would start by showing the running of Penguin's Iceberg Casino, and that although he's not happy with paying out customers that he's wanting to keep it as legit as possible. He was however angry when he found a group who were cheating. I did however find this version of Penguin too gentle, which put me off the story to start with. It did however quickly turn this into a positive, with this being a set-up simply to show that Penguin's attempting to go, or seem legit.
This attitude wouldn't last long though, as we would see a violent side to the Penguin, which I was very happy about. I was even more happy as we don't usually see Penguin fight himself, as although he's no match for Batman, he can handle himself with these sort of thugs easily, it's just that he mostly uses goons so we don;t get the chance to see it. On top of that I also felt that this sequence as a whole was very dramatic, and extremely exciting, as although it wasn't the best sequence in the issue, it was very close to being the best.
This issue would also see an old friend of Penguin's named Carter Winston, who plans on ridding Gotham City of the Iceberg Casino. Now with this being a new character I was interesting to see what kind of an impact he would have, and I have to say he had a decent one, and the interaction between him and Penguin was outstanding. It was also at times very intense and gritty, as without going into detail, it would add plenty of excitement to the latter half of the issue.
This was a better issue than I originally thought it would be, as although nothing special it was very gritty, and dramatic. It also had plenty of suspense, and showed Penguin's characteristics perfectly, reminding us to, "never underestimate the Penguin." Due to all this I'd certainly recommend it, especially if you're a Penguin fan, but at the same time don't expect it to blow your mind.