DC has added yet another Bat family title to its catalog with Penguin: Pain and Prejudice. Though, I can forgive this one because it’s a mini-series and it’s starting off stronger than several of the ongoing books that recently came out. What we have here is Hurwitz’s interpretation of a long standing Batman villain as we’re shown the origin of Oswald Cobblebot, better known as The Penguin. The past and present run parallel as we see some of the events that helped to shape one of Gotham’s most vile gangsters. Born with a noticeable deformity, you can assume that he grew up suffering the ridicule of many, though one person in his life would continue to reassure him that he was perfect.
This is probably the first time this character has been interesting enough for me to want to know more beyond the little bit I know of the character. He’s not depicted as a caricature or a joke, as Hurwitz reinforces that this is a man to be feared and respected through that fear. The tone of this story is carried over very well by Kudranski, who is also drawing one hell of a Spawn book. After seeing his work on that title, I expected a dark tale and great artwork to go along with it. That is exactly what you get from beginning to end as the visuals give this story the perfect touch needed for it to be as great as it is. There’s a sequence where Penguin is explaining how he is destroying a man’s life, and each panel just gets creepier as the tale progresses. That last page is also a fantastic piece and a great reveal shot, even if it is only a partial.
If you ever thought The Penguin was just a joke and doubted his role as one of Gotham’s worst, then Hurwitz will change your mind here. The best part is that he’s having the character being defined by his own story and actions rather than his more famous enemy. Add to this Kudranski’s great artwork and DC has the beginnings to a great mini-series on its hands!