Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Belén Ortega, Luis Guerrero, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: August 16th, 2023
Following the Penguin’s death in the landmark Batman #125, the mysterious Executor has enlisted Catwoman to carry out the departed’s last wishes and track down his next of kin. But when the Penguin’s heirs start getting murdered, Catwoman will have to find the killer and discover what truly became of Oswald Cobblepot. Collects the Batman #125-127 backup stories by the red-hot creative team of Chip Zdarsky and Belén Ortega!
For those who’ve been decoupled from Penguin and Batman as of late, let me catch you up. He’s dead and the blame has been put squarely on Batman. Thus, The Penguin #0 focuses on the aftermath from that perspective with Catwoman at the helm. The issue itself wasn’t bad. However, it felt like it’s been done before. Additionally, for a comic with the Penguin as the title, you’ll be shocked to discover that this is actually a Catwoman title more than anything else.
Zdarsky uses The Penguin #0 to introduce a new character named the Executor, to present Cobblepot heirs, and provide fans with the more compassionate side of Selena Kyle. Now, this is all well and good but the issue was overly predictable and didn’t really deliver any meat hooks to sink deep into this opening installment. Moreover, the sly elements used to provoke humor also didn’t really hit the mark. Overall, I think readers will just find this to be a standard, opening issue with Catwoman in the driver’s seat. I’d love to tell you more, however, that would divulge too much additionally about the plot spoiling The Penguin #0 making it utterly pointless to read.
Belén Ortega and Luis Guerrero showcase their ability to fire out action sequences and panels extremely well. They know where to focus the action while simultaneously dropping out backgrounds and arranging the story in clever ways to make the fights flow from one panel to the next. The color choices also fit the backdrop of the story well. The darker colors and black settings provided a nighttime aura that set the tone well. However, if there was one knock I could provide the illustrations it would be that they were reminiscent of more of a cartoonish vibe. Now, that may be the feeling Zdarsky was looking for. Nevertheless, with the story itself being a bit heavier, I feel the artists could have added a more specialized touch to the issue.
The Penguin #0 was literally an average comic. There was nothing that truly stood out nor was there anything to really grab the reader’s attention. Fans will definitely find out who the Cobblepot heirs are, what truly happened to The Penguin, and what Catwoman has to do with all of this. Nevertheless, all will be revealed without much fanfare or pizzazz. On a more positive note, Catwoman is written well and is also not dressed so provocatively that it takes away from the comic. Would I recommend this issue? Well, maybe to Catwoman fans. Yet, it just wasn’t enough to draw me into the series. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!