When we last left the caped crusader at the finale of ‘Detective Comics’ #6, he was in the middle of an attempt by new villains Jill Hampton (killer ninja and daughter to the mayor) and her associate Snakeskin (face-changing crook), to rob the Iceberg Casino. The problem… the Iceberg is owned by none other than Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin!

During the heist, the Penguin is hosting a gathering of other small time Gotham villains. The Penguin is offering to protect the villains’ money and to get them set up amongst Gotham’s crime families. Meanwhile Jill’s sister Charlotte, a reporter, is trying to get the scoop on the Penguin’s nefarious dealings. As the issue ended, Charlotte was seemingly killed, leaving Jill in a precarious predicament.

So far, I haven’t been sold on writer/artist Tony Daniel’s take on Batman. His story rambled from an amazing opening with the Joker, only to drop into a so-so story with new villain, the Dollmaker. Then this story with Penguin and all of these new villains seemed a bit tame, convoluted, and seemingly going nowhere. This issue, Mr. Daniel has redeemed himself. The story sets up Penguin in a way that takes everything that I love about the character and makes him a force to be reckoned with in Gotham’s criminal underworld.

Too often, the Penguin is treated like a fat bumbling buffoon of a villain but, if the rest of the New 52 keeps Daniel’s incarnation, the pudgy funny-looking little man will be able to hold his own alongside the rest of Batman’s impressive rogues gallery.

So, it’s taken Daniel seven issues to get there, but he’s finally starting to deliver on the epic stuff that he hinted at back in that stunning first issue. Here’s hoping that this trend continues. Be back next month to find out when I review ‘Detective Comics’ #8.

Verdict: Buy

Written by TONY S. DANIEL
Art and cover by TONY S. DANIEL and SANDU FLOREA