With the Iceberg Lounge sitting at the bottom of the ocean along with most of his money and all his reputation, Penguin has a lot to be angry about then. And, as he doesn’t have the best anger control in the world, that means this issue we’re going to see a lot of him getting into gross little sweaty murder rages. Yay?
Writers: James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder
Consulting Writers: Tim Seeley, John Layman and Ray Fawkes
Artist: Jason Fabok
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
We start at sunny Arkham Asylum, which everyone has forgotten about except for maybe Batwing and Corrigan. I think they’re somewhere in there at the moment? It’s very hard to keep up, it’s been a while. One definite resident is Scarecrow, who is running round in the corridors like he’s got a Marauders Map or something. As he says that he’s afraid, two hands come through the wall – literally, through the wall, like Kitty Pryde – and sneak him away.
At a less cosy motel, Penguin complains that he’s a big time player worth millions of dollars and he shouldn’t have to stay in places like this. Hey, every single Republican spends every other weekend in a motel, it should be good enough for Oswald too. His most disposable minion mentions some of this, which prompts Penguin to literally see red – I’m onto you, colorist Brad Anderson – he murders the guy. He’s got at least two other minions in the room at the time neither of whom say anything, and I have to say it’s interesting to do a compare and contrast exercise between Penguin and Darth Vader.
Jason Bard’s one-week mission to rid Gotham of corruption leads him to Mayor Hady, who also crumbles in the face of Big Bard. This kid is really making the fifty superheroes in Gotham kinda redundant, isn’t he?
Speaking of redundant, Gordon is still in Blackgate, doing a whole lot of brooding in the cafeteria. I’ve been there, Jim. His cellmate sits down with him, but weirdly his tray is completely empty aside for some rice. They have a heart to heart as Gordon seems to be thinking his son was right, and it’s time for him to just become a criminal now. Didn’t take much to get him there, bit worrying really.
A desperate Falcone is now holed up in a factory somewhere. Turns out that he’s running out of men! What a shock, fifty of them get murdered each issue and you’re surprised that you haven’t got any left. He’s interrupted though, by Penguin, who has found the factory and seems to be on a one-man mission to murder everybody left in the Roman’s pocket. He’s, um, wearing a sort of murder onesie. Ew. He shoots Falcone through the wrist with his umbrella, then tells him a story about evolution.
In his mind, you had the classic gangsters, then the dirty gangster like Falcone who overthrew them because they were willing to sink lower into business like drug-trafficking. Then you had the super gangsters like Penguin, who evolves to deal with the rise of the super-hero and matched them all the way along. Just as he’s about the puncutate the point by puncturing Falcone’s neck with the point of his knife, the press show up, flanked by, of course, Big Bard.
He arrested Forbes that morning, it turns out, and Forbes ratted out Falcone. So now Bard is able to arrest Forbes, Falcone and Penguin all in one day. Tomorrow he’ll probably catch Joker, Riddler and Darkseid before having a light brunch, this kid can do anything.
At Blackgate, Jim actually leaves his cell and heads towards the exit. Jim no! Handily he’s stopped by Batman, who somehow knew this was the one night he should’ve shown up for a chat. Jim goes on about what his evil son said to him, wah wah, and Batman basically says “um hello? You’re THE Jim Gordon, get over it” which is pretty motivating when you think about it.
Gordon then goes into a speech about Rex Calabrese, the gangster Falcone usurped. He’s basically going on the reverse of Penguin’s speech, saying that as gangsters in Gotham evolved, so did the crime-fighters, and maybe now he’s not needed anymore. Batman again goes “uh excuse me have you met yourself” and then says that if Gordon isn’t needed in the outside world, at least he still has the inside – Falcone and Penguin are on their way into Blackgate, and somebody is going to need to make sure order is maintained. See? All Jim needed was a job!
There’s a quick interlude where Red Robin realises that Harper Row has stowed away on his plane, and she brought her own snacks. Cheese puffs, in fact, which is a pretty smart choice. You don’t want anything overly greasy on a long-haul flight, you’ll feel sick when you land.
Back at Gotham, Batman heads over to GCPD and has a chat with Big Bard. He’s noticed one thing nobody else did – it was MASSIVELY convenient for all Bard’s enemies to show up a the same place at the same time. He set it up! Bard has a bit of a lol about it, and the ten or so dead gangsters Penguin killed before reaching Falcone, and basically waves Batman off. Ooof. This isn’t Bard-man Eternal, Jason, you might be overreaching a bit here. Frank Castle would be pretty proud, though.
The final page shows us where Scarecrow showed up and it’s the most terrifying place on Earth: a Joker’s Daughter subplot. I’m so, so sorry, Jonathan.
38 more issues to go!
Steve Morris runs this site! Having previously written for sites including The Beat, ComicsAlliance, CBR and The MNT, he can be found on Twitter here. He’s a bunny.