Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Batman #58 is not only an excellent first issue of the latest arc, the Tyrant Wing, but also affirmation that Tom King’s promised long-game storyline is bubbling back to the forefront. After the last arc, that saw the KGBeast severely wound Nightwing then flee to the emptiness of Siberia, an arc that culminated in a brutal fight and an even more wicked ending, its nice to return to the streets of Gotham. Well it’s nice for the reader, for Batman and this issues focus, the Penguin, not so much. Once again Tom King is ramping up the intrigue and crafting a nail biting reading experience and I’m eating up every page of it.
I’ve never been the biggest of Penguin fans, for some reason he just doesn’t resonate with me like some of Batman’s other Rogues Gallery do. My go to image is Burgess Meredith version from the campy Batman show of the ‘60s. Over the past few years DC has transformed the Penguin from a rotund super criminal to more of a Kingpin styled crime boss, which is where Tom King picks up his story, and in some way over the course of Batman #58 makes me feel sorry for the poor man. We sadly find out early in the issue that the Penguin’s wife Penny has been murdered, an event that the Penguin’s Henchmen can’t understand but the Gotham Crime Lord knows that it is a message. Bane is displeased. Penny’s murder is a summons that he cannot ignore. Bane has his own plans for the Batman and he doesn’t need the Penguin and his cohorts (Black Mask & Great White Shark) messing up his long-term plan. Penny was but a message, to return to the good graces of Bane the Penguin must draw blood as a target is placed on Batman’s oldest ally, his surrogate father Alfred Pennyworth. The final pages of this magnificent issue are tense and in true Tom King fashion the cliffhanger leaves me craving Batman #59, which can’t get here soon enough.
I didn’t dislike the past story arc like many people did, I’m not super excited with what happened to Nightwing but I like the KGBeast and the drive Batman showed to enact his revenge. That being said I am very happy to be back in Gotham and to have Tom King continuing to ramp up the tension that will not doubt culminate in an epic Batman #100. It’s also exciting as a reader to see all the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. From the slight references in this to the trial of Mister Freeze, a highlight of King’s entire run, and how the legal decision had fouled Bane’s master plan, which he is orchestrating from the bowels of Blackgate prison. The Penguin and his cohort’s employment of the KGBeast from the last arc was a nice addition and although it felt like just a revenge story now has an added layer to it, especially with this issues cliffhanger. It’s nice to see Mikel Janin back for this arc, I loved what he and King did on Grayson and both have only grown in prestige and talent since that thrilling series concluded. His artwork is detailed and beautiful, with smooth lines that pop from the page when Jordie Bellaire’s vibrant colors are added to the mix. Batman has continued to be one of my favorite books and Batman #58 is just another great addition to this series.
Verdict: Batman #58 is another great issue of Tom King’s Batman magnum opus. It’s a heartbreaking beginning of a tale of the Penguin that continues to build upon King’s over arching story and a definite Buy.