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Batman – Detective Comics, Volume 3: Emperor Penguin

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Oswald Cobblepot has a plan. No longer content with merely being the crime lord the Penguin, he yearns for the love of Gotham City. All he has to do is call a hit on Bruce Wayne, and in one night, the Penguin goes from notorious criminal to beloved savior of Gotham. Everything is going exactly according to plan. But when chaos strikes, even the best plan crumbles. And when Oswald Cobblepot has a plan. No longer content with merely being the crime lord the Penguin, he yearns for the love of Gotham City. All he has to do is call a hit on Bruce Wayne, and in one night, the Penguin goes from notorious criminal to beloved savior of Gotham. Everything is going exactly according to plan. But when chaos strikes, even the best plan crumbles. And when Joker returns to Gotham, chaos comes with him. Now, with Penguin temporarily out of commission and Batman busy trying to stop Poison Ivy and a group of Joker-obsessed maniacs, a new threat creeps in from the sidelines. He calls himself Emperor Penguin. He’s everything Penguin was and more. And he’s bad news for Batman…and very bad news for Oswald Cobblepot. Batman – Detective Comics: Emperor Penguin Acclaimed writer John Layman (Chew) makes his mark on the Dark Knight Detective, with incredible art from Jason Fabok (Batman: The Dark Knight) and Andy Clarke (Batman and Robin). Collecting: Batman – Detective Comics, #13-18.


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Oswald Cobblepot has a plan. No longer content with merely being the crime lord the Penguin, he yearns for the love of Gotham City. All he has to do is call a hit on Bruce Wayne, and in one night, the Penguin goes from notorious criminal to beloved savior of Gotham. Everything is going exactly according to plan. But when chaos strikes, even the best plan crumbles. And when Oswald Cobblepot has a plan. No longer content with merely being the crime lord the Penguin, he yearns for the love of Gotham City. All he has to do is call a hit on Bruce Wayne, and in one night, the Penguin goes from notorious criminal to beloved savior of Gotham. Everything is going exactly according to plan. But when chaos strikes, even the best plan crumbles. And when Joker returns to Gotham, chaos comes with him. Now, with Penguin temporarily out of commission and Batman busy trying to stop Poison Ivy and a group of Joker-obsessed maniacs, a new threat creeps in from the sidelines. He calls himself Emperor Penguin. He’s everything Penguin was and more. And he’s bad news for Batman…and very bad news for Oswald Cobblepot. Batman – Detective Comics: Emperor Penguin Acclaimed writer John Layman (Chew) makes his mark on the Dark Knight Detective, with incredible art from Jason Fabok (Batman: The Dark Knight) and Andy Clarke (Batman and Robin). Collecting: Batman – Detective Comics, #13-18.

30 review for Batman – Detective Comics, Volume 3: Emperor Penguin

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jayson

    (B+) 76% | Good Notes: An artful glut of dead-end detours and low-rent knock-offs, where appetite for ownage sows the supervillain drama.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    3.5 stars Not too shabby. The storyline with the League of Smiles was one I'd already read elsewhere, so there wasn't much tension for me with that story. The Joker is running around during his Death of the Family thing, and some assholes decide to take advantage of it. I'm a bit over the gross psychopaths carving others (and themselves) up in DC, but this was from a while back, so I'm not going to rant. Still...ugh. There's also a Poison Ivy story, where Batman tries to get her to see the error 3.5 stars Not too shabby. The storyline with the League of Smiles was one I'd already read elsewhere, so there wasn't much tension for me with that story. The Joker is running around during his Death of the Family thing, and some assholes decide to take advantage of it. I'm a bit over the gross psychopaths carving others (and themselves) up in DC, but this was from a while back, so I'm not going to rant. Still...ugh. There's also a Poison Ivy story, where Batman tries to get her to see the error of her ways. Which works out for him about as well as you might expect... Ivy is (once again) using her wacky lady powers to seduce men into doing whatever she wants. Unfortunately for her, she may have gone too far this time. She puts the whammy on Clayface, because he's not only super-strong, he's super-gullible. Does anybody here think this won't backfire on her? Neither of these stories are all bad or all that great. Still, they were both readable. Up next is the title story about an new villain (Emperor Penguin) taking all of the old villain's (plain old Penguin) shit. To me there were some kind of obvious holes in this 'takeover'. The Joker shows up and takes Penguin to Arkham for the whole thing that happened in Death of the Family, and Penguin leaves his right hand man, Ogilvy, in charge. So this guy, now calling himself Emperior Penguin, just sort of...locks the door on Cobblepot. Huh? Like, pretend you go to Walmart, and the guy who was fixing your garbage disposal decides to change the locks and squat in your house. Not only that, but he somehow puts the deed to the house in his name, empties out your bank account, and takes over your floating Ice Casino. I'm just assuming you have an arctic themed casino. First of all, aren't there safeguards in place to make something like that sort of impossible. Especially if you were semi-famous and fairly recognizable (like the freaking Penguin). I always thought that in order to take ownership of something, the original owner had to actually sign it over to you...usually in the presence of a lawyer. Then again, this is Gotham. The only other thing that I thought was odd was that the volume seemed to be all over the place on the timeline. At one point it seems like the Joker is still running loose (before the Death of the Family stuff), then Damien is featured with Batman talking about the DotF thing like it had already happened, then Bruce is crying to Alfred about how Damien is dead. The volume seems to span quite a bit of time...I guess? It's not a big deal, but I thought it was kind of jarring. It's also possible that I misread or misunderstood things. 'Cause that happens to me quite a bit. On the whole, I'd say this is a pretty good Batman book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    When the review quotes on the cover of a book essentially say "This series sucked until the new guy started writing it.", it's a sign that you've started reading at the right time. Bad reviews put me off the first two volumes of Detective Comics, but Emperor Penguin is a great jumping on point that left me in full agreement with the praise on the cover. New writer John Layman's non-linear storytelling makes for an entertaining read. His Batman is very chatty (which Nightwing makes a good quip When the review quotes on the cover of a book essentially say "This series sucked until the new guy started writing it.", it's a sign that you've started reading at the right time. Bad reviews put me off the first two volumes of Detective Comics, but Emperor Penguin is a great jumping on point that left me in full agreement with the praise on the cover. New writer John Layman's non-linear storytelling makes for an entertaining read. His Batman is very chatty (which Nightwing makes a good quip about), but overall he does a great job with the story. I particularly liked his approach to the Death Of The Family tie-ins that took over the Batman line during Joker's return, in that he doesn't even use the Joker. Instead, there's an interesting look at the effect the Clown Prince Of Crime has on Gotham's citizens, whether it's inspiring panic or adulation. Batman faces the Joker-obsessed League Of Smiles, led by a new villain with a great look, The Merrymaker. Speaking of looking great, i'm a big fan of Jason Fabok's artwork and every issue here is remarkable. Layman's plot allows him to draw a variety of villains, but he excels with the Dark Knight in particular, giving him a powerful presence each time he appears. Jeromy Cox adds strong colours to the dark streets of Gotham City and the character designs are consistent across the main story and the back-ups. Andy Clarke and colourist Blond deftly handle most of these extras, which Layman uses to enrich the main narrative and build sub-plots. The only downside here is that the titular story isn't concluded in this volume. Emperor Penguin, the story arc involving (wait for it...) the Penguin and a power-hungry subordinate steadily builds as Layman weaves other narrative threads in and out of each issue. However, when it finally takes centre stage in the closing chapter, the book ends just as things are really starting to heat up. It didn't sour my taste for more though, and I can't wait to see what else this creative team has in store. If you're looking for a great starting point for Detective Comics then the cover blurbs are right, you can't go wrong with Emperor Penguin.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    OK, so this is my second reading of this, as I forgot to review and track when I first read this. John "Chew" Layman wrote this volume, a great improvement from Tony S. Daniel on 1-2. This volume concerns Penguin trying to take back the Cobblepot name, but being undercut by his right hand man, Ignatius Ogilvy, who takes the name "Emperor Penguin". That's the good part. The bad parts? The silly Joker inspired gangs and the idiot z-listers that are Penguin subordinates. The art by Jason Fabok and Andy OK, so this is my second reading of this, as I forgot to review and track when I first read this. John "Chew" Layman wrote this volume, a great improvement from Tony S. Daniel on 1-2. This volume concerns Penguin trying to take back the Cobblepot name, but being undercut by his right hand man, Ignatius Ogilvy, who takes the name "Emperor Penguin". That's the good part. The bad parts? The silly Joker inspired gangs and the idiot z-listers that are Penguin subordinates. The art by Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke is pretty solid. I like the potential of a new Penguin, while the old one is still around...gives a twist to things, and we also see how Joker's return affects Oswald and co. Also we learn that he (Oswald) had a large role to play in Zsasz and his origin. The funny parts are great, but violent. Bruce making donations to the Orthodontic and Orthopedic clinics of Gotham in between Batman breaking legs and busting jaws. There's also a spot where some minions are turned against the master, and Batman says "they turned against him, and would've beaten him to death in 15 seconds...I intervened after 10." Love it. Sadistic mofo. Damian influencing Dad? Anyhow, a solid entry, if Layman hadn't moved to DC, it would've stayed pretty piss poor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lᴀʏᴀ Rᴀɴɪ ✦

    Five weeks ago, I had the displeasure of suffering through a great deal of mild migraines while I was reading the first twelve issues for Detective Comics which were then written and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel. The bitter aftertaste of the two collected editions for those stories had lingered too long than I would've allowed, so I was very eager to wash off my Bat-palette for this title which was thankfully and mercifully cleansed by John Layman who has replaced Daniel as the current writer Five weeks ago, I had the displeasure of suffering through a great deal of mild migraines while I was reading the first twelve issues for Detective Comics which were then written and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel. The bitter aftertaste of the two collected editions for those stories had lingered too long than I would've allowed, so I was very eager to wash off my Bat-palette for this title which was thankfully and mercifully cleansed by John Layman who has replaced Daniel as the current writer for the series. This collected volume is composed of issues #13-18 and revolved around the Emperor Penguin story arc and included the Death of the Family tie-ins. This was a decent collection which focused on Ignaius Oglivy, Penguin's right-hand man who had ambitions of power of his own and therefore seized the throne from Cobblepot for himself on a timely manner. He proved himself just as cunning and opportunistic, even more so than his former master. It was a really interesting tale, though I felt that this collection was ultimately incomplete. For one, it was missing issue #20 which was the finale for the Emperor Penguin arc to begin with so it seemed downright wasteful not to have that here. Second, I was surprised that we did not get the Man-Bats story The 900 at least since said epidemic was part of Ignatius Oglivy's scheme. Nevertheless, the issues that were included are some of the most enjoyable stories that featured Batman being an awesome sleuth who does investigate and solve crimes through logic and reasoning as oppose to beating the shit out of criminals until he gets answers. The foremost thing that I could praise for John Layman's work for his run so far is that he's able to keep things simple yet they are all layered enough to guarantee a compelling adventure for readers. As a series devoted to Batman's side adventures (considering Snyder's Batman is a more major title compared to this one), the narrative framework of each of Layman's story could have been unfocused or even grossly disproportionate (which was exactly the problem with his predecessor's writing). However, Layman was more than able to come up with something cohesive and loads of entertaining for his major arc on Emperor Penguin while still contributing something meaningful to the major events that are happening on other titles such as Damian Wayne's death and the Joker's Return. Artists Jason Fabok brings so much life and energy to his illustrations, giving Gotham landscapes an electrifying vibe that can be sinister and light-hearted in some places. Andy Clarke, who drew the backup stories for every issue, knows how to put great detail in his characters' facial expressions. These backup issues are probably my most favorite part of Layman's run because they were supplemental material that have enough substance and teeth to their narrative and characterization and were even able to enhance the reading experience for me. I just LOVE how John Layman reinvented this title after the colossal mess that it was from before (which felt like ages ago). Everything felt fresh and exciting page after page and you could definitely get the sense that Layman and co. always prioritize that their readers will have a good time by the end of the day after reading their work. This would have gotten a perfect rating if only they included issue #20 and The 900 because those were important pieces for me; the former ended the story arc (and began a possible plot thread for the next issues) while the latter was an amazing standalone story in its own right. Overall this was a pretty slick accomplishment and a start of something daring! RECOMMENDED: 8/10 DO READ MY BATMAN COMICS REVIEWS AT:

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    I'm not too into the Emperor Penguin character... I would rather have seen a completely new character developed instead of a proxy-Penguin character. Plus, there is a lot of tie-in material for the Death of the Family event, which I found a little distracting in this collection. There was some very good artwork and some okay writing in these pages.... But this title is waning for me. It lacks individual substance to differentiate itself from other bat-books. 3.5/5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    I’m so relieved DC booted Tony Daniel off of Detective and replaced him with John Layman, the writer of the excellent Image series, Chew. DC must’ve been paying attention to the negative reaction of Daniel’s run because right on the cover is a blurb acknowledging that his series was dead in the water: “Layman has reinvigorated the book with his first story arc”. That said, while I think the new creative team - Layman is joined by artists Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke, both outstanding - is I’m so relieved DC booted Tony Daniel off of Detective and replaced him with John Layman, the writer of the excellent Image series, Chew. DC must’ve been paying attention to the negative reaction of Daniel’s run because right on the cover is a blurb acknowledging that his series was dead in the water: “Layman has reinvigorated the book with his first story arc”. That said, while I think the new creative team - Layman is joined by artists Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke, both outstanding - is definitely a step up, the new Detective Comics isn’t brilliant. The first half of the book concerns Poison Ivy and Clayface who’re up to some shenanigans, while the second half follows a new villain called the Merrymaker, a dude in a plague mask inspired by the Joker. In the background is the titular character, the Emperor Penguin, who is the Penguin’s former assistant, Ogilvy, who’s decided to take advantage of Penguin’s absence (he was forced to help Joker in the Death of the Family storyline) to become the new head of Penguin’s empire. The Ivy and Clayface storyline was a complete flatline for me. It was Ivy doing her usual act of making guys do her bidding and the only “mystery” was why Clayface was going along with it, believing he was Ivy’s husband. I say “mystery” because I definitely didn’t give a damn one way or the other and my reaction at the reveal was a shrug. The Merrymaker storyline isn’t much better but is definitely more interesting. Referencing the Joker’s return in the Death of the Family storyline, a new group of devoted fans called the League of Smiles (terrible name!) is killing in the name of Joker. The references to fandom and Joker’s influence over weaker-minded people are narrative avenues Layman explores in a semi-compelling way. The entire Emperor Penguin stuff though… meh. Emperor Penguin doesn’t distinguish himself enough from Penguin so while we see Oswald on his ass dealing with being on the bottom of the ladder, Emperor Penguin isn’t doing anything very differently from the original Penguin - he’s still scheming, coming up with criminal plans to beat Batman, etc., plus his personality is your bland stereotypical villain. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this was the first New 52 book in a long while that wasn’t stuffed with pointless crossover issues. This volume collects Detective Comics #13-18 and NOTHING ELSE! It does reference events like Death of the Family and Damian’s death in Batman Incorporated but doesn’t have issues from those titles shoehorned into it. DC, if you’re reading this, and of course you are, let’s have more volumes like this please! Layman’s a good writer but the storylines here don’t enthral (the aimless Ivy/Clayface one especially) and he needs to find a better hook for the series. I wouldn’t say he’s reinvigorated the title but he’s definitely pointed it in the right direction, away from whatever the hell Tony Daniel was doing. Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke’s art on the other hand is wonderful. Fabok draws the main issues and Clarke draws the backups (those focus on small players in Gotham’s underworld, some of which are actually more interesting than the main stories) and both draw Batman and Gotham beautifully - dark, gothic, beautifully dramatic, and exciting. So is Detective Volume 3 a must-read? Nope! It’s an unfocused collection of middling Batman stories with great art, but there’s potential with this creative team that might develop in future volumes, so, unlike Tony Daniel’s first Detective book which turned me off the title, I’ll be around for the next one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris Lemmerman

    Remember in my review for Volume 1 that I said one day someone would do a really good Penguin story? Well along comes John Layman to take over Detective Comics and elevate it to an all new level of awesome, as well as starting to do just that. This volume mostly seems like little done in one stories as Batman deals with Poison Ivy, Clayface, and a few other villains, before spiralling into the Death of the Family crossover. I've always felt that having books like Tec tie into Bat-Events seem a Remember in my review for Volume 1 that I said one day someone would do a really good Penguin story? Well along comes John Layman to take over Detective Comics and elevate it to an all new level of awesome, as well as starting to do just that. This volume mostly seems like little done in one stories as Batman deals with Poison Ivy, Clayface, and a few other villains, before spiralling into the Death of the Family crossover. I've always felt that having books like Tec tie into Bat-Events seem a bit superfluous, since the main Batman title always features Batman anyway, so they always seem like secondary adventures that aren't as important. That said, the Death of the Family story here serves as a gateway for Layman to move Penguin off the board long enough for his Emperor Penguin story to truly start, and the Merrymaker story that pops up along the way really feels like a proper 'Detective' story instead of just more Batman punching people (though he does that too). Layman also uses the back-up stories to their full extent too. They're now reprinted at the end of each issue like they would have been in single issue form, because they fill in the gaps and give us some background knowledge on what's going on in the main stories, instead of just being randomly disconnected like the back-ups in Volume 2. Also enhancing this volume is the new art team, with Jason Fabok drawing the lead stories, and Andy Clarke drawing the back-ups. Fabok is basically everything David Finch wishes he was and more, the perfect comic book artist. There's really nothing bad I can say about him at all - he draws all six issues here, and none of them have a single damn flaw I can think of. Andy Clarke's back-ups are just as good, and it's brilliant to see such an amazing art team paired on this book. Detective Comics has undergone a metamorphosis in this volume, from a book that you could take or leave, to one that I'd say is pretty much required reading. I'm surprised I hadn't read it earlier.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jesse A

    Another decently fun collection. 3.5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    Overall, classic Batman. I found it enjoyable although it does have a flaw in the plot very hard to overlook. Batman does a great job variously at outsmarting and outfighting the bad guys. I was hoping to see more of my favorite Batman villain, the Penguin, and in that respect, he's a comparatively minor character in this book. Ok ---- getting to the major flaw in the story. Penguin, for reasons never clearly explained, just turns over his entire operation to his second in command to depart on Overall, classic Batman. I found it enjoyable although it does have a flaw in the plot very hard to overlook. Batman does a great job variously at outsmarting and outfighting the bad guys. I was hoping to see more of my favorite Batman villain, the Penguin, and in that respect, he's a comparatively minor character in this book. Ok ---- getting to the major flaw in the story. Penguin, for reasons never clearly explained, just turns over his entire operation to his second in command to depart on what? That's also never explained. Given the Penguin's grasping, suspicious nature, this seems extremely out of character for the old bird. So you would think that it would have to be something very serious. But it's never explained. Then, towards the end of it, Penguin returns ---- only to find that his second in command has assumed full command of the operation, locked Penguin out, and christened himself "Emperor Penguin". It strains credibility too much to be believable. So, although I did enjoy this book, having Penguin just give up his entire operation without explanation, and then devote so little of the plot to him does detract from could have been an even better story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christopher (Donut)

    Pretty good. Not awesome. A righting of the ship after the atrocious volume two. There is some kind of longstanding rule that Detective Comics will have a back-up story in each issue. If the artists for these stories were all tryouts, I have to say Henrik Jonsson is ready for prime time. His five pages - the very last story in this collection - were better than anything else in it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anton

    Great story about the Penguin's demise, orchestrated by the Joker, who is written almost as a phantom in this book. Excellent idea! I actually enjoyed this book better than some of the stuff Scott Snyder wrote for the flagship series. I loved the intelligent detective work by Batman for a change. His brain should always be his greatest weapon, not his fists. The art by Jason Fabok is absolutely stunning! He's my favorite artist by far. 4/5

  13. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Gibson

    Although Detective Comics is not written by Scott Snyder like the regular Batman New 52 titles that I love, the character is still in great hands here with John Layman and Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke do a great job drawing Gotham and it’s hero. (I don’t love this artistic version of the Penguin, but I’ll live). The opening issues involving The Penguin, Poison Ivy, and Clayface are all great fun and have Batman being the Batman readers love to see. The second half of the volume goes darker as a Although Detective Comics is not written by Scott Snyder like the regular Batman New 52 titles that I love, the character is still in great hands here with John Layman and Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke do a great job drawing Gotham and it’s hero. (I don’t love this artistic version of the Penguin, but I’ll live). The opening issues involving The Penguin, Poison Ivy, and Clayface are all great fun and have Batman being the Batman readers love to see. The second half of the volume goes darker as a new villain, The Emperor Penguin tries take advantage of the Joker being on the loose to kill off some enemies and make it look like the Joker’s handy work, while a gang of Joker groupies, known as the League of Similes, is doing some Joker inspired killing of their own. Batman puts the “detective” in “Detective Comics” as he uses his sleuth skills to solve the crime sprees.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sans

    I do like that this continues to feel like a serial with each issue focusing on something new. And while there are plot lines that carry through multiple issues, it doesn’t feel like you’re reading ONLY one plot that takes 75 issues, head wound induced amnesia, and a failed wedding or two to get to the point. I do like that this continues to feel like a serial with each issue focusing on something new. And while there are plot lines that carry through multiple issues, it doesn’t feel like you’re reading ONLY one plot that takes 75 issues, head wound induced amnesia, and a failed wedding or two to get to the point. 😒

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    A vast improvement over Tony Daniel's abysmal first two volumes, though the series still isn't quite firing on all cylinders. Layman's ability to flow seamlessly between scenes is admirable. He makes reading this comic feel like watching a very well-shot movie, with match cuts and overlapping dialogue between scenes creating a consistent narrative energy within the comic that never lets up. The plot itself feels a little forced, though. Suddenly, with no real setup, Ogilvy, Oswald Cobblepot's A vast improvement over Tony Daniel's abysmal first two volumes, though the series still isn't quite firing on all cylinders. Layman's ability to flow seamlessly between scenes is admirable. He makes reading this comic feel like watching a very well-shot movie, with match cuts and overlapping dialogue between scenes creating a consistent narrative energy within the comic that never lets up. The plot itself feels a little forced, though. Suddenly, with no real setup, Ogilvy, Oswald Cobblepot's right hand man, makes a bold power play to take over all of his leader's massive crime enterprise, forcing the old Penguin out and declaring himself the new "Emperor Penguin," a name so silly I can barely type it without rolling my eyes. Yes, an Emperor Penguin is a real bird, but it doesn't take over other penguin's territory or whatever. That's more what a cuckoo does, which Ogilvy is happy to also point out. Just a few too many bird metaphors being juggled here for my taste. Anyway, I like the fact that Layman uses the events of Death of the Family to introduce this Macchiavellian plot by Ogilvy, which is pretty interesting on the surface, but it's just a little too unbelievable. You're telling me, the Penguin, one of the smartest villains Batman comes up against, who always manages to elude jail time and the Dark Knight himself to stay in business, can be completely blindsided and destroyed in essentially ONE NIGHT. This assumes that the Penguin has zero allies in Gotham that couldn't be easily dispatched, which just can't be the case. He's an ultra-rich criminal mastermind. We need to see Ogilvy's cogs spinning way earlier if we're going to believe this turn of events. But, regardless, it all happens and now we're here. I'm kind of excited to read the next volume, since all the ham-fisted plot machinations are now out of the way and we can just deal with the aftermath as it stands. It may be a little forced in the setup, but it's still a cool idea, and a welcome reprieve from the overly Batman-centric stories populating like 200 New 52 series. This is building out the criminal underworld of Gotham in a much-needed way, so hats off to Layman for that alone.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    The first two volumes in this particular Batman tile—as written by Tony Daniel—had generally sat poorly with me even to the degree that I appreciated bits of their story. Had he written a third volume's worth, I might have avoided it. They were not bad Batman, altogether, they simply were not as interesting to me as some of the questions and storylines being brought up in the Batman and Batman and Robin lines (I still have done the The Dark Knight series, though I've heard bad things). Hearing The first two volumes in this particular Batman tile—as written by Tony Daniel—had generally sat poorly with me even to the degree that I appreciated bits of their story. Had he written a third volume's worth, I might have avoided it. They were not bad Batman, altogether, they simply were not as interesting to me as some of the questions and storylines being brought up in the Batman and Batman and Robin lines (I still have done the The Dark Knight series, though I've heard bad things). Hearing that John Layman had taken over, though, I figured I'd give the volume a chance. And I'm glad I did. He has crafted a fairly intriguing series of flashforwards and flashbacks with crosses and double crosses. Not all of them make sense and some feel a little too-convenient, but generally the story gets high marks for looking into the complexities of Poison Ivy, Clayface, and the Penguin. While the focus of the show is a new Penguin rival, Joker's mythos is probably the strongest beat. Interestingly, by mostly getting the new, horror-faced Joker mostly into the background, Layman has found a good mix for touching up on the Joker's madness without using maggots to drive it home. Anyhow, I'm back into the series now. I know the New 52 sort of hits a few "big events" shortly after this, and I don't know for how long I'll stick around...but at least for the moment.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    This was a good one. Also a good place to jump on board if you’re new to comics or coming back to them. John Layman’s writing was also good and featured a few of Batman’s greatest villains: Penguin, Clayface, Poison Ivy, ZsasZ, and introduces a new one known as Emperor Penguin. It’s mostly about Emperor Penguins storyline with a few short ones about the other villains thrown in here and there, including A Death Of The Family where we see Joker pop up. The artwork is also terrific. JASON Fabok This was a good one. Also a good place to jump on board if you’re new to comics or coming back to them. John Layman’s writing was also good and featured a few of Batman’s greatest villains: Penguin, Clayface, Poison Ivy, ZsasZ, and introduces a new one known as Emperor Penguin. It’s mostly about Emperor Penguins storyline with a few short ones about the other villains thrown in here and there, including A Death Of The Family where we see Joker pop up. The artwork is also terrific. JASON Fabok does a great job on the pencils while Andy Clarke picks up a few issues without missing a beat. Worth reading if you’re a Batman fan.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aron

    I really liked this volume but I liked the previous two by Tony S. Daniel better even though I'm in the minority on that. I just really love this series, & to be fair I've only read the first 2 volumes of Snyder's Batman title but at this point I like this one better. Looking forward to Vol. 4 with great enthusiasm!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    The art is gorge but the story is really jumpy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Cristiani

    Liked it. Good mystery, good tie-ins.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Detective Comics: Emperor Penguin picks up where the previous volume left off, collecting the next six issues (Detective Comics #13–18) of the 2016 on-going series and covers six interconnecting one-issue stories with back-up stories. This trade paperback has Bruce Wayne as Batman taking on various villains: Oswald Cobblepot as the Penguin, Pamela Isley as Poison Ivy, Basil Karlo as Clayface, Joker, Victor Zsasz, and introducing Ignatius Ogilvy as Emperor Penguin and the Joker inspired gang, the Detective Comics: Emperor Penguin picks up where the previous volume left off, collecting the next six issues (Detective Comics #13–18) of the 2016 on-going series and covers six interconnecting one-issue stories with back-up stories. This trade paperback has Bruce Wayne as Batman taking on various villains: Oswald Cobblepot as the Penguin, Pamela Isley as Poison Ivy, Basil Karlo as Clayface, Joker, Victor Zsasz, and introducing Ignatius Ogilvy as Emperor Penguin and the Joker inspired gang, the League of Smiles. Additionally, there are back-up stories staring Ignatius Ogilvy/Emperor Penguin, Poison Ivy, Clayface, Merrymaker (Leader of the League of Smiles), and Victor Zsasz. There were two tie-in issues in this trade paperback Detective Comics #15 is a Death of the Family tie-in, where Bruce Wayne as Batman takes on the Joker's greater plans while taking care of Clayface, Penguin, and Ignatius Ogilvy in the main story. The other tie-in was for the Requiem (Detective Comics #18) which has Batman deal with the likes of Victor Zsasz along with Penguin and Emperor Penguin as he reflects on the death of his son Damian Wayne as Robin. Taking over for Tony S. Daniel, John Layman penned the entire trade paperback including the back-up stories. For the most part, it was written rather well. While there seems to be a central focus, the narrative meanders quite a bit – especially with two tie-ins issues. However, it is not as bad as the previous attempts – even the back-up stories have a somewhat cohesive narration plot. Jason Fabok (Detective Comics #13–18), Andy Clarke (Detective Comics #13–17 backups), and Henrik Jonsson (Detective Comics #18 back-up) are the pencilers of the trade paperback. Artistically, the flow evenly as Fabok penciled the main story and for the most part Clarke penciled the back-ups. Together their penciling style, while different, meshed well with each other. All in all, Detective Comics: Emperor Penguin is a good continuation to what would hopefully be an equally wonderful series.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Edward Davies

    Better than volume two, and nicely paced. I think the new writer is doing a reasonable job

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    Very cool comic

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    I'm so glad they changed the creative team behind the series. John Laynam was a great change, but not enough to put the series on a 5 star track. The first couple issues introduces us to Emperor Penguin (an interesting character, but a little too obvious in his way doing things) and puts Poison Ivy in the spotlight. After that story finishes off, we get an interesting but still predictable storyline involving the Merrymaker and the League of Smiles. The series was still fun, but it closed off on I'm so glad they changed the creative team behind the series. John Laynam was a great change, but not enough to put the series on a 5 star track. The first couple issues introduces us to Emperor Penguin (an interesting character, but a little too obvious in his way doing things) and puts Poison Ivy in the spotlight. After that story finishes off, we get an interesting but still predictable storyline involving the Merrymaker and the League of Smiles. The series was still fun, but it closed off on an unresolved issue, and that was sort of a bummer; wasn't much of a cliffhanger in my books. The artwork continues to be entertaining and I liked how every issue had a little short short at the end that actually served a purpose (compared to the first volume). A problem I found myself with was also the time-jumping (1 hour ago, 2 days ago, 10 minutes later, etc. etc.). I found it disruptive to the rythmn and might have failed to capture any real flow to the volume. At least the volume felt like a real good step forward for the series. Looking forward to the next one. P.S. A full review to come. Yours truly, Lashaan Lashaan & Trang | Bloggers and Book Reviewers Official blog: http://bookidote.wordpress.com

  25. 4 out of 5

    Will Robinson Jr.

    Not much to Say about this one. It has some pretty good action in its pages but some of the stories I already read in the Death of the Family graphic novel. My biggest gripe with the book is all about the so called new villain Emperor Penguin. He is just a bit lame. DC needs to revamp and really use the Batman Rouges gallery. I mean Batman has some of the best villains in comics. It is all in how you use them. Christopher Nolan has show us that with his Batman movie trilogy. The Riddler can be Not much to Say about this one. It has some pretty good action in its pages but some of the stories I already read in the Death of the Family graphic novel. My biggest gripe with the book is all about the so called new villain Emperor Penguin. He is just a bit lame. DC needs to revamp and really use the Batman Rouges gallery. I mean Batman has some of the best villains in comics. It is all in how you use them. Christopher Nolan has show us that with his Batman movie trilogy. The Riddler can be an excellent baddie if you up his superior intellect. How about a Man Bat outbreak? Even Earth 3's Owlman would be a spectacular challenge for the Dark Knight. I would love to see a Batman Vs. The USA government story. That would be awesome.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nessie McInness

    Thank you mr Layman. My hopes on detective comics have been restored. Finally: a good consistent plot, with a good mix of old and new characters... And more importantly: batman isn't a complete dweeb! Huzzah! Penguin gets completely rick rolled by his right hand man, and it's kind of bittersweet: he deserves it, but I kind of feel sorry for him. Just like when the Addams family lost their house to Fester. Sad face. The little bits with Ivy and Zsasz are good and satisfy my fan girl needs. Keep at Thank you mr Layman. My hopes on detective comics have been restored. Finally: a good consistent plot, with a good mix of old and new characters... And more importantly: batman isn't a complete dweeb! Huzzah! Penguin gets completely rick rolled by his right hand man, and it's kind of bittersweet: he deserves it, but I kind of feel sorry for him. Just like when the Addams family lost their house to Fester. Sad face. The little bits with Ivy and Zsasz are good and satisfy my fan girl needs. Keep at it mr Layman! (But focus on Chew first, that baby is more important!)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charlos

    Layman brought me back into this series, and he does a good job. It suffers from crossover-itis with the Death in the Family references, but the rise of Emperor Penguin looks to be promising for future stories.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    Interesting book. Wonder if Emperor Penguin will stay in power? What will happen to Oswald Copplepot? Will someone discover Batman's secret identity?

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

    The Andy Clarke back up stories look great. Why the hell isn't he the main artist? Otherwise, meh, it's okay.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann D-Vine

    With barely a wave goodbye, Tony S. Daniel is replaced by the hugely superior writer John Layman to continue the rebooted Detective Comics. Layman's track record is decidedly solid, with genuine hits like Chew and work for Marvel, IDW and others peppering his resume. So, yeah, he's qualified for the job. How'd he do? Almost immediately, Layman's run is established as very much being much more clever than Daniel's. Batman is actually doing proper, honest-to-god detective work, for one - gasp! With barely a wave goodbye, Tony S. Daniel is replaced by the hugely superior writer John Layman to continue the rebooted Detective Comics. Layman's track record is decidedly solid, with genuine hits like Chew and work for Marvel, IDW and others peppering his resume. So, yeah, he's qualified for the job. How'd he do? Almost immediately, Layman's run is established as very much being much more clever than Daniel's. Batman is actually doing proper, honest-to-god detective work, for one - gasp! Detective work in Detective Comics! And we're introduced to a new villain who, while certainly not an instant classic, is memorable in all the right ways (because, hey, I'm not going to forget Mr. Toxic, but that may or may not be a positive). His name is The Merrymaker, and his little story is genuinely interesting. It's not as bam! boom! pow! exciting as he would have been if he were written by Daniel, but that's the point. He is a subdued, tricky villain, who works from the shadows, and for whom discovering and pinpointing a motive is more important (both for Batman and the audience) than simply beating the crap out of him. And while he does eventually succumb to the fate of all Batman foes (that is to say, having the crap beat out of him), his characterization, while brief, is curious, and page-turning - which is kind of what you want from Detective Comics, right? Oh, there's also a story where Poison Ivy and Clayface are in love for some reason. Well, I say "for some reason," there IS a reason, and once again, the point of the plot here is that we're lead along a line of questioning. Mystery and intrigue in Detective Comics! Stop the presses! To my dismay, there's a lot of Death of the Family junk in here. Which is fine, because I really like Death of the Family, and it's a story I quite like to re-read on occasion. But geez, it really is layered on here. If you aren't reading the main Batman line - hell, if you aren't reading any of the extended Bat family books - you will probably be left in the dark here. Not so much with the overarching plot, since it's not exactly the hardest thing in the world to follow, but the minutia of the Death of the Family arc is extremely important as it winds its way to the satisfying conclusion in the pages of Snyder and Capullo's Batman. A lot of that is lost on this volume if you only read Detective Comics; conversely, Detective Comics offers a lot of depth to that story if you're only reading Batman. The dangers, I suppose, of crossovers like Death of the Family, but it's worth mentioning because if you're out of the loop, boy howdy are you out of the loop. I'm surprised this volumes don't come with a goddamn flowchart so you can keep track. Finally, though, we get to the titular Emperor Penguin arc. I love The Penguin - he's a cheap, cowardly little bastard - and Layman knows exactly what to do with him in this arc. After a ton of Cobblepot openly mocking his arch-rival Bruce Wayne (who is secretly Batman shhhh), Joker's rampage on the city forces Penguin to seek refuge under the wings of... Batman. Whaaaaaat? Yes, that's right! It's a Batman/Penguin team-up! Sort of! Not really! The point is that Penguin needs to lay low, and seeks Batman's protection from the Joker, while leaving his criminal organization under the charge of... well, um, I forget his name, but he starts to call himself Emperor Penguin. So you see there are now two characters called Penguin, just he's Emperor Penguin. And he takes of Penguin's operations while he's hiding from Joker. Again, sort of high-concept, big-on-questions plotting from a series that sorely missed it! So. How is it resolved? Does Penguin get his corporation back? Is Emperor Penguin defeated? Does Batman care? To be continued! It is so bizarre to me that the volume labelled Emperor Penguin ends on a cliffhanger leading into the story actually involving Emperor Penguin. Every other Bat family third volume is labelled Death of the Family, and while it's annoying, it suits it. The Emperor Penguin stuff is resolved in Detective Comics volume four, though, which is a 200-plus page extravaganza featuring The Wrath and a wealth of other content, since it includes the Detective Comics Annual. So they couldn't really have called that one Emperor Penguin, and it's a pretty big arc, all told, so you gotta put it somewhere... but come on. Come on! It barely starts til the end of this volume and concludes at the front end of the next. I don't envy the job of people who need to compile these volumes. Comic books are only sometimes written to be collected all at once, and times like these where they're clearly written as modular singular issues really drive home the fact that there's not an easy way to feasibly collect them when they're in series so interconnected and long-form. But as I mention a lot about that, it may be a hard job, but it is still a job, and it can make or break the readability of a volume, no matter how enjoyable the actual content within. It's not actually a huge deal here, but it's on the cusp of what I'd consider acceptable. Layman and his collaborators have done a stellar job of breathing a life back to Detective Comics, a purpose and a voice of its own to compliment, rather than doggedly attempt to mirror, the "main" Batman title's tone. It's varied, witty, and clever, which fans of Layman will recognize as marks of his involvement in a project. It's so close to being ruined by internal shenanigans, though - impractical issue placement in the trade paperback, bizarre tie-in junk that doesn't make sense unless you're spending a lot more time and money, and general DC chicanery. If you're okay with having the ending of a book lopped off because it didn't fit, and added to the front of the next book with which it is tonally incongruous, then I can wholeheartedly and excitedly recommend this book as Detective Comics back to form. If.

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