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The Penguin #1

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 17 critic ratings.


After retiring to Metropolis following his “death,” Oswald Cobblepot finds himself forced back into the unpredictable and violent Gotham City underworld as a pawn of the United States intelligence community! Gotham’s criminal element has been evolving since he was last in the city, with his bastard twin children ruling the Iceberg Lounge. And what of the man he framed for his death-Batman? Is the Penguin walking into a death sentence?

From award-winning and bestselling writer Tom King (Batman, The Human Target) and artist Rafael de Latorre (Daredevil) comes a bloody, hard-boiled tale of redemption and revenge!

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Length
30 pages
Amazon ASIN

17 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    Dark Knight News

    The Penguin #1 is my idea of a perfect comic. It’s full of suspense, never knowing when, or if Cobblepot will break. None of the internal monologues are his, instead, they are those of the people interacting with him. I find that simply fascinating, having an outside perspective of the central character reads something like a Martin Scorsese film, a real gritty gangster experience.

    Wherever this goes, Tom King and the rest of the creative team have me strapped in for the ride!

  • 100

    DC Comics News

    Ready and waiting for the next. The Penguin #1 is definitely a buckle up and bring down the pull bar for safety. Going to be a wicked ride.

  • 95

    Geek Dad

    This first issue is a slow, brutal burn that treats Cobblepot as a coiled snake waiting to strike. Some of his targets deserve his wrath, others don’t, and those that meet the worst fates aren’t always in the former group. This has the potential to be the darkest book King has done yet, and yet another winner in his massive library of DC gems.

  • 95

    Comic Watch

    King once again takes a series decisively into noir and hard boiled territory with another complex, though somewhat less morally gray, strong first issue. The entire creative team realizes this vision with outstanding work. Penguin #1 is a masterclass in resetting a character and fully realizing a new world for them.

  • 95

    Nerd Initiative

    Oswald Cobblepot is dead. Long live Gotham’s Crime King. King shatters dreams of a peaceful life with superb writing. The panels by De Latorre and Maiolo’s bold visuals set the tone for a forging a new trail in what is sure to be a suspenseful tale for the ages. Make sure this issue is in your possession on New Comic Book Day!

  • 95

    Lyles Movie Files

    Penguin’s debut issue doesn’t need to sleep with the fishes and marks a very promising start for this spotlight on Gotham’s elite criminal mover and shaker. If King can keep the story rolling this could be a recommended DC title through the rest of the year.

  • 95

    But Why Tho?

    This first issue is a slow, brutal burn that treats Cobblepot as a coiled snake waiting to strike. Some of his targets deserve his wrath, others don’t, and those that meet the worst fates aren’t always in the former group. This has the potential to be the darkest book King has done yet, and yet another winner in his massive library of DC gems.

  • 92

    The Super Powered Fancast

    The Story: King crafts another compelling and entertaining story that starts with a mystery and builds on both it and the tension within it perfectly. I love the fantastic progression of events in this story as well as how King tells it from the points of view of different characters. I also really love the use of Batman in this story and how high the stakes are for the character and his connection to Penguin. I am excited to see how this story goes.

    The Art: De Latorre delivers some amazing art throughout the issue. I love how the imagery captures the rising tension and suspense of the story.

  • 90


    The Penguin #1 is an excellent start to a new series. The setup is strong, the writing choices are fun and engaging, the characters are interesting, the art is terrific, and the colors elevate the scenes. The idea that a book about a villain who can be pretty campy could turn out this good shouldn’t be so much of a shock as a welcome surprise. The Penguin tells readers how much they don’t know about the protagonist but invites them on the ride to find out.

  • 90

    Derby Comics

    THE PENGUIN #1 has King’s fingerprints all over it and I’m fully bought in. Fans of his previous work, including the recent HUMAN TARGET series, will likely find this instantly relatable even if they aren’t huge Batman fans and Batman fans will enjoy this unique view on a classic character. The flash-forward tease King dangles at the beginning and end of the story also offers a hook to draw readers in for the long haul.

  • 83

    Graphic Policy

    The Penguin #1 is a solid start. It suffers from “Tom King formula,” a pattern that has developed in King’s recent releases. They all follow a similar pattern in their storytelling, for good and bad. It can distract from those who have read a lot of his works. Still, it’s a solid opening that makes you want to come back for the “how” of it all. Hopefully it can break out from the mold as the story progresses.

  • 83

    Zona Negativa

  • 80

    Weird Science DC Comics

    Penguin #1 is a promising start to an interesting idea about what would happen if one of Batman’s rogues tried to retire. The character work is (surprisingly for King) on-point, and the art is top-notch. It’s unclear where this plot is headed, but there’s enough interest after issue #1 to find out.

  • 80


    This comic handily surpassed my expectations and despite not always being perfect I think it’s well worth giving a chance and will likely only get better as it develops. The art is equally strong and as I guessed last week, you absolutely don’t need to read The Penguin #0 to understand this comic. Hopefully, you skipped that one and saved your money last month, because this month, I recommend spending it on The Penguin #1.

  • 80

    The Penguin #1 promises DC Comics and Batman fans alike a story grounded by elements of crime and subterfuge not requiring any superhero hijinks to function, and in doing so discovers what makes Oswald Cobblepot such a compelling anti-hero. Rather than leaning into idiosyncratic eccentricities, it stresses the control and competence required to manage a vast criminal conspiracy; Penguin has more in common with figures like Gus Fring or Stringer Bell than The Joker. In doing so it not only redefines the often overlooked rogue as a terrifying opponent for Batman, but an individual whose story is worth following on its own, especially because it offers no heroes.

  • 74

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    King’s mission with The Penguin #1 is simple: the underestimation of Oswald Cobblepot. And truthfully, I can get behind that concept. However, I need more setups other than words and phrases from word balloons in order to feel that this mission statement is actually true. King tries to quickly get fans to see the Penguin as a monster, however, without actual supporting images, narrative beats, and data I just can’t buy it. All we get is hearsay. Moreover, the unbelievability of who is with the Penguin, as well as his actions, made The Penguin #1 hard to sink my teeth into.

    Nevertheless, even with this unbelievability, I still felt drawn to the issue. Why? Well, it’s because of the one thing King always does well. And that’s the overall concept. He always does a fabulous job creating a premise for an anecdote that gets readers intrigued with the story. Additionally, King has a knack for aligning himself with fantastic artists that make up for story deficiencies. And King does that again in spades. Sure, he has some problems to overcome but for the time being, I’m still in. I’m curious to see how the Penguin does as the front-runner of a series. And therefore, for the time being, I’ll give it a shot.

  • 70

    The Batman Universe

    It seems like Tom King is bringing the Penguin back to prominence as a threat to Gotham City, which he should always be.

More From The Penguin (2023)

About the Author: Tom King

Tom King has emerged as a beacon of narrative brilliance in the comic book world, weaving tales that resonate deeply with both long-time enthusiasts and newcomers alike. With a unique blend of emotional depth and complex storytelling, King’s work has redefined what it means to engage with the medium of comics. From his groundbreaking run on Batman to the introspective Mister Miracle, King’s portfolio is a testament to his ability to explore the human condition through the lens of the superhero genre.

Before becoming a household name in comics, Tom King embarked on a path far removed from the world of capes and villains. As a former CIA officer, King’s experiences have infused his storytelling with a palpable sense of realism and gravity, setting his work apart in a crowded field. His transition from espionage to comics might seem unexpected, but it’s this very background that enriches his narrative voice, allowing him to craft stories of heroism and sacrifice with authenticity.

King’s ascent in the comic book industry began with The Vision, a series that turned the Marvel android into a tragic figure struggling with the concept of family and humanity. This work, characterized by its melancholic exploration of identity, laid the foundation for King’s reputation as a storyteller capable of blending superhero action with deep, literary themes. His ability to humanize iconic characters, making their struggles and triumphs resonate on a personal level, has earned him critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase.

However, it is perhaps his work on DC Comics’ Batman that has most profoundly impacted the comic book landscape. King’s Batman is a figure shaped by vulnerability and introspection, a departure from the invincible hero trope. Through arcs like “City of Bane” and the poignant Batman Annual #2, King explores themes of love, loss, and redemption, offering a fresh perspective on the Dark Knight’s mythos.

In addition to his superhero narratives, Tom King has ventured into the realm of creator-owned projects, such as Strange Adventures and Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. These works further showcase his versatility, delving into science fiction and cosmic drama while maintaining his signature emotional depth and complex character studies.

Beyond the pages of his comics, King’s presence in the industry as a thought leader and advocate for the medium is undeniable. His candid discussions about the challenges of mental health, the creative process, and the importance of storytelling in contemporary culture have made him a respected figure among peers and fans.

Tom King‘s contributions to the comic book world have not gone unnoticed, earning him multiple Eisner Awards and solidifying his status as one of the most influential writers of his generation. As he continues to push the boundaries of comic book storytelling, King’s legacy is that of a visionary who reminds us that at the heart of every superhero story lies a deeply human tale waiting to be told.

For those who seek to explore the depths of narrative artistry within the comic book genre, Tom King‘s body of work offers a rich, introspective journey into the soul of modern heroism, proving that within the fantastical, the most profound truths of our existence can be found.

[Latest Update: April 24, 2024]