Batman 257 – the Penguin wants to be emperor

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The Penguin makes his first appearance in six years in Batman 257 (July/Aug 74), in a story by O’Neil, Novick and Giordano.

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A land of emperor penguins is the location for this story, as the Penguin takes control of the child monarch of the island.  There is also a veiled woman hovering around at the core of the story.

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It’s clear that the woman is someone we ought to recognize.  Batman knows her the moment he sees her, although Robin shows no signs of this.  O’Neil is clearly trying to make the Penguin a more serious villain in this story, and while the tale is solid, the Penguin himself is immersed in penguins and umbrellas, and still looks quite comic.

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The death trap is the most serious part, and also the scene in which the veil comes off, revealing Talia as the other party to this tale. She had come to the island with the same intention as the Penguin, to exploit the child ruler and loot the treasury, in order to gain funds to free her imprisoned father.  This is Talia’s first appearance since the big Ra’s Al Ghul epic.

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Robin gets to be the hero of the death trap, while Batman takes down the Penguin in the final battle.  Batman allows Talia to go free, although he probably regrets that in a couple of months, when she shows up at the start of the Bat-Murderer saga that runs in Detective Comics.

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