The Penguin re-opens the Iceberg Lounge in Detective 824 (Dec. 06), by Dini, Kramer and Faucher.
Batman pays him a visit, and the Penguin insists he is on the side of the angels, but still doesn’t want him anywhere around. However, the Penguin did invite Bruce Wayne to his big opening gala that night. Lois Lane is there, covering it for the Planet, and winding up getting a scoop from Wayne’s drunken starlet date. The Riddler also shows up, a respectable entrepreneur himself now.
The Penguin winds up the victim of the night, as some gamblers, in league with a crooked magician, are fixing a game and taking the casino for thousands. Bruce calls Zatanna for a bit of help on the case. Their relationship is shown as friendly and casual, which is surprising considering this is Batman. Dini will expand on the history between these two later in his run.
In the end, Batman winds up saving the Penguin from ruin, as he returns the money the crooks took him for. He’s not happy about it, but the money belongs to the Penguin more than anyone else.
Stephanie Brown’s dreams have come true in Detective 796 (Sept. 04), as Gabrych, Woods and Massengil relate her adventures as Batman’s partner in crime fighting.
After Tim Drake quits being Robin, Batman offers the position to Stephanie, who jumps at it. Oracle accuses Batman of doing this simply to piss off Tim, to which Batman responds by ignoring Oracle.
This issue pits them against Zsasz, who has broken out of prison and begun another killing spree. The art does an interesting thing with his vision. Only humans (potential victims) are shown in vibrant colour, everything else is grey. There is no reason to think this is some sort of super human power, it reflects his psychosis.
As they search the subway for Zsasz, Stephanie falls into his hands, and needs to be saved by Batman – but evens the scales as she saves Batman from Zsasz later in the fight.
Batman is not entirely pleased with her actions, finding that she is tending towards wanting to use lethal force. At the end of the scolding, she asks if he is firing her. He replies that he is simply teaching her. But he fires her before the next issue anyway.
Gabrych also concludes his back-up story of Onyx in this issue, with art by Walker and Nixey.
Batman and Batgirl stage a fight with Orpheus in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge. Onyx shows her stuff, taking down both heroes. No one is likely to mess with her after that. Or Orpheus.
Still, Cassandra Cain hates losing a fight, even a staged one, and hopes for a friendly, but real, match with Onyx one day.
Dixon, Nolan and Hanna bring this Penguin story to a perfect conclusion in Detective 684 (April 1995).
The Penguin and his actuary recap the plan to commit a daylight robbery, although the actuary worries about the man that Batman captured in the previous issue. Batman keeps him in a locker in an abandoned morgue, opening the drawer once a day to see if he will talk. Eventually, he breaks, just enough to reveal the plans involve a flower show.
Black Mask also gets a scene, as he expands his reach by knocking off the guy who runs Gotham’s numbers racket.
The flower show robbery starts well, but knowing it was coming, Batman rigged the sprinkler system to go off, providing the degree of distraction he needs to function at his peak.
Batman heads to the Icebreg Lounge to confront the Penguin, who turns over the actuary to him. The Penguin claims to have been unaware of the man’s deeds, and to have performed a citizen’s arrest when he found out. Terrified of what the Penguin might have done to him, the man goes along with the story, heading to prison.
The Penguin ends, his plans foiled, but his veneer of being a simple, upright club owner intact.
A slight but skillful rethinking of this character. The Penguin stays true to his style, but with a much stronger surrounding.
Dixon, Nolan and Hanna breathe new life into the Penguin in Detective 683 (March 1995), making him a corrupt club owner. Ever since Crisis, the Penguin had not quite found a place in the new Batman universe. He had wound up marginalized in Knightfall in a way he never would have been in earlier days. But that absence simply served to make this change easier to accept. The new role suits his look and character so well, it’s hard to believe it took so long to put him into it.
The Iceberg Lounge is shown to be a respectable club and casino, catering to a wide clientele.
A card counter is caught, but the Penguin sees potential in the man, and doesn’t have him thrown to the fishes. Instead, he gets the man to use his actuarial skills to analyze Batman’s movements and behaviour, in order to have his men face the least risk during their crimes.
We catch up briefly with Harvey Bullock, in serious condition at the hospital. Renee Montoya is sitting vigil with him, but is visited by Bock in this issue.
For being the same creative team as the last few years, the art just doesn’t look quite up to par on much of this issue. But the story carries it, as the Penguin’s men get closer to a perfect crime. The actuary then makes the startling suggestion on how to avoid Batman and Robin – only commit crimes in daylight.
The story concludes in the next issue.