"He didn't do several of the deeds he's accused of, a few more are Offscreen Villainy, and the argument that he is boils down to "he tortures, therefore he qualifies."
No. He did do those actions.
1) Those were quite clearly heat lamps. The fact that Freeze looks like he's a second away from dying after exiting the case supports this. Also, a lot of steam/vapor(?) was caused by the hot air of the case coming into contact with the cold air of the museum. Plus the case's password is "Microwave."
Finally, here's a Direct Quote from the Penguin regarding Freeze in the case: "A prize-winning cryogenic scientist pushed to the edge of sanity by a desire to help his poor, dying wife... Or an old man, captured by me and stuck on the GRILL?"
2) I find programmer's oversight no more a "grasping at straws" arguement than the idea that Penguin and Officer Denning are pranking Batman. If Denning isn't being tortured by Penguin then what do you think is going on in that scene?
"Because Arkham City is such a dark game, you do have to go pretty down far the ladder to get to this trope. I'd honestly give The Mad Hatter or The Riddler (both of whom don't quite qualify) that status before the Penguin."
Wow. We do have different interpretations on these characters. The Riddler I can see someone labeling as a monster (though he does have a marginally sympathetic Freudian Excuse
), but Mad Hatter comes across as a straight Woobie Destroyerof Worlds
IMO. I mean, he's a Serial Killer
and implied rapist but his interview tapes show him as almost completely detached from reality. And, when Strange forces him to remember the women he's killed, Hatter reacts with utter horror and despair. Besides, I find it hard to hate a guy who, after beating the crap out of him and coming back to his lair, is revealed to be crying unconsolably over his destroyed hat. Him saying, "Why did you do it? I only wanted a friend" doesn't help in the monster department. He seems like one of the few villains genuinely insane and in serious need of psychiatric help.
"Moreover, you're simply working with the "torture automatically equals Complete Monster" mindset, when that isn't always the case - if we were talking, say, Strawberry Shortcake, yes, that would be enough for this status. But the depravity bar is pretty damn low in Batman: Arkham City, and torture alone isn't going to cut it."
It's not just his fondness for torture, and the fact that he engages in it even when there's no reason for it (though that does help). It's also how he murders people and sticks their bodies up on display as trophies, and then brags about how he killed them. It's also about how he's a Bad Boss
to his mooks (I know the Joker's worse, but that doesn't mean Penguin doesn't qualify. What else would you call someone who forces new recruits to kill each other in gladiator matches?). On top of all that though, it's the sadism with which he undertakes his actions, and his unbridled pride in them. He's not insane, like Zsaz and Joker. He's someone who should've been a normal person but chose to be a monster.
"While he would have to work long and hard, I think that he could be redeemed in the series."
I can't see that. At all. Because there are three things I ask myself when pondering whether a character can be redeemed or not: How could they redeem themselves? Why would they redeem themselves? And would it be consistent with their characterization? Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Bane, Talia, Deadshot, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Ra's, they all have redeemable qualities. Whether it be remorse for their actions, tragic backstories, or sympathetic qualities/ Petthe Dog
moments which prevent them from going completely over the edge, they all possess a foundation upon which redemption can be built. I see none of that in Penguin. He is greedy, cruel, power hungry, and sadistic. He has zero remorse, zero altruism, zero compassion. And if he started to show any in a third game, I can't conceive of it not being Character Derailment
. So what do you see in him as redeemable? And why do you think he'd go for it?
"Still, I do wonder how someone can have played through Arkham City and think the Penguin is a Complete Monster and somehow not include Zsasz on the list (unless his lack of success outside of game over/restart sequences disqualifies him, which I would argue against)."
I forgot about Zsaz, but I agree he counts as a Complete Monster
. However, according to the old rules Negative Continuity
circumstances don't count as evidence for this trope. Assuming that condition still applies though, that would mean all of Zsaz's villainy is offstage. So if you still think Zsaz counts, then I have to ask, why? Why would Zsaz's Offstage Villainy
count while Penguin's doesn't? What's the difference? At least Zsaz has a psychological compulsion to kill people, whereas Penguin is a sane person who just loves killing.
edited 21st Nov '11 9:50:59 PM by OccasionalExister