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Comic Book / Penguin: Pain and Prejudice

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Penguin: Pain and Prejudice is a Batman miniseries by Gregg Hurwitz and Szymon Kudranksi. The story is told from the perspective of Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, and fluctuates between his childhood to his present self.


The comic provides examples of:

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  • Abusive Parents: Penguin's father was a real bastard. The first horrible thing he did was drop Oswald when he was born because he was shocked over his mild deformity. He also made his wife have sex with him while a young Oswald was in the room, constantly referred to him as a freak and refused to accept him as his son. This finally came back to bite him when he forced Oswald to bathe outside with a hose in the middle of winter, and ended up getting sick himself, which Oswald used as an opportunity to kill him.
  • Blind and the Beast: The Penguin falls in love with a blind woman, in part due to her not being able to see how ugly he is.
  • Break the Cutie: Much of the Penguin's childhood falls under this. He used to be nice enough but the constant torment eventually turned him into a monster.
  • Creepy Child: The Penguin, once it's revealed that he murdered most of his family as a child.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
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    • The Penguin LOVES doing these to people, for every possibly slight, no matter how minor. A man bumps into him at a party at the Iceberg Lounge and calls him fat ass before realizing who he's talking to, then he apologizes profusely. In response, Penguin gets him fired by framing him for embezzlement, burns down his apartment, kills his parents by sabotaging their car and injects his girlfriend with an unknown substance. Commissioner Gordon later mentions him, revealing him to be an old acquaintance, and that the guy is now on suicide watch. He later does the same thing again to the coroner removing his mothers dead body from her room. His crime? He was chewing gum!
    • Conversely, when Penguin witnesses his mother's nurse crying after his mother passes away, he goes out of his way to make sure she is set for the rest of her life.
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  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The Penguin is devoted to his ailing mother.
  • Freudian Excuse: Played with. We see what a rotten childhood Oswald had (albeit only his own version of events) which certainly would explain just how he got so bitter and twisted... but doesn't really excuse his acts as an adult, such as the aforementioned Disproportionate Retribution and his involvement in multiple criminal enterprises.
  • Funny Background Event/Running Gag: The Joker has a room at Penguin's place and appears from time to time in bizarre situations.
  • Hero Antagonist: Batman himself who is viewed as a bully by Oswald.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Pretty much a constant in Oswald's childhood, as he was relentlessly tormented by his brothers, his classmates and pretty much any other child that happened to wander by. It hasn't gotten any better in the present day, as he first meets Cassandra when a group of kids mock her blindness.
  • Mythology Gag: Just like in Batman Returns, The Penguin is born disfigured to a horrified father, though this Penguin isn't quite as badly deformed — and this version of his mother actually loves him.
  • Pet the Dog: Played-with with Cassandra, but ultimately subverted when The Penguin kills her at the end (though somewhat double-subverted because: (A) It's done out of blind panic instead of actual malice, and (B) he invokes My God, What Have I Done? afterward).
  • Self-Made Orphan: The Penguin murdered his father (along with his brothers) so he could be alone with his mother, the only person who loved him.
  • Signature Laugh: The Penguin's 'wah wah wah' appears throughout.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Penguin is the hero of his own story.
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