CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Rick Burchett.
REVIEW: The Penguin, armed with a low-rent version of the Mad Hatter's mind control devices, creates an army of birds to stonewall the police, steer Batman in the right direction, and then fight the Dark Knight. And though his motives are noble enough - the release of exotic birds back into the wild (carried out by employees while he smiles to himself in prison) - some of the creatures are drawn to be in distress, and Batman actively punched American bald eagles in the face. That's a bit upsetting, even if a part of me enjoys the animal-punching trope of superhero comics. But the story is kind of slim. It's basically a single confrontation with the Penguin, with four pages of prologue and one of epilogue.
Cobblepot is eventually defeated by his incapacity to shut up. He reveals too much of his plans, and Batman uses that information to, sometimes cleverly, get the upper hand. For example, since Penguin's murder of crows is cued by Batman's trademark costume, he rolls himself in mud to eliminate that visual cue, leading to a final confrontation that makes him look like Clayface. That's one more crazy visual on top of several other crazy visuals in this issue.
Burchett's art is, truth be told, a little wonky when he does more than ink. Batman's stiff cape reminds me of the character's 1950s era, and the Penguin's features are often even more extreme than usual - almost Spy vs. Spy level - something heightened by Linda Medley's stark coloring job, I'm sure.