If there’s one thing Mattel has been great about with the DC license, it’s making sure they give the fans as wide a character and figure selection as possible. One of the things Mattel has been doing with DC Universe Classics is to remake the original Kenner Super Powers figures, updated and fit in with the other DCUC figures. Some fans hate the Super Powers updates, but a large part of them, myself included, absolutely love it. Super Powers was a staple 80’s action figure line, and seeing it represented with updated sculpts and articulation is pretty amazing. The figure I’ll be reviewing today is Super Powers Penguin. Based on the face sculpt, one could think of this as simply a Silver Age Penguin figure, but to my knowledge Penguin never wore a blue suit in the old comics, but feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.
So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Batman Unlimited Super Powers Penguin figure and see if he’s a worthy update to the vintage figure, and if he makes a good addition to your DC collection.
|PACKAGING – The Penguin comes in the now standard Batman Unlimited packaging. It shares some design aesthetics with the Batman Legacy packaging, but still has its own flairs. We have the Batman Unlimited logo at the top, with the Penguin’s name at the bottom. To his left is some classic artwork showing off the Super Powers Penguin design, and we have the new DC Comics logo at the bottom left corner.
The back has a larger version of the same artwork on the front, and includes a bio for the Penguin to the right, as well as some stats for him at the bottom. We also see some artwork for the other two figures in this first series, New 52 Batman, and New 52 Batgirl. I really like this design for the packaging. It’s got some interesting shapes and displays the figure nicely, and I really like the color choices as well. It should help these stand out on any pegs.
SCULPT – Penguin’s sculpt is largely the same as his predecessor, the DC Universe Classics wave 1 Penguin figure, but there are some differences. At first glance, one might think the only new piece is his head, but in actuality, his torso is new as well. At least, the front half is.
This Penguin has a sculpted cummerbund at the bottom to mimic the design of the vintage Super Powers Penguin figure. It looks to have been sculpted onto the previous Penguin torso, but it would still require making a new mold, making it a new piece. His body features lots of great wrinkles and folds in the fabric of his suit, and is made to look too small for the Penguin, as if he’s in denial about his weight, which I love. The head sculpt is fantastic. He’s got his top hat on (non-removable), and a monocle over his right eye. His other eye is closed, and he’s got this smarmy grin on his face, again harkening back to the vintage Super Powers figure.
The only complaints I would have about this sculpt is that the head seems a bit too large for the body, and his arms seem too long. The second complaint is one I had with the original DCUC Penguin as well, so it’s not a problem solely with this figure.
PAINT – Penguin features a great color palette on him. He features this great baby blue on his tuxedo jacket, top hat, and on his spats. His top hat also has a purple ribbon adorning it. His pants are a light purple with black pinstripes, and his gloves, vest, shirt, and bow tie are a very bright white. Hie bow tie almost looks pearlescent. And then his cummerbund at the bottom is yellow.
His head is painted very nicely, and there’s not a bit of bleeding or overspray. The entire figure’s paint job is very nice actually. It’s very cleanly done and looks great. His color scheme is a complete and total clash of colors and results in rather garish attire. Since that’s what it’s supposed to look like, I’d say job well done here.
ARTICULATION – Penguin has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, single elbows, wrist rotators, waist rotator, cut hips, single knees, and ankle hinges.
His head has a pretty good range of motion, allowing you to even tilt it to the side. He can also position his arms holding the brim of his hat which is very cool, and might be the reason his arms are so long, but only Mattel would know for sure. His waist does rotate, but you might not be able to get a full 360 degree swivel (though I don’t think that would matter to anyone).
His hips do move back and forth, but they have no outward hinges to them, so you won’t be putting your Penguin in any wide stances, or martial arts poses. I know it might bother some, but considering the character, it really doesn’t bother me. He has great upper body articulation, which gives you lots of great display options for him.
ACCESSORIES – Penguin comes with his signature umbrella accessory, which is actually the same sculpt as the DCUC version, only this time painted in Super Powers colors. It’s the exact same color scheme as the vintage figure’s umbrella and is done here nicely.
The canopy is painted in an alternating red and blue pattern, with the ribs painted yellow. The blue is actually the same shade as on the Penguin figure, which I find a nice touch. It also spins freely, which is another great touch that calls back to the vintage figure. The canopy is also removable, which reveals the Gatling Gun hidden underneath. It just clips onto the shaft of the umbrella and can be removed.
The umbrella fits in Penguin’s hand, but it’s not the firmest grip ever. It can slide pretty easily, so having the gun attached to help keep it in place is probably a good idea. The umbrella is as completely gauche as his tuxedo, which again is what they’re going for.
FUN – This figure is a lot of fun. Originally I wasn’t sure if I wanted him, even though I really love the Super Powers updates. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money on the figure. However, after seeing him in person and opening him up and playing with him, I’m glad I did.
He’s a load of fun to play with, and yes his ridiculous color scheme only adds to it. That darn grin on his face just makes any pose he’s in look like he’s having the time of his life and completely reveling in his super villainy. The umbrella accessory also adds to the displays and poses, since it’s quite versatile.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – The umbrella canopy is quite hard to pop off the first time, so be careful not to break it. Other than that, not a thing!
OVERALL – The figure isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s still really good. The arms are too long and the head is too big, but the paint job is solid and the articulation is as well. Though I’m sure some will lament the lack of ab crunch and outward hip hinges, it doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m not even sure how they could make an ab crunch work on such a rotund belly.
His umbrella is essential and the one this figure comes with has many display options for it. I just wish it fit in his hand better. It also would have been cool if Mattel would have taken this chance to finally release that Penguin robot that the original DCUC Penguin prototype was shown with, but considering how many figures are lacking accessories these days, it’s completely understandable. Most importantly for any action figure or toy of any kind, this is really fun. The colors, the ridiculous grin, the play options with the umbrella all equals a genuinely fun action figure and I love that.
Despite the few complaints, this is a great update to the vintage Super Powers Penguin figure, and would look pretty awesome fighting the Golden Age or even First Appearance Batman figures from the Batman Legacy line. If you’re a fan of Super Powers, Batman, or crazy old school super villain color schemes, this figure just might be for you.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5 / 5
Where to buy:
Be sure to check out these extra photos below that couldn’t fit in the review.