DC 9" Penguin and Batman

As Hasbro's tenure with the Warner Brothers/DC super heroes comes winding down to a close, we are getting some of the best figures they've done in years.  Just doesn't make much sense, does it?

The 9" line is wrapping up with two final figures - a black-suited version of Batman, and the Penguin.  The Penguin is only the second villain to be added to the line, with the Joker just coming out this last summer.

There have been quite a few figures done in the DC 9" line at this point - Aquaman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, Batman Beyond, Martian Manhunter, Superman Blue, Golden Age Batman and Robin, Masterpiece Edition Batman, Secret Identity Superman, Guardian of Gotham Batman (the same Batman as this one, only in the older blue/gray scheme), and the Joker.  That doesn't even include the 9" NASCAR Drivers  which use the same DC 9" body style.

Most of the time, these have retailed for twenty bucks.  Recently however, Target dropped the price to $14.99, which is in effect for the new releases along with the Joker.  Check your local Target - this is an exclusive to them, and seem to be finally hitting the shelves in pretty good numbers.


"I think you may have gone a bit far with the Atkins diet, Bruce."

Packaging - **1/2
Attractive enough, and fairly sturdy, these pass as adequate.  The MIBers really can't display them particularly well in these boxes, but you can store them easily enough.  They aren't particularly collector friendly, although I suppose if you wanted to try hard enough you could get everything back into the box.

Sculpting - ***1/2 
The Batman head sculpt has one issue - it's large, or at least the cowled version.  The Bruce Wayne head is much more appropriately sized.  Both are excellent looking sculpts though, and the black color really works much better than the dark blue.

The Penguin is an excellent sculpt, with more detail and personality than any of the previous Batman, Robin or other super heroes Hasbro has produced in this format.  Similar to the Joker, the sculptor clearly had a better time with the villain.

The only negative with the Penguin is scale.  He's a big guy, almost as tall as Batman and quite a bit heftier.  On the shelf with the rest of the line he seems a bit out of place.

Paint - ***
There's not a lot of detail to the paint ops, and in this scale you expect the simple lines around the cowl or the hair line to be clean.  They are, but the primary colors of these figures doesn't allow for much paint ops muscle flexing.

The nit I'm picking here is the sticker logo on Batman's chest.  Mine is off center, and so was the others I saw on the shelf.  It's minor but still important enough to mention.

Outfit - ***
You're actually getting three outfits here - the one on Batman and Penguin, and the second suit for Bruce Wayne.

Let's talk about the Bruce outfit first.  Rather than the tux that came with the earlier version, this is a basic black suit with a blue tie.  It fits slightly better than the original version as well, and the stitching is nicely done.  Still, you can only get it to fit so well when it has to go on over top of the body suit.

Next up, the Penguin's dapper attire.  There is a jacket, and pants with suspenders.  The hat is part of the head sculpt, as is the upper body clothing (shirt and tie).  That's too bad, as the figure ends up losing quite a bit without a real shirt and tie.  That's not the kind of corner they should have cut, and really is the only major problem with what could have otherwise been a terrific job.

The final outfit is Batman's.  Yes, we've seen this one before, and it's pretty basic.  There's no real detail to the belt, the cape isn't hemmed, and the guantlets fall off pretty easily.  Still, it's the nicest of these three, and the color is a major improvement over the previous version.

Articulation - **1/2
There are really two unique bodies here, the usual DC 9" used for Batman, and a new, rotund version for the Penguin.

The articulation is so-so on both.  There's neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, wrists, waist and ankles, but the waist joint on the Penguin is not as useful as the usual DC 9" body.  Neither he or Batman had any trouble standing on their own and holding a number of poses.

The fatter body is certainly useful for a number of customs though, and I'm betting a lot will sell for that simple reason.

Accessories - Penguin ***1/2, Batman **1/2
The Bruce Wayne head and suit aren't terrible, but with already getting this 'secret identiy' figure once, we really didn't need it a second time.  Other Batman accessories with this version would have been much appreciated.

On the other hand, we get three terrific accessories with the Penguin.  I don't understand why the only figures to ever get any decent accessories have been the two villains, but thank goodness at least some of the figures did.

The Penguin has two Emperor Penguins, non-articulated but very well sculpted and painted, and his trademark umbrella.  The umbrella is also solid, with nothing particularly special about it, but the sculpt is decent and he can hold it in his hand fairly well.

Value - ***
At twenty bucks, these would have lost a half star in the value department, but with Target's new pricing, they are a pretty good deal.  $15 for each, especially considering that they are an exclusive, is pretty surprising for both Hasbro and Target.

Overall - ***
Perhaps it's just the nostalgia already setting in, but these two are some of the better DC 9" to make it to market.  I think the only Batman that's better than this one is the Masterpiece version, and only the Joker rivals the Penguin on the coolness meter.  Still, I'm not blind, and while these would have been a good sign that Hasbro was improving, they are now just a sad footnote to the overall line. 

There's rumors of a possible animated Batman and perhaps a Riddler, but I doubt we'll see either of those actually make it to retail.

Where to Buy - 
Target is the place to pick these up, and at only $15 each!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour