I skipped over the other recent Batman Unlimited figures by Mattel, but the Penguin got my attention, a repaint of the DC Universe Classic Wave 1 Penguin, sporting a new head. Like a lot of collectors, I'm somewhat annoyed by Mattel's omission of accessories among their 6" lines. I loved the Batman from this trio, but we didn't get anything with him, not even a mini-print. This Penguin came with his umbrella however, and the new deco is nostalgic in a very specific way for kids of my age. If you are of my generation, you know this as the Filmation/Super Friends Penguin, the Bronze-Age rendering of Oswald Cobblepot. One of the oldest of Batman's rogues gallery, Oswald is a mobster known for his specialized umbrellas that double as weapons used against the Dark Knight. His latest interpretation as an underworld nightclub owner is tolerated by Batman in exchange for information. It had been a little while since I picked up a 6" Mattel figure, but this Penguin seemed like a missing piece of my Batman-related DCUC collection, as you will see in the next two posts here on the Super-DuperToyBox.
As I said, this Penguin sports a different, more cartoony head from the 1st DCUC Penguin, which I had not initially realized was more realistic & grotesque. The sculpt and colors on this figure are great- the details in the folds of his clothing are really well done. The hat is sculpted on, but the torso/coattails section of the jacket is a separate rubbery piece that's removable. There are a lot of those great DCUC joints in this figure, including bicep swivels and a very expressive ball-jointed head. His hip articulation is severely limited and he has no abdominal crunch, but he does have a swivel waist.
What makes this already fun action figure really cool is the excellent accessory, a multicolored, machine gun parasol, sculpted in an "armored-plated" texture and with a removable ammo cartridge. I'm not big on guns, but that's rad! The similarly styled Super-Power Penguin from 1984 had a retractable blade, and later versions shot projectiles. DCUCs aren't that kinda toy, but this is a nice tribute to the first DC action figure a lot of us adult collectors had.
Batman Unlimited Penguin with DCUC Catwoman from the Wal-Mart exclusive Gotham City 5-pack...
I loved the relationship between these two characters in Tim Burton's Batman Returns, portrayed by actors Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito. These two villains contrast nicely, stylistically on opposite ends of the spectrum, but sharing the common obsession with Batman's undoing.
In closing, while I share the same love/hate relationship with Mattel that other collectors do, this offering seems like a small gift from the toy giant for our support of their long-running DC Universe Classics line. I'll temper my gratitude with the caveat that Mattel certainly anticipated our enthusiastic purchase of the product, but it's nice to think, even if half heartedly, that they cared. Thank you, Mattel- I'll take it :)
* Visual checklist & reviews of the DCUC line at DCClassics.Com!
More Later-Make It FUN!