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By Thomas Wheeler

Hasbro's last gasp with the DC/Batman license came just before Christmas with the releaseof a 9" Penguin figure, arguably Batman's second best-known foe after the Joker, who was released earlier in 2002. It was nice to see a second villain turned out in this line of 9" figures, compatible with Toy Biz's late and very lamented Marvel-based Famous Covers line.

So, how does The Penguin rate? Overall, not too bad. The facial likeness is superb, the squirting umbrella is a cute gimmick, the two emperor penguins are decent accessories, and the figure's overall articulation is excellent. But that doesn't mean that this figure of Mr. Oswald Cobblepot doesn't have a few problems. For starters, it's too tall. Quite a number of custom body parts had to be sculpted for the manufacture of the rotund rather than muscular antarctic avian adversary of the caped crusader, but somebody forgot to pay attention to the figure's final height. The Penguin has always been chubby, but he's never been tall. He's been portrayed in various heights throughout the years, depending on the artist working on him -- anything from average short to midget-like to having to shoplift from the formal section of the toddler's department. In fairness, I think the figure, without the top hat (which is molded to the head), should've come in at a maximum of seven and a half inches. But measuring without the hat, Pengy comes in at closer to eight and a half. That's just a little bit much.

Now, let's discuss those custom body parts. They include rather squat lower legs, and a "fat body" torso. Here is where Hasbro pulled its major "cheat", for lack of a better word. Instead of a fabric shirt, such as on the elegantly crafted Joker figure, Penguin's upper body is sculpted as the shirt. This gives the figure the appearance of being dressed in a glossy white shirt. It looks plastic, in other words.

My third complaint is relatively minor. This Penguin is more or less based on classic versions of the character, when he was a colorful (relatively speaking) criminal instead of the urban crimelord of more recent portrayals. As such, I feel the jacket should have had the distinctly long tails that the Penguin's wardrobe was noted for. But this coat does not have them. It's straight in the back. Looks like it came straight off the Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent costumes provided with the "Secret Identity" versions of Superman and Batman from a while back.

Do I still recommend this figure? Frankly, yes. It's negative points do not negate the fact that it's one of only two villains ever produced for the DC 9" line, a line which will no longer be continued since Hasbro no longer has the DC license. On that basis, it's worth it to get The Penguin. And, on the whole, it's not a bad figure at all, really.

Good luck finding it, though. It's a Target exclusive, and I had to have a friend clear across the country send it to me, as it has not appeared, as of this writing, at any of the three Targets in my immediate area. Which, I might add, is one more reason you should get it if you see it, and if you're into DC super-heroes at all.

The 9" Penguin from Hasbro is not a perfect figure. But it's a good figure, and a worthwhile addition to the overall collection. And the last.