Sorry for the big gap between posts guys! The LBC is actually in America at the moment, taking a much-needed holiday and visiting some family. So this post actually comes to you live from Texas!
Subscription boxes are a huge, huge deal in the collecting world these days. If you have a niche interest, the odds are strong you can find a distributor out there who’s created a subscription box to cater to your interest. But this wide availability comes at a price; namely, that not all collector’s boxes are created equal. Marvel has had a consistent run with its Funko Collector Corps box sets (I still regret not ordering that first Hulkbuster box), but other suppliers like Loot Crate, My Geek Box and Nerd Block tend to vary wildly from one month to another. Legion of Collectors marks DC’s first foray into the subscription box marketplace, though they’ve previously provided exclusive items for other providers. Expectations are high, given Funko’s involvement – and the inevitable comparisons to more established players, especially the Marvel Collector Corps boxes. Timed to coincide with the release of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, this theme may be as much a hindrance as a help to the future success of the subscription. Though it has been impressively successful at the box office, it hasn’t quite made what was anticipated, and critical response has been nothing short of devastating. Though I quite enjoyed the film, it was far from perfect and it’s done nothing to shrug the perception of DC being Marvel’s poor cousin.
But that notwithstanding, let’s take a look at the product on its own merits. I’m a little late to the party with this review; the second box is due out in the next week or so. Why the delay? Well, currently the subscription doesn’t ship to Australia. However, I have some American contacts who have been kind enough to help me get my hands on it – so let’s open the box and see what’s inside!
Wonder Woman Embroidered Patch
The logo style is Batman Vs Superman, but the colouring is very comics/1970s-TV show based. This is a nice touch; respecting the past while paying tribute to the future etc etc. I may use it at some point…I have always wanted a patch jacket, but I’m not sure how well WW will sit next to the likes of Immortal or Bathory.
Superman Enamel Pin
It’s Henry Cavill, rendered in a black and white pseudo-Art Deco style! This is a nice nod to Superman’s 1930s origins – like the Wonder Woman patch, honouring the past while paying tribute to the future. I like the simplicity of the design, but I have never really been a pins guy. That being said, I think an opportunity to have a more explicitly “Funko” design was missed here.
Batman Vs Superman t-shirt
This shirt takes some 1970s-era Batman and Superman art (it kind of looks like Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez's work, but I don’t think it is) and turns it into a retro luchador poster – complete with Spanish writing. It’s a neat concept, but as someone who tends to dress more like the first pic on this page, the light blue colour doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my A E S T H E T I C. No matter; I’m sure it will find a good home whether via eBay or among my circle of friends. If it had been black print on a white shirt, I definitely would have worn it though.
Kryptonite Superman and Underwater Aquaman Dorbz set
I dunno…I just can’t get on board with the style that Funko is using for Dorbz. I said the same thing about the POP! look a few years ago, and look where that got me, but this time I think I’m sticking with that opinion. That said, if you’re collecting Dorbz, this is a great exclusive set for you. Superman is rendered green, presumably by Kryptonite poisoning. This does make his smiling expression a little odd but perhaps he is opting to embrace his death, in a truly nihilistic inversion of the traditional Superman mythos. Aquaman is a little cheerier, mimicking the underwater look of the Hot Topic exclusive Aquaman POP. The paintwork and sculpt is nice, just not to my taste.
Batman/Superman # 5
I buy a few select comics, but generally only miniseries these days. Comic-collecting gets out of hand too quickly. This variant cover’s inclusion here is a good bonus for those who are more casual comic readers, but it’s kind of neither here nor there for me personally. It's an older issue from 2013. Nice cover art though!
Armored Batman POP!
This was the only item confirmed prior to the box’s release, and the hook that convinced me to subscribe. Based on the Batman’s distinctive armour in the new film – which in turn was based on the armour Batman wears when fighting Superman in the seminal comic The Dark Knight Returns – it’s far and away the best item in the box. My only disappointment is that it is such a crucial part of the film, and such a cool POP in and of itself, that it’s a shame it’s been restricted to subscribers. Who knows, maybe some kind of paint variant will eventually find its way out there…though I’m still waiting with that Hulkbuster…
Funko has obviously been spending some time adjusting the quality of their paint apps for this box. They’re infamous for their average paintwork, but if their usual standards had been applied on this occasion, it could have been a total disaster for the company. While the Legion of Collectors website devotes a good chunk of space to defining what is and isn’t considered “damaged” across packaging and paint, it’s a relief to see that the product appears to have been executed with a higher than usual standard.
I probably don’t sound very enthused about the box based on the individual item breakdowns, but taken as a collective whole I think it’s a very solid – if not outstanding – debut from the Legion of Collectors. The Armored Batman POP is already reselling for more than I paid for the box itself, so while I have no interest in scalping I think it’s already proven itself to be value for money. The test will be whether the box can maintain – or even better, improve – on its exclusives with future boxes. The date to sign up for the next box (which is DC TV themed) draws close, so it won’t be long till we find out!