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#LootCrate Review: August 2015

As August's Villains 2 box arrives, will fans support Loot Crate's new direction? Read on to find out!

Review by Matt Cummings

Loot Crate appears to be at a crossroads. Having turned in an impressive run of subscription boxes in March, April, May, and June, July proved the company isn't willing to keep sending us the same thing every month. The once staple crop of a t-shirt surrounded by lower-end stuff was recently replaced with a cool figure, a hardbound book, and a rad batarang that's quickly become the most used bottle opener in the house. Some fans (like our own SandwichJohn) are opting out, with others complaining that Loot's LevelUp program is sending shirts that don't arrive with their Crate and ultimately don't fit. August's box of VILLAINS 2 is more of the same, leaving me to wonder how long customer loyalty will last.

Remember Loot's promise: a $22 subscription should yield more in value than the cost. Let's see if that holds up.

I mentioned last month my appreciation that USPS and other carriers were doing a better job delivering the boxes, until I didn't get mine! Luckily, a neighbor dropped it off at my door, but not without opening it. Ummm...thanks?

Upon cracking the case, we see the recent trend of no t-shirt and fewer items continues. In its place appears to be a more enticing set, with Loot bellowing that less is more. An interesting change as I always thought the sheet amount of crap we were getting was no different than me raiding Hot Topic for 20 minutes, but I wonder what long-time fans think.

First up is a Joker Wooden Figure from DC Collectibles. The Harlequin of Hate is featured with two interchangeable heads and arms that move. I'm debating whether to add him to my desk at work or sell the poor guy. But while I'm an Avengers fan, I do like the addition of Joker to the box. I think a lot of fans will try to find the Batman version of this, so I'll push this into the WIN category.

A totally quirky addition to the box is this Los Pollos Hermanos Apron from 50/Fifty. If you're a fan of Breaking Bad, you'll probably LOVE this. It's well made and could be the center of a fun themed party of television favorites. I've never seen the show, but I think someone on our staff (Brandon) might want this. WIN.

One of the best (and biggest) submissions is the Venom/Carnage 3D Mug from Surreal Entertainment. You only get one, and I was lucky enough to receive Carnage. It's a hand-wash-only item and the mouth is too small to drink out of, so I'll probably be selling it. Remember that not everything in these boxes will have appeal, but it's pretty well made and (thankfully) arrived undamaged. Another WIN in terms of quality.

Perhaps the best item of the month is one of the smallest: a Captain America Hydra Pin from eFX Collectibles. It's an excellent representation of Hydra, the organization which was so central to the terrific Captain America: Winter Soldier movie in 2014, with the pin recreated using digital files from the original screen prop. With an Amazon street value of over $20, this easily pays for the entire box - and you get all the stuff above as well. Hail Hydra!

The final two pieces - the VILLAINS 2 Button and the monthly magazine - are recurring winners, with issue #25 taking us into the theme via articles such as the multiple-choice 'Villainous Voices' and a great rundown of Batman's villains featured in DC's comics. The article is very informative.

As with July's Crate, it appears this box can be folded into a sort of diorama, but I wasn't able to make it work. If anyone has an idea how this monstrosity works, let me know and I'll re-post the changes. It might be a nice addition to the July box, with its building and the kid Dark Knight on top. Hmmm....

In the end, August 2015's Loot Crate delves into the VILLAINS 2 theme in high style, delivering a well-made mix of items - albeit smaller - that should still satisfy everyone's tastes. And while I understand that some are cancelling their subs over the loss of the shirt, I think this box contains more than enough value to keep my dollars on the table. I'm not sure what fans are looking for from these meagerly-priced subs, but you can't expect Sideshow toys in any delivery, unless you win the Mega Crate! It's disappointing that the shirt is gone from the mix and I still think the its popularity and Loot's recent problems with shipping them should send a clear message: fans want shirts in the boxes. Balance that with perhaps this month's mug and the Hydra pin and you have a winner for sure. As that's not likely to happen, we'll have to see how Loot's decision will affect interest long term. For now, they seem to be moving in the right direction. But a cheap offering or one bad box could turn more long-termers like myself off. We'll see.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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