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@FunkoDCLegion Review: November 2016

Legion's BATMAN VILLAINS box exposes Funko's larger, long-term problem.

Review by Matt Cummings

After several months of outstanding boxes, DC's Legion of Collectors has already proven its worth with July's SUICIDE SQUAD and September's WOMEN OF DC. But just like their other brands which include Marvel Collector Corps and Smuggler's Bounty, Funko is in...well...a funk. Hampered by the same sorts of boxes release after release, the company is starting to show signs of fatigue. Nowhere else is this more prevalent than in November's BATMAN VILLAINS, a box that at best is a push, and at worst exposes a long-term problem with the company's business plan.

The Promise
Before we begin, let's look at the deal again: promising a value of $50, the sub continues the tradition of Funko partnering each time to deliver an exclusive figure and t-shirt without the fluff or filter (their words). Joining at the VIGILANTE MEMBERSHIP, members receive 6 boxes every year, with the promise of an exclusive themed collectible gift on the one-year anniversary of your annual membership pf $150 p sh/h. You can also subscribe at the SIDEKICK LEVEL at $25 with $6.95 shipping. That's literally the same deal as Marvel Collector Corps. DC/Funko promises a similar one-year anniversary item with VIGILANTE, but with the spectacular failure behind Marvel Collector Corps' Golden Cap figure, I'm not hopeful for a cool reveal.

The Delivery
We use QUALITY and TIMING to base our reviews, so let's see how this box stands up. As always, we'll end our review with some additional thoughts after the unboxing:


The Guts
Ugh. We start off with one of the most unique-shaped Funko boxes we've ever received, telling us there would be a lot of goodies inside. Things look really interesting when we peel open the cover to reveal a very nice set of classic villain images that have become Funko's standard bearer. We're also impressed with the excellent pin/patch set, something that Funko has never failed at getting right. The company is solidly consistent in several areas, and the Bane patch/Riddler pin are some of the best we've received from this line. Although they don't seem to go for much in the secondary market, their quality is unparalleled and should hold their value over the long haul. WIN and WIN.

The Comic
Along with the preview card for January 2017's DC LEGACY box, this month's variant comic comes to us courtesy of Batamn #232 and features Bats, Robin and The Riddler. This is another of Funko's homeruns, reminding us of just how solid the company has been since it entered the sub box bonanza. This is not as good as Suicide Squad comic or the Batgirl, but it gets the job done with great colors and poses. WIN.

A Solid Pop!
I've never felt much about Catwoman in the DC Universe, although I was much more open to the Dominatrix dress of Michelle Pfeifer and the thigh-high boots of Anne Hathaway. But Funko's old-school Catwoman is beautifully-sculpted, simply (but effectively painted), and reminds us of the classic look that's made her such a long-respected comic figure. It's actually quite a cute 1940's-themed figurine, and one that I think girls might like to pick up. Count this as a WIN.

The Tide Turns
And here's where Funko's problems begin, or at least have continued. I've always voiced my disdain for wearables other than shirts, as many of us do not consistently wear hats. Shirts emblazoned with our heroes and villains are synonymous with nerds, and Funko has done a pretty good job with them; but the appearance of the dreaded hat into this line pollutes every box where it appears. Although a Suicide Squad-themed Joker is featured, it just isn't done with much pop (no pun), even though the brim is detailed with a nice blue and the back of the hat features a pretty cool set of playing cards with the letter J. But its appearance continues to expose a real problem with the line: the continued desire to deliver us items which few of us will wear or use. And it gets much, much worse the deeper you get into this box.

As if Funko wanted to hit us with the true power of villains, we get the dastardly mug. Yeah, another mug. C-3PO, Jabba, Star-Lord, and now Joker. The worse part about these bastards is that you really can't eat or drink from them, as their brims are too wide and the contents too small. And what's worse about the Joker mug is the complete lack of creativity: this is as plain a Funko mug as we've ever seen, and it's impossible to justify their appearance here as anything other than filler. What's more, their continued appearance tells me that Funko isn't listening to the nearly unending criticism from Twitter fans who would be happy with shirts instead of mugs or hats. It may seem lame, but if Funko stuck with its breads and butters - pin/ptach, shirt, Funko! figure, comic - they would probably entertain higher interest than trying to force Dorbz, mugs, and hats down our throats.

Case in point: although this month's Dorbz features Two-Face, it's just another figurine I don't need from a line I couldn't care less about. True, they're made well enough, and the 'exclusiveness' of design might allow me to recoup some of my subscription back, but I just can't find the interest in building up a line like this. What's more, the appearance of hats, mugs, and Dorbz into this line sends an ominous message about Funko's lack of interest in what its customers think. Consider that although the WOMEN OF DC box featured a Diana jet plane, the uniqueness of the item and the high quality of the design has made it very popular. Granted it's not a wearable but the ingenious idea of including it in September's box moved it into total winner status for me. The inclusion of action figures, great shirts, and other exclusive desirables should be pillars on which DC Legion builds it support. To include three of the worst violators of that business plan in this month's box ends 2016 on a sour note, and should give every fan pause, especially those of us in the vaunted Vigilante corps. FAIL FAIL FAIL.

The Bottom Line
DC's Legion of Collectors BATMAN VILLAINS box is both a mix of the spectacular and a devastating delivery of dumb. At once filled with all things we desire in a box - including a great comic, pin/patch set, and Pop! figurine - it also rears the ugly heads of Dorbz, hat, and mug. With Legion performing so well in its previous boxes, introducing many minor characters to collectors, it's almost as if Funko knew a lesser box here would still bring in the numbers because it's Batman. And yet The Great Detective is nowhere to be seen here, sans on the comic cover. I might have given this a better review had we received a Bats hat. In the end, I can't recommend this box, delivering at best a push and at worst an ominous sign of things to come.

Hear me now, Funko: please give fans what they want by listening to their concerns, or suffer the effects of declining subscriptions. This box is comes NOT RECOMMENDED.

Want to read our other sub box reviews? We've got them all listed below:
MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS
May
June
August
October
December
February
April
June
August
October

DC LEGION REVIEWS
May
July
September

SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY
January
March
May

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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