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Friday, December 30, 2016

#MarvelCollectorCorps Review: December 2016

Marvel Collector Corps ends 2016 on a high note with their very good X-MEN box.

Review by Matt Cummings

It's been an interesting first year for Funko's Marvel Collector Corps. Having experienced a terrific opening, the subscription box service descended into chaos with its disastrous Marvel STUPOR BOX and August's less-than-awesome SPIDER-MAN. With October's DOCTOR STRANGE, we witnessed the uneven nature of what these boxes have become, displaying Funko's best and worst faces and making us wonder if our money would be better spent someplace else. As the final box of the year arrives in X-MEN, we see all the splendor of what a great box can deliver, even though we've been able to read between the lines of Funko's message.

The Promise

Before we begin, let's look at the original deal and MCC's current offering: promising a value of $50, regular boxes would keep the "fluff" (their words) to a minimum with Funko partnering each time to deliver an exclusive figure. Regardless if you joined at the Founders level or took on a per-box delivery, the Year One box was offered for an additional cost of $135 after tax. We were also treated to an end-of-year gift from Funko in the form a golden Captain America statue. Yeah, that sounds even less cool as I write it.

The Delivery
As always, we use QUALITY and TIMING to base our reviews, so let's see exactly what happened. As always, we'll end our review with some additional thoughts after the unboxing:


The Guts
Having no movie or even a comic book series on which to jump into the theme, December's X-Men might seem out of place. And that's ok: we don't need gear tied to a franchise that is in flux, with the news of a reboot and the firing of Director Bryan Singer. Luckily, this box is better than most from the series, featuring a wide variety of excellent Pop! gear.

Pin/Patch
The usually solid pin/patch set returns to awesomeness, gifting us a great Storm patch. We don't mind that Actor Halle Berry doesn't have her face emblazoned here, as she hasn't exactly been the Storm we had hoped for. We do like the comic version of the character as depicted here: it's understated and actually quite well done. The same goes for the awesome Magneto pin, which again reminds us of the various comic versions of this iconic and complex baddie. WIN and WIN.

The Comic
Another very solid entry in MCC's boxes has been the variant comic covers. I'm not deep enough into my Marvel comic book reading to enjoy Champions yet, but it's nice to see Cyclops featured here. WIN.

The Wearable
October had perhaps the best shirt (so far) of 2016, but that got replaced when my eyes fell upon this month's Xavier School shirt. I love how soft it is, and the logo is impressive. It would have taken a lot for me to trade in my Strange shirt, but this one makes that decision easy. WIN.

The Best Pop! of the Year?
Wow. That's all I can say about Wolverine and his motorcycle. The figure sculpt is colorful and detailed, as is the bike. It's perhaps the best Pop! figure of the year from MCC, and this one will enjoy a place of pride among the others in my collection. WIN.

Beautiful (But Curious) Rock Candy Submission
Let's be clear: I love Pop! and dislike anything that isn't. The reasons are simple: better sculpts, greater inventory of franchises on which to draw. And while usually my concerns are justified, I'm happy to admit my error this time when it comes to the gorgeous Mystique figure. There's a lot of the comic books happening here, with her trademark dress/belt combo and sexy short hair. My only concern is why she's been included here in the first place: it's clear that Funko is hoping to expand its presence with Rock Candy, but I didn't order Rock Candy-themed merch. I have no interest in collecting it, and its inclusion here doesn't make me want to invest in it. So while I like the item, I'm branding this one a PUSH.

The Bottom Line
December's Marvel Collector Corps box ends 2016 on a high(ish) note, delivering in several key areas and perhaps establishing new levels of awesome for some items in the process. But it's also clear that Funko has every intention of establishing Rock Candy figures into their boxes (as we've seen from DC's Legion of Collectors). Whether we want it or not, Rock Candy is here to stay, even if it means risking the failure of the box itself. With our yearly survey from the company complete, it's clear from the questions they asked that Funko is looking to move into new directions. The question is, will fans accept them? No matter what 2017 holds, MCC needs to re-establish itself as a sub box on the edge of cool, shoring up uneven areas but boldly experimenting with new lines not related to Pop! or Candy. How orgasmic would it be to see Hasbro enter with an exclusive Marvel Legends figure? If we're still talking about the same mix of (albeit mostly great) categories at the end of Year Two, will fans consider such predictability a failure? It's a thought that no one wants to entertain, but one that needs to be addressed. We'll continue to enter our thoughts upon the digital chalkboard, by providing you with all the evidence you'll need to make an informed decision. For now, enjoy a very good final entry for the year!

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

SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY
January
March
May
June
September November
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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