REVIEW / Loot Crate (May 2015)

 

Don’t worry, fans of random geeky items: we haven’t forgotten about Loot Crate. I have vanquished the foes keeping it from me, and I can now divulge the contents of May’s crate.  With the theme of “Unite,” it promised to include items related to Marvel’s Avengers, the Power Rangers, Bravest Warriors, and more.  It’s a great lineup of properties, but did it make for an exciting collection of items? As usual, let’s start by looking at each item.


Power Rangers T-shirt

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I grew up with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and the Green Ranger (later the White Ranger) was always my favorite. He still is, in fact, so this shirt is right up my alley. It features the character in both costumes, with a design highlighting his weaponry and the show’s Japanese roots.  Like the Voltron shirt from January, it does feature annoyingly large logos, but it’s still a great design. I’ve seen shirts similar to this one at conventions, but this particular iteration is a Loot Crate exclusive.  They are definitely banking on their customers being 90s kids, but it’s excellent either way.  Unfortunately, though, it’s the only great item present.

 

Marvel Ice Cube Tray

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Novelty ice cube trays seem to be a staple of comic shops nowadays.  Made of silicone, the idea is to make ice cubes in the shape of Marvel designs. Shapes included are Iron Man’s helmet, Captain America’s shield, and The Thing’s face among others.  It does what it’s meant to do, but it isn’t really all that interesting.  It’s not a complete miss though, so I’m fine with it being included.  In fact, I’ve been looking for an excuse to get one of these ice cube trays, so for me it’s definitely a plus.  For others, though, it probably depends on how often you use ice cubes and what you use them for.

 

Avengers Decal

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Things start to go downhill with the second of three Marvel items: a decal presumably meant for cars.  I don’t have a car, so I can’t say how well it works, but I can say that the silhouette of the Avengers is barely recognizable from a distance. It’s also rather large, so I’m not sure where it would go.  Still, it is high quality, and something that an Avengers fan might enjoy.  It’s a sensible item to include, but the execution could have been a lot better.  That’s about all I can say on the decal really; it is what it looks like, for better or worse. And speaking of worse…

 

Marvel Shoelaces

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I realize that novelty shoelaces do exist, but who thought this would be a good idea?  These are supposed to have Marvel related images on them, but it just turns into a black and grey mess.  If you really look closely, you can see Captain America’s shield, but that’s it.  Without the packaging, nobody would be able to tell that these are related to Marvel.  I can’t believe nobody involved realized that these shoelaces wouldn’t work for showing images.  If you want some black and grey shoelaces, these will probably do the job, but don’t expect anyone to recognize them for what they’re supposed to be.  That’s what I have to say about the ones in my crate; I learned while looking for images for this review that some people may have gotten color shoelaces.  These are obviously much better, as the characters are more recognizable, but it’s a shame that Loot Crate didn’t give the good ones to everyone.

 

Rick & Morty Jigsaw Puzzle

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Theoretically there’s nothing wrong with a jigsaw puzzle.  Some may say that it’s not all that interesting, but after the shoelaces, a 300-piece puzzle seems fine.  Not great, but fine.  However, I’m not sure this show was the best license they could have used here. For one, while it is technically two people working together, the “Unite” theme was supposed to be about teams, particularly teams of heroes. Everything else in the crate follows that pattern, except for one of the small items that I’ll get to.  Second, though they aren’t the main focus, children often subscribe to Loot Crate. So the use of an adult show seems odd.  Besides, aren’t jigsaw puzzles more aimed at children anyway?

Bravest Warriors Comic

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Comics with exclusive covers are a Loot Crate staple.  Considering that, and the Bravest Warriors items in a previous crate, the inclusion is not surprising.  They have gotten better at not including issues from the middle of a series, so they’re usually welcome.  This one in particular is a one shot, and a pretty big one at that.  It does work best if you’ve read the main comic, but at least it isn’t part of a story that’s already running.  I certainly found it enjoyable, and the special cover artwork is very well done.  This is definitely one of the better comics in a Loot Crate, so I won’t complain.

Mad Magazine mini-issue

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This one, on the other hand, is less enticing.  Mad Magazine lost a lot of its appeal with the advent of online humor sites and webcomics.  Beyond that, this mini-issue is clearly only present as an advertisement for the magazine.  Speaking to this point is the included code for a free issue of Mad for iPad, and only iPad.  The good news is that if you are a fan of Mad, this isn’t a bad mini-issue.  Mostly superhero themed, like most of the box, it’s a respectable amount of content.

 

Team Fortress 2 Buttons

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This is the other item that doesn’t focus on heroic teams.  These are pretty basic 1-inch round buttons, featuring imagery from Team Fortress 2.  They are a Loot Crate exclusive, so they make a good collectible for fans of Valve’s team-based shooter.  Still, I think it would be nicer if they were shaped buttons instead of basic round ones.  As it is, while they are exclusive designs, they lack much in the way of personality.


 

Overall, May’s crate was disappointing.  While I love the shirt, none of the other items are particularly interesting.  Though I didn’t cover it, the situation was very similar with April’s crate.  That said, there is a bright spot on the horizon.  I have seen the contents of June’s Loot Crate, and it looks to be much better.  I’ll share that with you soon.  In the meantime, if you want to get your own crate every month, head to www.lootcrate.com; you can subscribe monthly for $13.95, or choose other options.

 

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