The Guardians of the Galaxy Bring Holiday Cheer to the Marvel Collector Corps
After the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, Marvel's gone all in on its spacefaring adventurers. Where once the group was lucky to have one book being published, you can now find various titles starring the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy in print, including multiple team books and solo books. It's quite a time to be a fan of Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Gamorra and Drax.
Even with that in mind, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that the final box of 2015 for the Marvel Collector Corps would focus on the intergalactic squad of misfits. Funko's usually found a way to tie its boxes to major comic events or film releases, but both the previous box (Villains) and this latest one have spun out from their own little worlds, independent of Marvels grand publishing and cinematic plans.
Though the Villains box suffered from this lack of focus, the Guardians of the Galaxy box has a bit more going for it. It's a slight improvement over the quality of the previous entry, and given just how different the included items are from all the earlier boxes, the Marvel Collector Corps Guardians of the Galaxy box manages to stand out amongst some stiff competition.
Inside, you'll find the familiar pin and patch waiting for you beneath the lid. Where many of the previous patches and pins were all similarly styled, this time Funko opts for a more modern Rocket Raccoon for the patch, which is based on the art of Skottie Young. Groot's pin falls more in line with the earlier pins, which is nice for consistency.
Again, the audience for these accessories is rather limited, as not everyone will want to tack a patch onto their clothes. I've got a nice stack building, since I don't really know what to do with them outside of their intended purpose. People do love pins though, and trading at conventions will only become more common the more of these (and Marvel's own proprietary pins) are released.
Beneath that first layer, you'll find this month's variant comic, a copy of Guardians of Infinity with a cover by Funko's own Ben Butcher. It's a cute holiday themed image, with a Funko-styled Rocket decorating Groot for the season. That makes sense given that Ben Butcher is Funko's vice president of creative. The book itself is based around the Guardians of now meeting up with the Guardians of the future (which are technically from Marvel's publishing past), and does a serviceable job setting the series up. At least this time the book included with the box is actually part of the theme. Funko's been a bit inconsistent with the comic selections, but there have been slightly more hits than misses.
Of course, the real reason everyone subscribes to the Collector Corps is for the exclusive Funko Pops, which don't actually appear in a traditional sense this month. Instead, Funko's opted to include miniature Pop ornaments of Rocket and Groot dressed in some seasonal attire. Rocket's got a little scarf and a bow on his gun, while baby Groot gets a red pot with a green bow to make him appear more festive.
We passed the point of over-saturation on baby Groot some time ago, but at this scale and in this theme, the figure works well enough. Rocket isn't exactly known for being the most cheerful and festive hero, but getting a cutesy version to put on the tree isn't a bad idea.
I can see why some folks might be upset there isn't a traditional set of Pops in this box, but going the ornament route makes sense. Whether this means we'll start seeing more ornaments from Funko in the future remains to be seen, but these little guys should appeal to the intended audience just fine. Both sculpts get the same treatment you'd expect from Funko and have some nice detail. They aren't as small as the keychains, which means they actually do still have some true bobble in their heads, too. They are a little on the heavy side, so you do have to find a solid branch to hand them on, but I'd rather have slightly bigger, heavier figures than another lighter, uneven keychain-sized figure to adorn the tree.
Rather than a t-shirt this month, Funko's opted for a massive Guardians of the Galaxy scarf. If I wore scarves at all, this would be a really nice addition to my wardrobe. I'll probably use it like so many soccer fans use the scarves of their team, and find a place to hang it nicely. It'll be tough to decide which side to hang, though. One side gets the familiar logo, which is supported on either side by Pop silhouettes of the Guardians from the film arranged horizontally. The flip side gets a big ol' Groot in a pot positioned vertically. It's a thick scarf with vibrant colors, and makes much more sense than another t-shirt at this time of year. I hope this is a hint that the future of the Collector Corps won't always be tied to shirts. The new wardrobe I've accumulated over the past year is nice and all, but shaking things up like this adds a new element of surprise and enjoyment to the subscription.
Finally, you'll find a brand new Star-Lord ceramic mug inside. Funko's been building up its kitchen collection since Toy Fair last year, and now you can drink your beverage of choice straight from the Pop-inspired skull of your favorite wise-cracking spaceman. It's a sizeable mug with some decent weight to it. Going with the masked version of Star-Lord makes sense too, given that you don't get to see the rest of the body and it would just look like a random white dude's head without the signature mask. You can't microwave it, so it's a bit limited in its overall use, but it'll definitely make getting coffee at the office more interesting. Now you can stand out from the crowd of the world's best dads, people whose cups inform you of how much coffee they need to have before talking, and whatever other silly things coffee drinkers' cups say. I'll probably just use mine for booze.
After the slight disappointment of the Villains box, Guardians of the Galaxy gets the Marvel Collector Corps back on track. It's a delightful little box to end the year on, and has some really nice, new collectibles from Funko. No longer limited to the standard format Funko set up for itself, the Guardians of Galaxy box also presents some new opportunities for the new year (and its other subscriptions), and I can only hope we'll see this kind of variation continue into the future.
This box was provided by Funko for review. The Marvel Collector Corps subscriptions run $25 a box, and you can sign up on the official site if you wish to join.
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