Power Up Box Review: A Solid Start


The geek subscription box service space is a hot one. Loot Crate sort of lit the match, and enough other players jumped in that the inevitable happened and Marvel created its own product with the help of Funko. Is there still room for another spunky independent under these conditions? Power Up Box thinks so.

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The Service

What is Power Up Box bringing to the table to differentiate itself from its ever-growing number of competitors? First and foremost is a choice of price points. Subscribers can opt for the “Premium” or “Deluxe” boxes as desired, and while those descriptors are just buzzwords, there’s an actual difference both in what you’ll pay and what you’ll get.

The Premium edition costs $29.95 a month (plus shipping) and comes with 6-9 items. The Deluxe boxes cost $19.95 per month and contain 4-6 items. It’s a nice choice for the customer, and one that I haven’t seen other services try.

There’s also a Power Up Rewards program, which doesn’t have its details finalized, but will allow subscribers to earn extra stuff for referring others. The rest of the service is pretty standard for the industry to date, including savings if you pay up front and opt in for three, six or 12 months of boxes. Power Up Box is promising items from Marvel, DC and Star Wars, so it seems to be intent on pushing all the general comic geek buttons.

The First Box

I checked out the first Premium box, and if you’ll excuse my atrocious photography skills, will show off what was inside. As you can see above, the packing job was nice, with everything tucked in snugly, topped off by a nice welcome card.

As with Loot Crate, each box comes with a t-shirt, and my box yielded a Joker tee, suitably purple.

Next up was a large helping of Funko goodness; no surprise, really since the company’s POP Vinyl and other lines are so popular right now. The big piece was a Batman Fabrikations figure, which are kind of like oversized POPs that are constructed out of fabric instead of plastic. Their heads also turn, which is nice. Also in the box was a Pocket POP keychain (Raphael of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), plus a blind-boxed Marvel Mystery Mini (which turned out to be Spider-Man).

I got some candy, too, in the form of a 3-pack of lollipop rings from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Guess that movie did have quite the merchandising campaign. A comic made its way in as well, in this case the first issue of Batman: Arkham Knight, based on the upcoming video game.

That gets us to six items, which was the minimum promised for the Premium level. The box also contained three Power Up Box promotional items: a drawstring bag, a pin and a lanyard (which would come in handy at cons, for sure). You could certainly quibble about these being counted toward the total, but since we already got to six without them, they’re more like bonuses than a way to fudge the amount of product you’re getting, and I don’t have a problem with that.

The Verdict

All told, this felt like a promising start for Power Up Box. The only thing I wonder is how its lack of themed offerings will work for or against it. Several of the bigger geek subscription services, including Loot Crate, organize each month’s offerings around a theme, so buyers have at least a general idea of what might be coming. With Power Up Box, it’s a total surprise, and it will be interesting to see if that attracts more people than it deters, because themes can also be a turn-off if customers don’t care for them.

From a value perspective, there are no issues at all. The Fabrikations figure alone retails for $20 (though you can find them for less), so just that plus the t-shirt is enough to get your money’s worth. If Power Up Box can keep delivering assortments like this, it should be able to make a name for itself even among a number of similar products.

Disclosure: Power Up Box provided Bam Smack Pow with a free Premium box, representative of its initial shipments, for review purposes.

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