Loot Crate’s Kingdom crate promised a packed treasury of fantasy goodies, and delivered a cloth tabard bearing the device of a legendary princess defender, the effigy of an icily benign king huddled on his icicle throne with his pin-eyed minions, a memento from the storming of Isengard, and a whiskey glass worthy of the Prancing Pony, as well as this month’s Loot Pin, decorated with Kingdom-themed heraldry.

Kingdom’s crate craft was a shield; this month’s Kingdom magazine notes that the four areas of the shield are left blank so that subscribers can design their own crest. The four panel structure gives me lots of ideas that I wish I had the art skills to execute, such as a Duck Tales themed shield with Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, and Louie in the four panels. Comic collectors that received the Kingdom crate may want to take my humble suggestion to take this to your next comic book convenion to bring home a unique comission from the artist of your choice. (Bring markers.) As this would mean waiting until Tekko 2018 for me, I may just trust this to the artists in my own household.

If you’ve been following NerdSpan’s Loot Crate reviews you know that my favorite Loot Pin so far is the d20 pin from last year’s fantasy themed crate, Quest. The Kingdom Crest Loot Pin, Loot Crate’s second attempt at herladric themed bling, is also a really sharp pin, dated with a roman numeral inscription, and its shield broken into four different fields, one of which features the Loot Crate logo, while two sport crossed axes, and the fourth depicts a boar’s head.

Loot Crate’s fantasy-themed crates are awesome, and I was looking forward to Kindgom. Like Quest, Kingdom contained not only wonderful merchandise but a functional theme to tie them together into a curated home shopping experience. In fact, it was slightly more difficult than usual to identify my first and second favorite items from the excellent items in the Kingdom cache.

That said, my favorite item in Kingdom was the exclusive Adventure Time “Nice King & Gunter” figure, a great way for fans to display their love for the Ice King, formerly Simon Petrikov, the most melancholy villain in American animation, and the tragicomic antiprotagonist of some of Adventure Time’s best episodes. This stylish and colorful shelf collectible so impressed me that I have to rate it the best item in Kingdom, despite the fact that I have not yet finished watching Adventure Time, but have read The Lord of the Rings over a dozen times.

However, I did really enjoy Kingdom’s two Lord of the Rings items, one of which was my second favorite item this month, the exclusive The Lord of the Rings color changing glass modeled after The One Ring. When a cold drink fills the glass, its runes, written in J.R.R. Tokien’s Tengwar elvish, turn red. It’s a very cool memento of one of the most memorable scenes in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Rings and Peter Jackson’s cinematic interpretation of it:

Gandalf held it up. It looked to be made of pure and solid gold. ‘Can you see any markings on it?’ he asked.

‘No,’ said Frodo. ‘There are none. It is quite plain, and it never shows a scratch or sign of wear.’

‘Well then, look!’ To Frodo’s astonishment and distress the wizard threw it suddenly into the middle of a glowing corner of the fire. Frodo gave a cry and groped for the tongs; but Gandalf held him back.

‘Wait!’ he said in a commanding voice, giving Frodo a quick look from under his bristling brows.

No apparent change came over the ring. After a while Gandalf got up, closed the shutters outside the window, and drew the curtains. The room became dark and silent, though the clack of Sam’s shears, now nearer to the windows, could still be heard faintly from the garden. For a moment the wizard stood looking at the fire; then he stooped and removed the ring to the hearth with the tongs, and at once picked it up. Frodo gasped.

It is quite cool,’ said Gandalf. ‘Take it!’ Frodo received it on his shrinking palm: it seemed to have become thicker and heavier than ever.

‘Hold it up!’ said Gandalf. ‘And look closely!’

As Frodo did so, he now saw fine lines, finer than the finest pen-strokes, running along the ring, outside and inside: lines of fire that seemed to form the letters of a flowing script. They shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth.

I cannot read the fiery letters,’ said Frodo in a quavering voice.

‘No,’ said Gandalf, ‘but I can. The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. But this in the Common Tongue is what is said, close enough:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

The other Lord of the Rings item is a fantastic 8″ x 10″ art print of a scene from Tolkien’s The Two Towers:  Merry, Pippin, and Treebeard take the battle to Saruman in Isengard, as illustrated by artist Matt Ferguson and designed by Bottleneck Gallery. Perhaps stimulated by interest in the artist fueled by the Kingdom Loot Crate, Matt Ferguson’s prints and sketches are entirely sold out on the Bottleneck Gallery website, but I’ve linked it here so you can bookmark it for future convenience. Based on this print alone, he made my list of fan artists to watch.  Can I just say that it was very cool of Loot Crate to represent two of the books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the Kingdom crate?  

This month’s t-shirt is an exclusive The Legend of Zelda Link 8-bit map tee, which depicts Link as he looked in his 8-bit original appearance, with the additional wrinkle that his pixel blocks are pieces of The Legend of Zelda game map. The all-cotton black shirt is soft and supple but of a thick-enough stock to wear comfortably through winter.

Loot Crate is no longer selling the keys to Kingdom, but you can order Loot Crate’s September crate, Robotic, until September 19th, and will feature the franchises Blade Runner 2049, Aliens, Star Wars, and Star Trek: Mirror Universe.

Loot Crate sent the review copy.

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