It seems my fears of the LEGO Explorer magazine meeting its demise were unwarranted and the publication continues, after all. By official count this is the January 2023 issue already, and in a way one can actually see that a few things have been changed and tweaked ever so slightly. It feels notably different.
This edition is about natural disasters and the rescue efforts around them, so once more the info/ editorial pages cover the subject very generically and super broadly, barely leaving any room for either of them to be fleshed out. That remains my biggest sticking point with this mag. Any of the topics on offer would be enough for its own issue.
For the comic they picked a volcano eruption as the centerpiece for the action. Given what the subject would allow it’s rather tame, though, and not very spectacular.
The poster deals with one of the most notorious man-made catastrophes, the sinking of the Titanic. Isn’t it convenient that LEGO has a big, super expensive set of the ship and they just needed to photograph it? In fairness, though, it is a fascinating subject. I vividly remember an illustration of the stern of the ship rearing up in the front of the iceberg at night with all the lights on from one of those “kids science/ history” books being my favorite and me re-reading the details (as they were known then long before the actual wreck was re-discovered and James Cameron made the movie).
The extra is a small fire patrol vehicle and that kind of is the disappointing part. It’s a marked step down from the models we got before and just feels super lame and cheap. Worse yet, unlike it’s brethren from the LEGO City magazines it doesn’t even come with a minifigure, which makes the value proposition even worse. It’s really quite ridiculous and really unbecoming of this mag.
With all that said, this is an issue you can skip without feeling bad about it. There’s so little of note here… In fact I can’t help the impression that this is the result of them not having made up their mind soon enough and then scrambled at the last minute when the publisher decided to continue instead of shutting the mag down. It’s certainly not at the level of quality we’re used to (within reason).