Friday, December 9, 2011

Rittenhouse Archives Marvel Universe 2011 Trading Cards Review

Marvel Comics has a long tradition of crossing the worlds of their various heroes to create exciting storylines.  Mixing the Hulk, X-Men, Captain America, Spider-man, and others provides stories that are more complex than can be written with just one set of characters in their individual world.  Out of combining these worlds, a universe of Marvel characters is born, and it is captured perfectly by Rittenhouse Archives in their release Marvel Universe 2011 Trading Cards.

This set falls under our classification of trading cards.  Hobby Boxes contain 24 – 5 card packs and feature 1 hand-drawn colored sketch card per box.  There are only 8000 numbered boxes available.  Currently they are sold out on the Rittenhouse Archives site but boxes can be found online and at some local card and comics shops.  What is still available at the Ritenhouse Archives online store is the 90 card base set only.  No packaging on this one, so you will literally just be sent the 90 cards, but it is a great alternative if you can’t find the boxes. 

Here is a look at some of the cards.

Base Cards
 Base card #1, front and back

The first 9 base cards from The Kovac Saga, published in 1978, fit together to form this larger picture.

They work really well in a 9 card, 3 ring binder.
Base cards 46 - 54, Civil War, published in 2006 - front

Same cards from the back, each with a comic cover and story synopsis.

Insert Cards

Base Card Parallels
 Clear Acetate cards parallel the base cards like this one based on card #56

 This is card #56 from the base set, World War Hulk, published in 2007, for comparison purposes.

 Here is the complete 9 parallel card set put together.

 Add a sheet of white paper behind it and all the details appear.

Here is the same 9 card set using the base cards.  The details are much richer on the parallel cards.

Ultimate Heroes
 Cyclops, card #4, front and back

 Storm, card #3 and Angel, card #7

Marvel Originals
 Marvel Universe, Card #1, front and back

 Spider Man vs Venom, card #3 and Iron Man, card #5

Artist Draft
 Civil War, card #2, front and back

 Secret Invasion, card #8 and Fear Itself, card #5

Overall Look
Well... it is Marvel Comics to begin with so the artwork speaks for itself, but Rittenhouse Archives could have been lazy and just pushed these out the door.  This is not the case but we’ve come to expect that from Riitenhouse.  The ten storylines in this set are smartly spread over 9 cards to make for a perfect binder page for display.  The layout and design of the backs of the cards are as impressive as the fronts, Pictures of the comics’ covers just big enough to be seen clearly with plenty of room left for a smartly written story synopsis.  And that’s just the base set.  Add acetate parallels, explosive foil character inserts, a variety of great artwork inserts and you’ve got an impressive set of cards that adds design elements that compliment and enhance the Marvel images.

Quality and Variety of checklist.
The 10 chosen storylines are well selected.  There are enough of the stars of the Marvel Universe here to satisfy everyone.

Do the hits hold up?
The real hits are the sketch cards referred to as SketchaFEX. With over 130 artists involved, there is a wide variety of these tiny works of art that you can wind up pulling out of packs.  And they are truly works of art as each artist was free to use whatever media they wanted, oils, watercolors acrylics, etc., without standard guidelines or limitations so each color sketch card pulled is an individual expression of the person that created it. Even the backs of the cards, which could have been left blank, come printed with the full compliment of Marvel characters.  These hits not only hold up, they exceed your normal type of relic or autograph hit.

Will you want to collect them all? 
You’ll want a complete base set and a complete parallel/insert set too. Add to this the available hot boxes with multi-card sketch puzzles and case incentive dual character sketch cards and three stage progression sketch cards and it is fair to say Marvel fans will only be limited by their budgets when it comes to deciding how many boxes to buy.

5 out of 5

Rittenhouse Archives Marvel Universe 2011 Trading Cards are a must buy for fans of all things Marvel.

1 comment:

  1. I've never collected comic based trading cards but this set could get me to buy some. It looks like a fun set. The acetate parallel cards look cool.