Justice League Trading Cards
On June 25, Inkworks released a set of Justice League trading cards. The Public Relations office was nice enough to send JLanimated a box of cards to review. I?ve purchased many of Inkworks', Buffy: The Vampire Slayer cards before, and have been impressed by those sets, so I was excited when I heard Inkworks was doing the new Justice League set.
A box of 36 packs
Packing and Distribution
The cards are shipped in boxes of 36 packs. Each pack contains seven cards. Packs retail for $1.99 and buying boxes from a warehouse or eBay will run you around $50 (a savings of about $15-$20). There are 81 normal cards in the base set. Inkworks guarantees that every box includes at least one full set of normal cards. If you buy a box you?ll likely get two full sets of normal cards, but Inkworks only guarantees one. In my box I got two sets plus a few extra cards.
All 81 cards
In addition to the normal cards there are 18 Friend and Foes foil cards. Each pack contains one of these cards. Inkworks doesn?t guarantee anything about completing these sets, but I received exactly two full sets of these inserts. I imagine each box contains two of each of these foils, though your results might differ.
There is a World?s Greatest Heroes foil puzzle that features all the members of the Justice League. There are nine cards that form one single image. The odds of getting one of these cards in a pack are 1:11. I got three of these cards in my box, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League seal. You can also order an uncut press sheet of these cards from Inkworks directly.
Actionworks Cards are found about one in every 17 packs. There are seven cards total, one of each Justice Leaguer. They feature lenticular zoom action and simulate each hero jumping into action. I got two of these cards in my box, Batman and the Flash.
Now we get to the really hard to get cards. There is one autograph card from Justice League producer and designer Bruce Timm. The odds of getting this card are 1:359. Needless to say I didn?t get it. On the other hand there are five different Sketch Cards that are a little easier to get at 1:100 packs. (Approximately 1 in every 3 boxes) Sketch cards contain actual sketches from series animators. Instead of actually getting the sketch card, there is a redemption card that you can send in and Inkworks will send you the sketch card back. The redemption card indicates which artist?s sketch you will receive. I got one of these cards, a sketch from Won-Jae Lee.
Finally there is a Case Loader card, that is simply included if you order a case (10 boxes) of cards. It is another Actionworks card that contains all the Justice Leaguers.
There are also seven promo cards that are not in the shipments of cards. These cards were given away free on Inkworks' website and on Free Comic Book day. There is one card of each leaguer.
Format of the Normal Cards
The normal cards are set up in 9-card subsets. There are nine cards that deal with the origin of the league, nine each for each leaguer, and nine to take care of allies, enemies, and equipment.
Each leaguer has a card that sums up who he or she is, a card that sums up his or her superpowers and one that covers his or her mythology. The other six cards deal with certain moments during the episodes. On the back of the cards is a smaller version of the front photo and text describing the event. There are also little icons on the back indicating what powers the hero is using on the card.
Front and Back
The Origin cards simply sum up the first episode of Justice League, Secret Origins. The six Allies and Enemies cards cover the Justice Guild, the Blackhawks, Sgt. Rock, the Green Lantern Corps, Batman?s parallel universe freedom fighters, and the Injustice Gang. There?s also a card for the Watchtower and the Javelin 7. Finally there?s one card to introduce the set, and a checklist.
Green Lantern Corps
The quality of the art on the cards is fairly high on most of them, but there are a few that aren?t up to par. The black lines on some cards seem jaggy, fortunately this is very much the exception, and most of the cards look great. The descriptions on the back are pretty good. Overall the graphic design of the cards is appropriate for the material.
It?s about what I would expect from a base set. Something that made the set extra special is that there are a number of cards from episodes that haven?t aired yet, making them a great sneak preview. More on this later. There are a few things that could have been improved. For example, some episodes seem to be covered way too much, and others not so much. You wouldn?t even know Aquaman had been a character on the league, and given then number of cards focusing on the Injustice Gang and Savage Time, you?d think that Luthor and Vandal Savage were the main characters. Still at least they focus on the good episodes, which could be considered a strength rather than a weakness. Also the Origin cards should have been replaced by cards detailing all the episodes, instead of just focusing on one. The Allies and Enemies cards seem tacked on and too small. (Five allies and one enemy?) It feels as if the set is about nine cards too small. Another nice touch would have been to put different pictures on the backs of the cards than the fronts.
Still these negatives aren?t anything serious. The vibrant colors and excellent quality of the cards more than make up for me being nitpicky. You could probably pick up a set of these cards on eBay for around $10-$20 and I?d recommend these cards to any fan.
Friends and Foes
The scans of the foil Friends and Foes cards don?t do them any justice. They really are nicest looking cards in the entire set, and thankfully they?re not too hard to get. There are 18 cards, 9 heroes and 9 Villains. Once again there are a whopping five cards devoted to the Injustice Gang here, and two devoted to villains we haven?t even seen yet. But these guys look really nice. The backgrounds are foiled, but the character in the foreground hasn?t been touched, making them really stand out. There are some nice touches like Green Lantern?s and Darkseid?s shiny eyes.
Batman and Star Sapphire Foil Cards
Simply put, after opening a few packs, I was always looking at the foil card first and ignoring the rest. Since this set is fairly common you owe it to yourself to pick up these cards along with the base set. You won?t be disappointed.
World?s Greatest Heroes
These cards are sort of disappointing, not because they don?t look good, but they don?t look as nice as the Friends and Foes cards. All the art is reused and is simply the heroes slapped onto a crazy hologram background. They?re a lot rarer than the Friends and Foes cards, but in my opinion don?t look nicer. Sure putting all nine cards together would be pretty cool, but it?ll take about 3 boxes to get them all.
Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Superhero Insert
Regardless, they do look good and you?ll be happy when you get them. Saying that they look worse than the Friends and Foes cards is really a testament to how great the F&F foils look, not a dig against the WGH foils. I guess it?s better they made the F&F cards more common.
These cards are simply cool. Obviously, you have to see one of these in ?motion? to see their true beauty but once you do, they move smoothly and each one has about nine ?frames.? A minor complaint is that they merely zoom in on the Hero. It?d be much cooler if Batman was throwing a batarang, or Green Lantern was shooting his ring. Still I must have played with my Batman card for a full minute before moving on, so there's definitely something fun about these cards.
Go Flash Go!
I can?t really say anything about the Sketch and Autograph cards, but I?ll let you know when I get the Sketch card in the mail.
wow 1 out of 100
Overall, the set is excellent. The negatives that I described really aren?t serious and are just me being nitpicky, and shouldn?t hold you back from buying these cards. It?d be like complaining your favorite team won the Superbowl by seven points instead of fifty.
Personally, I think this was the best part of the set. I was shocked to look at a few cards and say ?I don?t remember that happening?? and then I realized it hadn?t happened yet. The Darkseid and Brainiac cards are an excellent touch as they give us a way to get two major villains from the second season. One thing I hate about trading cards is a lot of time they just reuse a lot of art. However, if you just have all new art then you can?t really call it a trading card set for the show. Adding these ?preview? images is a great way of coming to a happy medium between the two. Nothing beat the feeling of cracking open a pack and seeing Superman vs Darkseid, or Darkseid?s foily eyes staring back at me. Also mentioned in the set are Dr. Destiny, Amazo and Volcana.
...wow I can't wait for these episodes
Getting a F&F card in every pack, already makes it worth $2. Getting a box and getting all the extra insert cards at a cheaper bulk cost, really make this set a worthwhile purchase. For those parents out there, consider ordering a box for your children and giving them a pack or two over a period of time.
Since I posted the review I managed to scan a picture of the sketch card I recieved, and take a picture of nine sketch cards I saw at San Diego Comic-Con.
Also I talked to an Inkworks! representative, who told me that the cards were selling well, and that a new card set is due out next year. First they'll put out a set based on the comic Justice League before putting out another animated set that should be at least 90 cards!
Once again, many thanks to Inkworks for providing the cards for the review.
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