Sunday, December 11, 2011

Classic Spock Makes "The Legends Of Spock" A Worthwhile Card Set!

The Good: Some truly wonderful images! Limited quality, Cardstock
The Bad: Cost/Value, Lack of image diversity, Does not capture full history
The Basics: With only nine cards, the "Legends Of Spock" is bound to satisfy casual fans of Spock and Leonard Nimoy and card collectors alike!

Following the release of the first "Legends Of Star Trek" set, the "Legends Of Captain Kirk" (reviewed here!), fans of Star Trek cards and of Spock were excited. After all, from the original Star Trek, there was no character who had appeared in more episodes, films and movies and there were few who had the cultural icon status and/or recognition of Leonard Nimoy as Spock. And while a strange number of people mistakenly call him "Dr. Spock," "Mr. Spock" truly is legendary and Rittenhouse Archives created a decent trading card release with the "Legends Of Spock."

When the "Legends Of Spock" was originally released, the concept was so new and different and exciting that collectors had a lot to look forward to. Here came a card set that was intended to be the greatest hits of the characters of the Star Trek franchise and card collectors and fans began to fantasize about the sixteen character super crew that would be created by this series based on the number of pages in the card binder that came with this first set. But from the moment the set was first released through the next three releases where the original principle was undermined, collectors became more and more wary, even as they thrilled to the generally cool concept. With the "Legends Of Spock," the response was a little better than that of the first set.

Basics/Set Composition

"The Legends Of Star Trek" set is a series of cards produced by Rittenhouse Archives and released on average twice a year over the last five years. The "Legends Of Spock" set is the second in the ever-expanding series that is released in nine card, limited edition increments. There are no bonus cards in this set, they come as complete sets of nine cards sealed in a cellophane package. There are three things that make these sets truly special: cardstock, an individual limited edition number, and the images on the cards. The cardstock is a 20pt. (thicker than usual) cardstock with the standard UV resistant coating that all quality trading cards come with these days. To illustrate the truly limited nature of the "Legends Of Star Trek" cards, every set is strictly limited to 1701 sets and the L9 card (visible at the back of the cellophane pack) is foil stamped with an individual number for the specific "Legends Of" set. So, for example, my personal set is number 0440/1701! This is where it helps to have a dealer that you are loyal to; dealers were able to order all of the same limited edition collector's numbers each time, so every time I get an order in, they are the same limited edition numbers and I - and my customers - are assembling sets with matching numbers, which will presumably hold the value of the overall series better in the long run.

Finally, the "Legends Of Star Trek" series is characterized by wonderful, uncommon images that are not the typical shots that have been on 8x10s, t-shirts and collector's plates before. Instead, these cards capitalize on big rare images, vivid color contrast and cards that are uncluttered by pesky text! These cards are for the fans who know the accomplishments of their heroes! No need to write about them, the images speak for themselves!

Common Cards

The "Legends Of Spock" set is a nine-card "Legends Of Star Trek" set that features eighteen images of Spock and it appears as if all eighteen shots are from the first season of Star Trek! These are all screen captures and present heroic shots of Commander Spock from the five year mission of the Enterprise. It's mostly blue uniforms and tight headshots, but there are recognizable divergences in make-up and uniform with Spock as he appeared in "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before!" The shots are heroic shots of Spock but they are fairly easy for fans to pick the episodes they were from.

At least there are no publicity shots. Instead, these are eighteen hard-to-find shots of Spock doing his thing. He is playing three dimensional chess in one shot, listening to the computer on another, leaning over his console in still another shot. And he's seen looking almost directly at the camera in four of the shots.

The problem is, the image diversity is intriguing, but it could have been better for the fans. With two shots from "The Cage" and four from "Where No Man Has Gone Before," the naive fan or collector might think this was an extensive period in the history of the character. But the true crime here is that there are no shots of Spock from his appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation and none of the films! To truly capture the full legendary quality of Spock, it would have been nice to have some shots of him in his later life when his heroism continued to endure. But even more than that, it would have offered some different color contrasts and potential poses. This is a very blue set!

Moreover, it is a very straightforward and bland set. It is all Spock in his uniform. Where is Spock in "The City On the Edge Of Forever" after he had stolen clothes with Kirk? Spock disguised himself as a gangster in "A Piece Of The Action" and as a Nazi in "Patterns Of Force," but those images are not included here. Fortunately, Spock is pictured holding a communicator and a tricorder in a couple of the shots, and I can live with no shots of him with a phaser. But why not one of the shots (there are a disturbing number, even in the first season) of Spock smiling? And why are all of the images from the first season?

In other words, visually, this is a less exciting set than it could be.


Those who love Leonard Nimoy as Spock will likely enjoy this at least as much as the die hard fans and the card collectors. There are nice heroic shots of Spock looking stoic, two shots clearly from "Devil In The Dark" as he communed with the Horta, the obvious dress uniform shots from "The Menagerie," and a decent shot that appears from the lighting and pose to be from one of the climactic scenes of "The Naked Time." They are good shots.

Overall, though, it's enough to sell a casual fan on picking up this set, if not starting a "Legends Of Star Trek" collection. Those who have other characters they love and decide not to collect the entire "Legends Of Star Trek" series will find that there are fans of Leonard Nimoy and/or Spock who are willing to buy up these sets, if for no other reason than they represent something fairly different to get autographed by Nimoy! One suspects in the future, the "Legends Of Star Trek" sets will be sold in the secondary market almost exclusively as entire series collections, so fans who simply have a favorite character will want to snatch up the releases when they first come out!

For fans of Leonard Nimoy and Spock, despite the limited range of the collection, this is the "Legends" set for you!

For other original Star Trek trading card sets reviewed by me, please check out:
Star Trek - Season 1 Episode Collection trading cards
Star Trek - Season 2 Episode Collection trading cards
Star Trek - Season 3 Episode Collection trading cards
Star Trek In Motion
35th Anniversary HoloFEX Holofoil cards
The Art And Images Of Star Trek
"Quotable" Star Trek
Star Trek 40th Anniversary Season 1
Star Trek 40th Anniversary Season 2
Star Trek (2009 movie) cards


For other card reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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