Friday, January 27, 2012

Highly Anticipated, "The Legends Of Worf" Ends Up More Mediocre Than Expected!

The Good: Some decent images, Limited quality, Cardstock
The Bad: Use of even two publicity shots, Cost/Value, Lack of image diversity, Order
The Basics: With nine cards, the "Legends Of Worf"is bound to satisfy most fans of Michael Dorn and Worf if only for the fact that it doesn't rely on many publicity shots!

Little bit of Star Trek franchise trivia: Which character has appeared in the most hours in the Star Trek franchise? It's Worf! As the only full castmember to serve in one and a half Star Trek series', Worf, played by Michael Dorn, is the character who has the greatest longevity of any character in the franchise. After all seven years of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf appeared for the latter four seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as all four Star Trek: The Next Generation feature films.

So, if ever there was a nine-card "Legends Of Star Trek" set worth anticipating, it would be the "Legends Of Lt. Commander Worf." With so much potential material to pull from, it seems like it would be hard to create a set of cards with Worf as the subject that did not manage to utilize the full spectrum of his character's range. And yet . . . Rittenhouse Archives produces a decent set, but not the extraordinary set, we might have wanted.

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 Lt. Commander Worf" set is the eleventh 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 (usually) 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 Worf" set is a nine-card "Legends Of Star Trek" set that features eighteen images of Worf, Son Of Mogh from his second season publicity shot to his publicity shot from Star Trek: Nemesis. And wow, does this fail to capitalize on the full range of Worf and his career. To be fair to Rittenhouse, who produced the set, Worf appears the least frequently of any character in an alternate persona or disguise. Indeed, it is only in the seventh season episode "Homeward" that Worf appears disguised (though in two Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes, he appears disguised as a Klingon, which kind of defeats the purpose because he's a Klingon already). Outside that, Worf is seen only in alternate uniforms. The "Legends Of Worf" set captures that, for the most part.

But even the one time Worf did disguise himself is absent from the "Legends Of Worf" set. That is a bit of a letdown. So, too, is the absence of any shots from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The "Legends Of Worf" set is unimaginative in a way that uses very few publicity shots. Only two of the images on the fronts of the cards are clearly recognizable to fans of the series as being simple publicity shots: the second season publicity shot which introduced Worf's new headsize and yellow uniform (and the bandoleer that matched it and remained unchanged the rest of his tenure in the franchise) and the Star Trek: Nemesis publicity shot. While the trained fan is likely to recognize the front of L5 of Worf from "Q-Pid" as the publicity shot from that episode, the rest of the images are more likely quality images captured from the negatives. Eleven of the eighteen shots have Worf in various StarFleet uniforms he wore, two have him in Klingon regalia, there are four images from holodeck/Q scenarios (Worf as a Merry Man, Sheriff, Duchamps, and his promotion ceremony), and the last one is a shot of him in his renegade outfit from Star Trek: Insurrection. So, it's a lot of uniforms and frankly, some of them are rather odd for the choices made.

So, for example, the back of L7 has Worf in his dress uniform (likely from "Rules Of Engagement"). That shot, however, only shows the shoulders up, eliminating much of the view of Worf and the effect of him in his dress uniform. Why didn't Rittenhouse use the full body shot from "Rejoined?" It's a great - and quite uncommon - image. The "Legends Of Star Trek" sets capitalized on the odd images and this set is depressingly lacking in that.

In addition to not having any shots of Worf from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation with his red uniform and different head ridge, there image choices are somewhat stifling in their lack of true diversity. Where is the undercover outfit from "Chain Of Command, Part I?" Why not a shot of Worf in his Klingon armor from "The Emissary?" Or with his hair down from "Rightful Heir?" Iconic shots like Worf with a bat'leth or in the command chair of the Defiant are absent. And where is Worf in his wedding outfit?! To be fair, there is a shot of Worf with a Mek'leth. But it's not Worf in his Environmental Suit in Star Trek: First Contact using it. The point here is that for almost every image, the fans are left thinking "there could be a more interesting version of this shot."

The exceptions to that come in the shot of Worf as the Governor of H'Toria from "All Good Things. . ." As well, the shots of Worf as Duchamps and being promoted in Star Trek: Generations all look great.

The concept of the "Legends Of Star Trek" series was to present a visual history of an individual character and with Worf's early appearances being neglected for more shots from middle Star Trek: The Next Generation and mid-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,
undermines the concept. And, come to think of it, why isn't Worf in his Tai Chi outfit one of these shots?

Strangely, the cards follow no logical order, though the earliest shot is from the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the second shot is from his first appearance in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Outside that, the last three are all shots from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and they are preceded by images from the movies and the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation! In short, there is a somewhat haphazard quality to the assembly of this "Legends Of Star Trek" set. At least there weren't too many publicity shots!


There's just enough to satisfy fans of Michael Dorn in his recognizable role of Lt. Commander Worf. Fans of the series will appreciate that and given the rarity of these cards, any collectors that give up on the "Legends Of Star Trek" set with the "Legends Of Worf" release will likely find that there were plenty of Michael Dorn fans ready to snatch up the remaining sets.

The nine-card sets tend to sell for $17 - $20 but the cardstock quality - which truly is a professional grade - and the limited edition nature of the set makes it worth it. 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 Michael Dorn, even those who might want a little more, this is the "Legends" set for you!

This set culls images from Star Trek: The Next Generation, most recognizably "Q-Pid"
"A Fistful Of Datas"
"All Good Things"
Star Trek: Generations
Star Trek: Nemesis
And Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, most recognizably "Our Man Bashir"

For other Legends Of Star Trek cards from Star Trek: The Next Generation, please be sure to read my reviews of:
Legends Of Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Legends Of Data
Legends Of Riker


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my Card Index Page for an organized listing of all of the reviews!

© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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