Friday, January 6, 2012

You Don't Get Much Less Than The Nine-Card "Legends Of" Picard!

The Good: Some truly wonderful images! Limited quality, Cardstock
The Bad: Use of publicity shots, Cost/Value, Lack of image diversity
The Basics: With only nine cards, the "Legends Of Picard" is bound to satisfy casual fans of Captain Picard and Patrick Stewart but disappoint collectors who know of other Legends Of Star Trek releases!

This is a little set of cards! I mean, most card releases have around a hundred cards and about half as many bonus cards, here's a nine-card limited edition set focusing on one character! You don't get much smaller than the set of "Legends Of Captain Jean-Luc Picard" cards!

Basics/Set Composition

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 Picard" set is the sixth 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 Picard" set is a nine-card Legends Of Star Trek set that features eighteen images of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from his first season publicity shot to one of the more dramatic and expressive headshots from Star Trek: Nemesis. It's a lot of bald head and red uniform . . .

. . . and therein lies the problem.

Unlike many of the prior releases of Legends Of Star Trek the "Legends Of Picard" set is dramatically unimaginative. Five of the images on the fronts of the cards are clearly recognizable to fans of the series as being simple publicity shots. To be fair, one of those publicity stills is Picard as Dixon Hill, but it's the typical promo shot used to promote the Peabody-Award winning episode "The Big Goodbye." The backs of these cards have more imaginative images than the fronts!

But undermining the concept of the Legends Of Star Trek series with bland publicity shots of Picard for the "Legends Of Picard" set is the insult before the injury. All of the fronts of the cards have images of Picard looking forward at virtually the same angle, all but two in his uniform. Indeed, outside the "Star Trek: Insurrection" rebel fatigues and the Dixon Hill image all of the cards have Picard in his uniform. This is particularly unimaginative for this set, which has traditionally thrilled to providing rare images for collectors from beloved episodes.

How can you make the "Legends Of Picard" without Picard as Locutus (his Borg alter-ego), Picard as Kamen from "The Inner Light," Picard as a Romulan from his mission to find Spock, or even the casually-dressed Picard who had to go all action hero in "Starship Mine" by himself?! Where is the aged Admiral Picard from "All Good Things. .. ?!" Where is Picard enduring the torture of Gul Macet?! Right there, off the top of my head, without looking over so much as an episode list, I came up with six images that could have easily replaced any of the four bland publicity shots that were used instead and captured Jean-Luc Picard being heroic!

You know what? I began this review figuring this was an average set, a pretty mediocre nine-card set, to be sure, but one I generally liked but looking at it objectively, man am I disappointed! And because of that whole limited edition individually numbered thing, I can't give up on the set here! Rittenhouse Archives must have known that!

The backs of the cards are virtually as unimaginative in terms of uniform and presentation, but at least they do not all have images that have Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard looking right at the camera! Here, on the backs, we get a few side shots and alternative angles, though the set ends with three more shots of Picard from the movies looking right back out at the collector!


But there's just enough to satisfy fans of Patrick Stewart in his seminal role of Jean-Luc Picard. There are wonderful shots of Picard from "Darmok" squinting without his jacket on and at night at the moment he began to understand the alien language. 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 Picard" release will likely find that there were Patrick Stewart fans all too 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, even if the set is uncharacteristically composed of publicity stills!

For fans of Patrick Stewart, this is the "Legends" set for you!

Perfectly average and the "recommend" ultimately is to fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and those who love Patrick Stewart and Jean-Luc Picard. Casual card collectors (i.e. those not assembling a master series of Legends Of Star Trek cards) can safely avoid this set.

This set culls images from:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
most recognizably "Darmok"
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: Nemesis

For other Legends Of Star Trek cards, please be sure to read my reviews of:
Legends Of Captain Kirk
Legends Of Spock
Legends Of Dr. Leonard McCoy
Legends Of Sulu, Scotty And Uhura
Legends Of Chekov, Chapel and Rand


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

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