Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Star Trek: Voyager Profiles Might Well Be The Best Trading Card Set Ever Produced For Star Trek: Voyager!

The Good: Great images, Decent autographs, No redemption cards, Interesting chase sets, Captain's card
The Bad: Contest card rarity
The Basics: Despite taking a whole ton of boxes to complete, the Star Trek: Voyager Profiles set remains the best trading card set for that series.

Star Trek: Voyager, in my rating system, never quite hit a perfect episode. Sure, they came close in the second season with the episode "Resolutions" (reviewed here!), but they never quite hit the mark for perfection. Perhaps the saddest thing about the collectibles associated with Star Trek: Voyager was that the moment Seven Of Nine was added to the cast, virtually all of the collectibles associated with the show tried to capitalize on her. Yes, it wasn't only the series that sold out to the Baywatch audience, it was the manufacturers of Star Trek swag that followed suit.

To wit, the manufacturers of Star Trek trading cards at the time, SkyBox, had been pleasing fans with Episode Collection sets for Star Trek: Voyager. Shortly after Seven Of Nine came on, they abandoned the planned installment of Star Trek: Voyager - Season Three trading cards in favor of Star Trek: Voyager Profiles. Star Trek: Voyager Profiles, as they are commonly known, was a set of trading cards that focused on the characters of Star Trek: Voyager, as opposed to the episodes. And this allowed Seven Of Nine to be included in the set. More than that, SkyBox made her the focus of the set, including an entire nine-card chase set devoted to her development in the fourth season. And just as there was a near-miss with perfection for the series Star Trek: Voyager, the Star Trek: Voyager Profiles cards graze perfection for a set of trading cards.

Basics/Set Composition

Properly assembled, the Star Trek: Voyager Profiles set of trading cards includes 149 cards, all but one (technically, two) that can be found in the boxes of Star Trek: Voyager Profiles trading cards. Considering that SkyBox was notorious for releasing sets of trading cards incomplete, with redemption cards, that the Star Trek: Voyager Profiles set is so close to perfect is actually quite an accomplishment!

The Star Trek: Voyager Profiles set is comprised of a 90 card common set and fifty nine chase cards, which include autographs, a promotional card, and a near-impossible to find contest card. The set includes a pretty wide array of images from the first through fourth seasons of the popular science fiction show. Wherever possible, the images include Seven Of Nine, an annoying conceit, but at least the set is pretty obvious about what it is doing. This is a little annoying, though because the set is supposed to be focused on the characters of Star Trek: Voyager and instead it reads as something of a "how the characters on the U.S.S. Voyager relate to Seven Of Nine" set!

The Star Trek: Voyager Profiles trading cards were originally released in packs of nine cards with thirty-six packs per box. They remain one of the hardest to find unopened boxes because of the popularity of the subject. As well, there was a binder released by SkyBox to hold the complete set.

Common Cards

The Star Trek: Voyager Profiles common card set is comprised of ninety cards. The cards are broken down in groups of nine to highlight the various characters, with Janeway, Chakotay, Tom Paris, Tuvok, Torres, Harry Kim, Seven Of Nine, The Doctor, and Neelix each being given nine cards. Kes is granted a page of eight cards, with the final card in the set being a checklist. This is obvious pandering to Seven Of Nine as - when this set was produced - Kes had logged well over three times the number of hours on the ship and show than the character of Seven of Nine. Sure, one card does not seem like much to lose, but given that there is a whole chase set devoted to Seven of Nine as well . . .

Each of the nine card sets are organized the same way, with the first of the nine cards being a Crew Manifest card, simply describing the character in the most vague and basic terms. The second card in each character's set is the Captain's Log card, written as if Captain Janeway were describing the officer and her relationship with them. There is also a quote from the captain about the character on the second of the nine cards. The next three cards are written as if they were Personal Logs about episodes that focused on the character. So, for example, in the Neelix set, cards are written as if Neelix was describing his character growth in the episodes "Elogium," "Fair Trade," and "Mortal Coil." The three cards that follow that are Reflections, written as if other characters were describing the primary character, which allows the set to focus on relationships that have developed on Voyager. For example, in the B'Elanna Torres section of the set, there are three cards wherein The Doctor, Assistant Engineer Vorik, and Tom Paris describe their relationship with Torres. The final card of each character's page is an Alien Encounters card, describing the character's unique interaction with life forms that Voyager has run into. So, for example, Harry Kim's page ends with a description of Kim's relationship to the Hirogen after they took over the U.S.S. Voyager!

The common card set is fairly well-conceived and executed. All of the cards are oriented the same way, in this case landscape orientation. They are written well and there was enough attention to detail to note such things as Janeway getting an Admiral's Log from one of her superiors, as opposed to her writing about herself, which is reasonably clever. There is enough in the common set to amuse fans of Star Trek: Voyager and remind them of the best aspects of their favorite characters.

Chase Cards

After the common set, there are fifty-nine bonus cards, all but two (I'm saying) are found in the packs of trading cards. The first nine are part of a subset of gaming cards. When Star Trek: Voyager Profiles was originally released, there was as contest to help collectors win a complete set of the autograph cards from the set. Fans had to spell out Star Trek: Voyager with cards that featured individual letters on them and a picture of a cast member. These are wonderful cards to get autographed because they feature the main cast members and a cast shot. Because they were one game card per pack, this set is readily available, easy to assemble and often included in the common card set by dealers who assemble the set for collectors.

The next level of chase cards (chase, bonus and insert cards all being the same thing - additional cards with alternate numbering that are in addition to the common cards which usually have some gimmick to them) is the Michael Westmore Make-up set. This is a fairly bland set of cards that features pictures of Michael Westmore's make-up lab and various bits of prosthetics around his office. The highlight of these are the last three cards in the set which illustrate Westmore applying the Neelix make-up to Ethan Phillips. These are mildly interesting for those into the behind-the-scenes aspects of Star Trek: Voyager. There was approximately one MW card in every four packs, making it possible to get a complete set of nine out of a single box. These cards are in portrait orientation, making the collector turn their binder to look at them after seeing all of the common cards.

The second tier of the duller chase cards is the Alien Technology cards and those who got the sell sheet for the set were likely to be disappointed by the change in orientation and photograph quality. These cards feature nine different starships encountered by the U.S.S. Voyager on the front and a small picture of the alien that inhabits them on the back. The cards describe the alien ship and the culture of the alien race and they are interesting enough. All that makes these a chase card is the foil lettering on the front and the fact that they were only found in every six packs, meaning it took at least two boxes to complete this rather dull chase set.

But then we get into the better chase and here is where it might seem weird considering my general disdain for Seven Of Nine. The next chase set is a set focusing on Seven Of Nine. These are portrait-oriented, foil enhanced embossed cards featuring various images of Seven Of Nine. They are written describing Seven's Physical development, Emotional development and the assignments she is given on Voyager. Who cares about the writing, though?! Yes, these are images of a big-breasted woman in a catsuit and the set pretty much capitalizes on that, save three of the cards, which have Seven in her still-assimilated form. These cards were approximately one in every nine packs, but it took more than three boxes to complete the Seven Of Nine set. The reason for this is that card Seven Of Nine has an entirely different look, style and rarity. Approximately one in every five boxes, card 7 of 9 in the Seven Of Nine chase set was an unembossed foil card featuring a shot of Seven in her blue uniform. This is a collector's dream and nightmare; it doesn't look like it fits the set, it raises the price on the complete set and it is much harder to find. Apparently, SkyBox's philosophy was "who cares; fanboys will chase it - it's a woman! With BOOBS!" Sadly, like the producers of Star Trek: Voyager when they brought Seven Of Nine on, they were proven right. The fans did eat this card up and it is one of the harder ones to find on the secondary market.

Then there are the twenty autograph cards and these are the real treat of the Star Trek: Voyager Profiles set. The entire main cast of Star Trek: Voyager signed autograph cards for this set, including Jennifer Lein as Kes! As well, popular guest stars like George Takei, John Rhys-Davies, and John De Lancie all signed. Ironically, the only autograph that has not held any value is the ridiculously overproduced, oversigned A17 of Michael McKean as the Clown. Given that there was only one autograph per box, the autographs from this set remain some of the most highly coveted. They are all portrait orientation, full bleed, meaning there is a large picture that the celebrity signed over, giving the best possible picture and autograph space. As well, SkyBox embossed each one after signing with its seal, giving them one of the industry's most recognizable seals of authenticity.

The grail of the Star Trek: Voyager Profiles set - outside, I suppose, the Jeri Ryan autograph card - is the Captain's Card. One per case, there is a black plastic card featuring Captain Janeway silk-screened on it. This was the first of four Captain's Cards and it was strictly limited to 1200 hand numbered cards. These are beautiful, though less careful collectors will find they chip easily.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

There were two non-box chase cards and this is where the set falls from grace. There was a promotional card and that was fine. It is a shot of the complete cast and it is relatively easy to find in the secondary market.

The problem goes back to the game set that SkyBox produced to give out a set of the autograph cards. In order to regulate the game, they made one card exceptionally limited. The "Y" card featured Seven Of Nine (no surprise there) and only fifty of the card were released. Because these cards were released in the packs and there were only fifty of them, they are virtually impossible to find. The thing is, when they were redeemed as part of the contest, those lucky enough to pull one of the "Y" cards were issued a "Voided Y Card." The thing is, there are far more than fifty of the "Voided Y" cards in existence and for a limited time, SkyBox distributed them freely to help collectors finish their sets. Sadly, most fans did not know this and they ended up in the hands of a very small number of dealers, who continue to charge an arm and a leg for them. This card still runs at least $50 (when one can find it) and it has no real value outside allowing a true collector to finish their set. Unfortunately, since SkyBox no longer holds the license, anyone who pulls one of the last fifty "Y" cards will be unable to redeem it for an autograph set. This kind of gimmick is very frustrating to collectors and fans and it is enough to cost the set a point in my book.


Besides that, though, this is truly great set and Star Trek: Voyager never looked as good on trading cards as it does in this set. Indeed, it is a far cry better than SkyBox's final attempt to capitalize on the series. Despite the issues with the gaming subset, this is THE Star Trek: Voyager trading card set to collect.

This set culls images from:
Star Trek: Voyager - Season One
Star Trek: Voyager - Season Two
Star Trek: Voyager - Season Three
Star Trek: Voyager - Season Four

For other Star Trek: Voyager trading card sets, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Season 1 Series 1
Season 1 Series 2
Season 2
Women Of Star Trek: Voyager HoloFEX

This is a set of trading cards I proudly sell through my online store! Visit my current inventory by clicking here!


For other trading card reviews, be sure to visit my Trading Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!

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

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