Monday, March 11, 2013

Rising To The Challenge, I Review The Enterprise Season One Promotional Card!

The Good: Good image, Informative, Inexpensive enough, Necessary for collectors
The Bad: Underwhelming and somewhat deceptive
The Basics: A mediocre promotional card, the Enterprise Season One P1 card more or less prepares consumers for the Season One trading card set.

Every now and then, I find myself poking around the house and I find an absurd little item for review that makes me wonder if I actually have what it takes to write a thorough review. Usually these are items that have little to them, like a single trading card or a cord. In this case, I went with the Enterprise Season One Promotional card. The thing is, the promotional card is a single card and there is very little to it.

Back when Enterprise was Enterprise (not Star Trek: Enterprise, as the producers hoped to distance themselves from the base audience of Trekkers and get a new audience interested in Star Trek, feeling apparently that the name association would hold back their rebranding) Rittenhouse Archives leapt on the license for creating Enterprise trading cards. To prepare consumers, they released a nine-card preview set which was exceptionally popular with fans and gave card collectors exactly what they tend to like: large images of each character from the show. Unfortunately for collectors and those interested in Enterprise, Rittenhouse Archives went in a different creative direction with the Enterprise Season One trading card set.

To prepare collectors for the release of the Enterprise Season One trading cards, Rittenhouse Archives produced a promotional card. Promotional cards are designed to give collectors a tease of the new set and generate enthusiasm for said set. Rittenhouse Archives gave away thousands of Enterprise Season One P1 promotional cards to collectors (who simply asked for one and sent a self addressed, stamped envelope) and to dealers to freely distribute to potential customers.

Numbered P1 (on the back) the Enterprise Season One promotional card prepares fans for the style of the common card set for the Enterprise Season One trading cards. As such, this is a standard trading card size and there is no gimmick to it. It has the Rittenhouse Archives standard UV protective coating to prevent fading and after almost a decade, mine shows no wear (though mine is nicely protected in a binder's poly pages!).

The front of the trading card features Captain Jonathan Archer in the command chair of the NX-01 Enterprise. As well, there are two smaller images on the right side of the card's face. One of them is the standard season one cast shot from Enterprise and another is a screencapture of characters in action. The bottom features a blue bar and the words Enterprise Season One Trading Cards. This is the format of the common cards and it accurately predicts how the set would look.

Unfortunately, the Enterprise Season One set - as illustrated by this promotional card - became a huge letdown for many fans and collectors as Rittenhouse Archives was obsessed at the time with packing more visual information onto their card fronts than most fans wanted. So, while collectors get three images, two of them are so small as to be almost impossible to see. A lot of fans like getting trading cards autographed by celebrities at the Star Trek conventions and the P1 card, despite having the entire cast on the card, cannot be used for that. The image of the entire cast is only about a half inch by a half inch! No individual character outside Captain Archer is well represented on this card.

As for that, the image of Archer - the dominant image on the P1 promotional card - is a good one. Despite having a fairly dark source (the lighting on the bridge in the picture this image is from is not great), Rittenhouse Archives managed to create a clear, distinct image of Captain Archer that makes a surprisingly decent contrast between the blacks, grays and navy blues the color scheme is dominated with. The detailing on the consoles in the background and Rittenhouse appears to be using superior image transfer methods to keep the image clear and vivid. This makes for a good trading card, even if the overall image is a little jumbled.

The back of the card simply announces the Enterprise Season One trading card set, illustrating that it will be a set that includes two autograph cards per box, and indicating a release date for the product. While the back promises to capture the excitement of Enterprise, it is pretty vague on the set details other than knowing the common set will be 81 cards and focus on all of the season one episodes.

In the end, despite being a single card and having a generally disappointing format, the Enterprise Season One P1 card does exactly what a promotional card ought to do. It prepares the consumer for the actual full trading card. Rittenhouse Archives gave a slew of these away and it is not very collectible at all. As a result, those looking to purchase one of these ought to avoid overpaying. Many dealers throw promotional cards in for free (usually with a purchase) and this card only has a guide value of $2.00. Be sure not to pay more than that; it's one card and it is not truly worth more!

For other reviews of single cards, please check out my reviews of:
Diamond Select Worf Costume Card
Twilight P3 Ashley Greene Alice Cullen Pieceworks Card
The Twilight Zone P1 Promotional Card

This card features images exclusively from Enterprise Season 1, reviewed here!


For other trading card reviews, please check out my Trading Card Review Index Page for an organized listing.

© 2013, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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