Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fewer Publicity Shots, Still A Lot That's Overdone: "The Legends Of Archer"

The Good: Quality, Limited edition nature, Fewer publicity shots
The Bad: Most (if not all) have appeared in prior Rittenhouse releases
The Basics: A disappointing set swimming in mediocrity, the "Legends Of Jonathan Archer" set has all been done before.

The nice thing about most trading cards is that they feature images that are not the typical ones seen over and over again on 8x10s (all of which - legally - are produced through a single licensee). So, it is especially disappointing when a trading card set fails to be even remotely creative and includes images that either are the typical promotional shots or shots already used in earlier trading card releases. In the case of Rittenhouse Archives "Legends Of Captain Jonathan Archer" set, the company makes some unfortunate choices. While the set is not bogged down excessively with publicity photos, the set uses a lot of images that the company already used. Most recognizably and problematically, card L8 looks almost identical to two bonus cards from Rittenhouse Archives's Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four set (reviewed here!).

The first 2009 release in "The Legends Of Star Trek" focused on the captains of the Star Trek franchise and "The Legends Of Archer" set was released alongside sets for Sisko and Janeway. Made of some publicity photos used to promote Star Trek: Enterprise, the "Legends Of Archer" set is a big letdown because the shots that aren't publicity photos are big images Rittenhouse has already put on trading cards.

Basics/Set Composition

"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 usually 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! Unfortunately, several of the more recent sets seem to mortgage that concept as Rittenhouse Archives pushes out a product that is more mediocre than original. "The Legends Of Archer" definitely falls into that category.

Common Cards

The "Legends Of Archer" set is a nine-card "Legends of Star Trek" set that features eighteen images of Jonathan Archer from his first season publicity shots (uniform and environmental suit) to the final publicity photos of Jonathan Archer from the fourth season of the series. Rittenhouse Archives presents Archer almost exclusively in his uniform in shots that have Archer looking directly at the camera (or card collector). Visually, this is a remarkably uninteresting set as ten of the images have Archer in his blue jumpsuit uniform. In addition, there are two "Mirror Universe" shots of Archer, two barechested and the remaining four images have Archer in the environmental suit, in a jacket, casual outfit (with his dog!) and in a disguise from his experience on Earth in the past. The more I look at this set, the more disappointed I am because the shots all look so static and dull, like posed for drama, as opposed to having Archer in action.

The "Legends Of Archer" set uses more publicity images and images that have been done on other trading cards many times before. Four of the images on the fronts of the cards are clearly recognizable to fans of the series as being simple publicity shots. The backs of these cards use similarly unimaginative shots as well, with three being publicity shots, but the remainder of them having been clearly done by Rittenhouse Archives on other sets! The result is a collection of Archer shots, primarily headshots that have Archer looking more like a celebrity than a starship captain.


Only the die-hard fans of Jonathan Archer or Captain Jonathan Archer are going to want this set and one suspects that they will buy them up given how limited the sets are. But for those not making a master set of "Legends Of Star Trek" cards, this is an easy set to pass by. Other than getting signed at conventions, this is a pretty unworthy set for the character. Then again, I remember Archer being pretty dull . . . maybe this set gets it exactly right.

This set culls images from Star Trek: Enterprise, reviewed here, most recognizably "In A Mirror, Darkly," which is reviewed here!

For more reviews of "Legends Of Star Trek" cards featuring characters from Star Trek: Enterprise or captains, please check out my reviews of:
The Legends Of T'Pol
The Legends Of Kathryn Janeway
The Legends Of Benjamin Sisko
The Legends Of Jean-Luc Picard
The Legends Of Captain Kirk


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

© 2014, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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