It should come as a suprise to no one that the Upper Deck Avengers Assemble set has become every much of a hit in the trading card world as its movie counterpart. Being associated with what will soon be the biggest movie of all-time is bound to do wonders for sales, but you had to wonder if that was the case when the product first dropped. Released a full six weeks before the movie actually premiered, Upper Deck had quite the dilemma. People might have wanted to buy the product as soon as possible, but there was still a segment of the population that did not want anything spoiled. This is not a movie studio hoping that Rihanna saying “boom” 20 times will carry a paper-thin movie; people (and fanboys) actually care about the story that Joss Whedon has crafted in The Avengers.
But now that the movie has reached the heights that it has, it is hard to imagine anyone cracking open a box without having seen the movie first. Originally priced around $90 per box, that number has jumped to as much as $140 a pop. The complete set chronicles the story of how the Avengers uh, assembled through the various movies that were released prior to the summer blockbuster. From the first Iron Man movie to Captain America: The First Avenger (distinguished by the logo of the movie on the lower right corner), the cards do a great job of setting up the eventual formation of the super team. And while the second half of the 176-card set is devoted to showing you as much of the actual movie as possible without giving away major events or battles (the number of Samuel L. Jackson/Nick Fury cards where he just stares off into the distance at a nondescript location like a boss is pretty funny), there is still enough there that might upset the most hardcore of fans.
Here are the results of my box break, which turned out to be pretty good (check out the video for our reaction as we were opening packs)…
- 7 cards per pack, 24 packs per box
- 129 base cards (out of 176 total; for a full checklist, check this out)
- 3 duplicates
- 12 Heroes/Villains Evolve Holfoil cards (1:2 packs)
- 2 Concept Series cards (1:10 packs)
- 10 Comic Cover Art cards (1:2.5 packs)
- 1 Sketch Card (1 in every box)
- 1 Single Memorabilia card (1 Single or Dual in every box)
- 1 Quad Memorabilia card (1 Triple/Quad Memorabilia card or Printing Plate per box)
- 1 Autograph card (1:288 packs; 1 Autograph and Ultimate Panel card in every 12-box case)
While we were fortunate enough to pull an autograph card of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), there was plenty of value to be found in the box sans the case hit. Sketch cards have become such a common insert in comic book trading card products – they have become the de facto box hit over the years – but they still carry great appeal because each card is unique with their value being based on the artist and the character featured. In the case of our box, we pulled a sketch card from Rhiannon Owens, whose sketches have historically gone for anywhere between $40 to $80 for popular characters. Sadly, we have no idea who Owens actually drew on our sketch card, looking like a mix of The Wasp, Yellowjacket and a Teletubbie, so that will probably drop the price down to the $40 and below range.
The other hits of the box involve costumes worn by the actors in the movie. The cards are divided into single, dual, triple and quad swatches and while the rule of thumb is that more swatches equate to higher resale value, the biggest factor has been whether or not Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) is on the card. Cards with a piece of Black Widow costume tend to sell for double or even triple what a similar card without her would, and solo cards typically close in the $50-$75 range. We were fortunate to pull a quad memorabilia card with Johansson along with Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), which has sold on eBay for $45 to $55. Our single memorabilia card features Clark Gregg as the ubiquitous Agent Coulson, which trades for anywhere between $10 to $15.
With all of the inserts included in the product, you’re not going to be able to finish the base set with just one box. The very minute number of duplicates helps matters, but it would have been nice if collectors did not have to be forced to buy boxes or trade away cards to finish their set. Sadly, I was able to find several cards in our box that had bent corners and creased fronts. This slight flimsiness hurt the holofoil cards because they become blatantly obvious when a light is shining on them.
With a direct sequel years away, people will have to make do with Upper Deck Avengers Assemble to get their kicks, especially if they’re going through the withdrawal (of awesome) and won’t be able to watch the movie on loop yet on Blu-Ray. I just hope the reason why Black Widow memorbilia cards sell for premium prices is because fans are enamored with Scarlett Johansson’s acting chops and are not looking to put that costume back together piece by piece. Oh, fanboys….
This review is based on a box sent to us by Upper Deck Entertainment.
Follow me on Twitter. As part of my continued service to the community, each day we will feature a different image gallery that highlights some of the finest cards that the industry has to offer. It might be from sports or even comic books or possibly movies or it might be something out of the ordinary and maybe even borderline absurd. But what matters is that people get to know about these cards and get interested in the hobby like I am. We’ll be back soon for another gallery, but check out our other Card of the Day features with Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Blake Griffin.