I think I’m addicted to Marvel Snap, and that’s okay. The game is fun, easy to pick up, has some sweet little touches with the card animations, and allows me to adapt my comic book knowledge to friends who aren’t as deep as me – but I almost didn’t. didn’t give this game a chance. I’m not normally into mobile games and like to avoid anything that’s easy to spend money on – yet I got married anyway – but the inspiration came from a weird place this time . After receiving a copy of The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series and flipping through it, a wave of nostalgia hit me. Suddenly I was like a kid again, flipping through the binders of my favorite heroes and villains and reading all about them. I needed more to keep this rush going – so Marvel Snap was my best bet – but the book is what reignited that fire for sure.
The 1990s may have been a rocky decade for the comics industry as a whole, but those early years were a boom for the popularity of the X-Men with a cartoon, toys, and trading cards. collectible elegant. Marvel’s Mutants never looked so good before artist Jim Lee grabbed it, and now he’s made the whole 105-card set (99 standards, 5 holograms, and 1 checklist). Some of Lee’s original character sketches are also added here, which are excellent and will be seen for the first time by many readers. The book also comes with three cool bonus cards on the back, but I’m tired of opening them…for now, at least.
The presentation here is top notch. The cover has a fantastic image of Magneto on the front and some images for the cards on the back as examples, but take it off, and the back cover is a full poster with a big chunk of the roster which is, just awesome. The actual hardcover has a spectacular image of Wolverine, who is noted as appearing in several cards since he was the most popular character at the time.
I like that the book is smaller with a summary style because it suits the topic and makes the pages easy to flip through. There are two introductory writings here, from Ed Piskor (X-Men Grand Design) and editor Bob Budiansky, as well as notes from several contributors who helped make these maps a reality.
These insights into card production and the choices made at that time are as informative as they are entertaining. I was extremely amused by the one about how Gambit smokes on the back of his card and fans would never see that in the comics today, or how vague they had to be with some of the character descriptions which, at that time, had barely been on the books for a few months. There’s a nice element to reading the info here and knowing how much these characters have changed, seeing who has remained popular in the fandom and who hasn’t, plus several notes on what they would have done differently with this knowledge.
This book gives the impression that the editors wanted to handle the revision of this collection carefully – or as much as they could, at least. Each card has its own page, centered on a white background in the same way one might see this artwork if it were on a museum wall. The back of the card is on the next page, with bios, X-tra facts, and a fun graphic that shows character stats rather than just boringly listing them. It looks like an item that’s more likely to exist in the X-Men universe. My favorite part might be the profile pictures on these pages. Usually very different from the action scene or ominous message for the front of the card, these more casual snapshots of the subject matter look like a behind-the-scenes look. It might sound silly, but my favorite example is Blob wearing a backwards baseball cap in his shot. These really feel unique.
This set is full of style, talented workmanship and great choices. One of the fun things in Marvel Snap is improving the look of collected cards, with the first change being called Frame Break – where the character breaks the boundaries of the card. Lee’s collection already did that, choosing to have characters like Beast and Nightcrawler ignore borders to make them stand out and stand out. Some things are just cool enough to last.
According to Ed Piskor in the foreword to the book, Lee knew how to show the X-Men at their best, and he could make even the dumber of characters look impressive. It’s true. Maybe no one cares about Widget, Gatecrasher, or Maverick, but if those depictions were someone’s first impression, they’d think differently. Personally, my favorite cards are simple: Cable, White Queen, Bishop, Mastermind, and Omega Red. A strange assortment, but each image has something that I find captivating.
Between the team cards, holograms (of which Gambit is the best), and the nine-card Danger Room image, The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards book is eye candy and a treasure trove for most fans of Marvel Comics. It’s not just a shot of nostalgia, or a way to own the set without buying the cards for the second time in my life, but more of a journey. Something like a collected experience that offers more than the original product. However, it’s hard not to be biased as someone who still owns a few, and now the book has me playing Marvel Snap, where I continue my collection. This will take up a place on my shelf for a while, where it belonged.
Disclosure: The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher.