Below you will find John’s first wax cracking of a box of 2008 Upper Deck Marvel Masterpieces.  Today will be the first of a two part post.  JVG discusses below what he hit on in Packs 1-12.

I purchased a factory sealed box of Marvel Masterpieces Set 2 trading cards for this project. These cards came out in 2008, which is a lifetime ago in the comics world. Since 2008 there have been at least 6 major crossover events, a re-launch of almost every title, a few significant deaths, and more less-significant resurrections. And that’s just counting the main Marvel universe- not the Ultimate line, Marvel Max, or Icon lines. But comic book characters never go away, they change costumes and relationships but they stick around forever.

In this box are 36 packs in 3 columns. Each pack has 7 cards in it, meaning I’ll get 252 cards total. The full set is broken down as: 90 base cards, 9 Marvel Heroines (Chase set), 9 Avengers (Chase set), 3 Hulk chase cards (one hobby and two retail exclusives), 3 Iron Man chase cards (one hobby and two retail exclusives), 5 Fantastic Four memorabilia cards, and 1 sketch card per box. The boxes are numbered to 18,000 which means there are a lot of damn sketch cards out there. The full set (minus sketch cards) comes to 119 cards, but I can guarantee you won’t get a full set per box. Even without the hobby/retail exclusives (which I’m not sure the meanings of, this is a hobby and I bought the cards at retail), the chase sets are notoriously distributed poorly. It makes it fun and frustrating at the same time.

The first thing I saw when I opened the box was an over-sized card sitting right on top. That was a pretty cool little insert, and the card itself looks really good. The back of the card thanks you for buying the display box and says “We hope you enjoy this oversized piece of Marvel art from one of the best artists working in comics today.” That last line could be pure opinion, but the artist in this case is Dave Johnson, who is primarily a cover artist and did every cover for “100 Bullets” and a long stretch of covers for “Deadpool”. He also won an Eisner award for best cover artist in 2002, so the card’s claim isn’t really conjecture- it’s fact.

Dave Johnson Oversized Promo Card
Dave Johnson Oversized Promo Card

The next thing I noticed was the artwork on the packs. Each pack had Spider-Man, the Hulk, or Iron Man on it. The Spider-Man and Hulk art is well done, but take a look at Tony Stark’s face. When did he become the elephant man? That’s really what you’re going to put on the packs to get people to buy your cards? Terrible.

Seriously, did he get stung by a bee?
Seriously, did he get stung by a bee?

But enough of all that, let’s get to cracking some wax (the packs are foil, but whatever). Here’s the breakdown of what was in the first 12 packs:

Pack 1: Crimson Commando, Firestar, Mr. Fantastic, Jubilee, Kang, Storm (Heroines chase set)

Pack 2: Silver Surfer, Lady Deathstrike, Venom, Masterpieces 2, Black Queen, Echantress

Pack 3: Wolverine, Dr. Spectrum, Quasar, Beast, The Watcher, Captain America (Avengers chase set), Upper Deck Promo

Pack 4: Sabretooth, Nick Fury, Iron Man, Valkyrie, Machine Man, Magneto

Pack 5: Cyclops, Shanna, Cloak, Northstar, Destiny, Bullseye

Pack 6: Rocket Racer, Kraven the Hunter, Storm, Mimc, Captain America, Spider-Woman (Heroines chase set)

Pack 7: Vulture, Colossus, Scarlet Witch, Sebastian Shaw, Medusa, Jean Grey

Pack 8: Dr. Doom, Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Red Queen, Daredevil, She-Hulk (Heroines chase set)

Pack 9: Ghost Rider, Sandman, Invisible Woman, Hellstorm, Shocker, Dr. Strange

Pack 10: Pyro, Shadowcat, Iceman, Green Goblin, Captain Marvel, Thor

Pack 11: Firestar, Silver Surfer, Kang, Masterpieces 2, Black Queen, She-Hulk (Heroines chase set)

Pack 12: Mystique, Scorpion, Professor X, Egghead, Hellcat, Iron Man (Iron Man chase card A)

The score for the first 12 packs.
The score for the first 12 packs.

You’ll notice that I only mentioned 6 cards in each pack, that’s because the 7th card in each pack was an advertisement for the upcoming-at-the-time Marvel Masterpieces Set 3 and had a code you could use on Uppder Deck’s (now defunct) website on the back. I think it’s pretty crappy that they advertise 7 cards a pack and the 7th card is their own advertisement. They could have put the code on the inside of the pack and saved themselves the trouble of printing a 7th card and everyone else the disappointment of not getting an extra card. Also, pack 3 had a thick card inserted as well that was an advertisement for Upper Deck’s 20th anniversary. It’s a real head-scratcher as to why they would include this at all, but at least it didn’t take the place of any other card.

Seriously, WTF is this?
Seriously, WTF is this?

Pack 11 was the first all-duplicates pack, even down to the She-Hulk chase card. That was disappointing, but I knew it was bound to happen. The big winner here was pack 12, which had the Iron Man chase card that I guess indicates this is a hobby box. And unfortunately, Casey’s theory that the fourth pack on the left side has the best card doesn’t stand up. Pack 3 did have a pretty cool Captain America chase card, though.

Chase Cards
Chase cards from the batch.

Doing a quick search of eBay for these cards reveals how poorly these have stood up over the years. You can get the entire base set for between $10-20, and the chase card sets are selling for under $10. There aren’t that many sketch cards on there that actually have bids, so it’s tough to gauge how well those are selling. There’s also some really crappy art on a few of these cards, but I’ll save the snark for my next post. Also, in keeping with Casey’s monk-like patience in opening only one pack a day I will wait a full 24 hours to open the rest of the cards.

*Stop back tomorrow as John opens Packs 13-24.