02 October 2015

Pack of the Day 104: Cryptozoic DC Comics: Super-Villains Box Break

I recently flipped a card on eBay for a rather large profit and decided to make an order with Dave & Adam's Card World with some of the proceeds. I was able to grab a fair bit of stuff, and this box of Cryptozoic's DC Comics Super-Villains was one of the things I purchased. It has 24 packs, with 5 cards per pack. I believe the only guarantees are one sketch card and one box topper, although Cryptozoic usually tries to guarantee one base set per box. As the name implies, this set focuses on the bad guys and gals in the DC Universe. There are some tie-ins to the Forever Evil crossover event and Villains' Month promotions that DC did in their comic line during the end of 2013 and into 2014. 

The box toppers take a cue from the Villains' Month promotion of September 2013, during which many of DC's superhero titles had their names changed to the names of that hero or team's key villains. The comics told a story about that villain and the issues carried special numbering to differentiate them from the title's regular print run. One thing that many comic publishers have been doing for a few years now is releasing comic variants with blank covers printed on non-glossy stock, so that collectors can commission sketches to be done directly on the cover of the book. Cryptozoic played on that idea and included 5 x 7 blank cover variant box toppers with the titles from Villains' Month on them. In this case I pulled The Flash Grodd. Gorilla Grodd is one DC villain that I like quite a bit, so hopefully I will be able to find an artist who can do a sketch for me on this card.

There are 63 cards in the base set, with the first card being a title card for the set and the last card being a checklist. The other cards all feature various DC villains. I chose a few of my favorites to show here. Captain Cold is a Flash enemy, Cheetah is usually set against Wonder Woman, Mr. Freeze is a Batman villain who I associate with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Lex Luthor is one of Superman's primary bad guys.

The card backs feature a repeat of the front image, some logos, and a very short blurb about the villain. Gone are the Win-Loss statistics, origin information, and power meters of yesteryear's comic book trading cards.

Silver parallels are supposedly seeded 1:2 packs, and there are parallels for the base set and the chase sets. I pulled 8 base card parallels from this box. The Anti-Monitor card in the upper left came out of the pack with a big section on the bottom of the card peeling up. I don't like pulling damaged cards from my packs, but I guess it is bound to happen from time to time. The parallels of the base cards are really understated, with just the name and logo having a slight silvery sheen to them. 

Gold parallels only come 1:48 packs or 1:2 boxes, but I beat the odds and pulled one of Clayface, the Batman villain. Again, these are understated parallels with just the set logo on the card front being a gold color and the name in the same silver foil as the Silver parallels. These are limited to 25 copies, and my Clayface card is numbered # 02 / 25.

Printing Plates fall 1:288 packs, or 1:12 boxes. I once again beat the odds and pulled a Magenta plate of Grid, a character who I don't know anything about. Apparently he is an evil program that split off from the hero Cyborg.

The Chase sets are seeded so that you can complete a full set from one box. The first is this 6-card Crime Syndicate of America puzzle, which features the main villains from the Forever Evil series. As you can probably tell, these villains match up with key members of the Justice League of America.

The next chase set is called Noir, and features black and white images of different villains. They are weighted fairly heavily toward Batman villains, but that is pretty much true of DC's whole operation.

Forever Evil is a set that features some of the covers from the Villains' Month comic book issues. There isn't much else to say about these. Some of the base cards featuring these characters reuse the cover art (like Solomon Grundy and Brainiac) but some do not (like Gorilla Grodd). I wonder if all of the art is reused from somewhere. I am inclined to think that it is, because even though the Grodd art is different it looks like it was done by the same artist.

I got four Silver parallels of different chase cards. These are a little easier to see, as the whole card has a silvery sheen to it as opposed to just the name and logo on the base cards. Again I had a couple of these parallels peeling from the edges. Something about the foiling process must lend itself to peeling. They also take fingerprints very well, so don't commit any crimes while holding onto a stack of these.

Each box also contains one Batman Classic TV series Cryptomium Reissue card. There are nine cards in the set. I am not really sure why these are included in this product, as the subject matter is completely off the super-villain theme. I came up with a couple of theories, though. The first is that someone needed to release something to maintain a license or copyright or something, and this was the product that met their timeline. The other is that that second number below the first one means that this set crosses many products, with a portion of the set being released as part of different card sets.

Sketch cards are seeded at 1:24 packs or 1 per box. There are also rare die-cut sketch cards. This sketch was done by artist Hanie Mohd and features a super-villain named Blackfire, who is the villainous older sister of the Teen Titan hero Starfire. I don't follow that team much at all, so I had to look all that up. The sketch is decent, but maybe not a home run. Mohd is on my list of artists whose sketch cards I am looking for, but this isn't her best work and the card features a character unfamiliar to me.

I'll probably keep the card because the sketch card market is so saturated right now that unless you pull some combination of top character / top artist you won't sell your sketch for enough to be worth the effort of listing it. I'll keep the card, but I will still be looking for something from Mohd that features one of my favorite characters. She has done a series of Art Nouveau super-heroines that is pretty awesome, so I am definitely a fan of her work in general.

Luckily for me, I beat the odds yet again in this box and pulled a second sketch card. The first sketch came in one of the first packs I opened, and this sketch came out of one of the final packs I busted. It's a sketch of Batman villain Riddler, and it was done by artist Bill Maus. He seems to have fewer sketches out on the market than many artists, and his work is generally pretty good. This sketch matches all of the criteria you want in a comic book sketch. It is a fully-colored and inked sketch of a well-known character done by a well-known artist. I am pretty happy with this sketch, and I will be keeping it in my collection.

Overall I am pretty happy with this box. I beat the odds several times with a Gold parallel, a Printing Plate, and two sketches. I can't complain too hard about that, especially since I got a complete base set and all of the common chase sets in the box, too.


  1. That is an attractive looking set. And kudos to you on the two sketches, especially the Riddler.

    1. It's a pretty nice product. I am a fan of Cryptozoic's model on their comic book sets. My main complaint is the lack of substance on the card backs. I was pretty happy when that Riddler sketch came out of the pack. It took a pretty good box into great territory.

  2. Thanks for posting the box break. Before the New 52 debacle we read every single DC title. We are only 3 comics away from every DC book published between 1975-2011. Now just the three Green Lantern books are entering the collection.

    1. My pull list for DC consists of Flash, Wonder Woman, just about anything with Power Girl in it, the occasional mini-series, and I've been getting the recent Harley Quinn stuff largely because of Amanda Conner's involvement as a creator. I'd like to get a Justice League or Superman / Batman book, but none of them have leaped out at me recently and there is only so much room for non-Marvel books in my collection.

  3. Congratulations on pulling two sketch cards. The Riddler is particularly sweet.

    1. Thanks! I like sketch cards a lot, so it was a nice bonus to pull two from the box.