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MARVEL BATTLES trading cards (Panini)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 365

album: Marvel battles trading cards (Panini)

cardS: 175 (1-175) + 5 limited edition

starter pack: album + 2 packets + 3 ltd edition 8,00€

box: 24 packets (6 cards per packet) 1,50€ each

blister: 3 packets + 1 limited edition random 4,50€

It’s always easy to get caught up in the excitement when talking about Marvel. Who doesn’t know the Marvel universe? Who hasn’t been moved at least once, feeling happiness, adrenaline, joy, but also sadness and desperation in front of a film or a comic coming from, among others, the mind of Stan Lee? Every time a Marvel product comes out it is full of anticipation, probably because we have all experienced particular emotions when faced with Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-man or Black Widow.

Before venturing into the specifics of the collection, let’s start from the materials: the papers are quite thin, with few details to embellish them: no parts really in relief, only a distinction between shiny parts and opaque parts, which give the impression of relief but to the touch the paper is completely smooth.
Going into the matter, we start off really badly: the 80 basic cards that represent the core of the collection see a brown/burgundy border surrounding the protagonist of the card which thus appears very debased. Furthermore, which is somewhat annoying, some characters have parts cut off: the Captain America card is emblematic where the edge covers part of the hero’s head.

Another inexplicable ugliness of the paper is the font chosen for the protagonist’s name, very similar to the Arial font in capital letters and therefore not at all attractive. It would have been enough to use the same font as the collection name and they would have already had a different look. As for the border, however, it could have simply been eliminated: why enclose the heroes in a border almost a centimeter thick above and below and half a centimeter on the sides? We find that it would have been much better to leave the artwork free to express itself across the board and there are some like Black Bolt, Hela, Ant-Man and many others that would have made a great impression.

We therefore have the 25 Action Cards: some epic moments from the comics come to life in these cards and the idea is very appreciable: we understand that the name of the collection should be shown on the front of the paper but why the gray border around the paper? It would have been nice if they had respected the original edges of the comics by putting them in some cases white and in some cases black, depending on how they were in the original version. The cards deserve it, but not thanks to Panini. The idea is nice but the addition, even on the back, of a reference to the original comic would have been very welcome, a missed joy for both novices and more seasoned fans.

Then follow 20 Group Cards where the groups of heroes and villains are shown in their formations: this time fortunately the border is not invasive but narrows on the right side of the card giving the impression of width and fortunately sometimes the characters go beyond the image to them dedicated and cover part of the edge: this is a choice that allows us to highlight the protagonists and what should also have been done with all the other cards in the collection.

Sometimes the 25 Versus Cards return instead: we had already seen them in the Marvel Versus collection, in fact, a collection released in 2021: don’t worry, the protagonists are different from those that could be found in those sachets, we went to check. These cards work much more than the basic ones: the protagonists are the villains and the chiaroscuro of the border, quite subtle this time, helps to highlight the characters, many of whom are framed very closely and with colors that go well with the margin.

The 10 Face Off Cards are what the basic cards could have been for us, with the images finally full-card and very different from each other, capable of satisfying both lovers of details and those of body-to-body challenges framed by points of view. very close views: it’s a shame there are only 10. Also in this case the upper border could perhaps have been avoided, keeping only the lower one with the name of the collection. The holographics and the shiny/matte effect do their job, making us forget that the cards have no processing.

Finally, the 15 Alter-Ego Cards: the idea of ​​putting the character in his everyday guise on the same card in the upper part, such as Doctor Bruce Banner, and his hero alter-ego in the lower part is very nice. , in this case Hulk: appearing almost like an identity card this time the border is appreciable and not at all annoying, demonstrating the fact that if you wanted to maintain a border in all the cards you could have done so by obtaining better results.

The 5 Limited Editions remain and here too the artwork is completely covered by a glitter holography which does not allow you to fully enjoy it, resulting almost annoying, to the point of not even being able to see the image depending on the reflection.

In short, this collection is a great wasted opportunity. Marvel fans will appreciate some little things and still the chance to collect all the favorite heroes and anti-heroes. An unforgettable collection is something else entirely. Seeing the work done with this collection compared to that of the Top Class collection, with only 50 cents more per pack, is quite surprising: in that case all the cards had a beautiful workmanship with even all the different backs that in this case case are very standard.

We would have expected a product similar to last year’s Super Mario where more or less in this period one of the best collections of the year was released even if at double the price, this is true: however the result would have been the same as with Super Mario, that is , the feeling of having spent your money on a collection that was truly worth it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case this time. Such a pity. If you want some advice: buy the starter pack, where you can find the checklist with all the images of the cards, this one at least done really well: so you can decide whether you want to collect or not.

(AM)

SPIDER-VERSE (Panini)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 331

album: Spider-Man – Spider-verse! (Panini)

stickers: 192 (1-163, F1-F20, F22-F30) + 55 cards (C1-C50 + 5 limited)

starter pack: album + 5 packets + 3 cards limited 4,90€

box: 24 packets (4 stickers + 1 card per packet) 1,00€ each

blister: 5 packets + 1 card limited random 4,90€

hard cover standard 16,90€

hard cover limited + 3 packets + lithography 49,90€

It’s not easy to tackle a collection like this if you grew up especially with the superhero comics of the legendary Editoriale Corno or even more recently Star Comics, then Marvel Italia. The multiverse is nothing new in American comics, DC Comics got there well before, bringing the comic universe of Superman, Batman, etc., creating such a chaotic situation over the years that made it necessary to publish a “Crisis on Earth” saga infinite” to tidy things up a little and “eliminate the superfluous”.

As often happens with other sticker productions, trying to make a review as coherent as possible, while maintaining one’s opinions, the heart and memories must therefore be separated from the current context. Considering that we are talking about characters who are over 60 years old, there is therefore, perhaps, an editorial need to update them, sometimes transform them, to make them captivating for new generations of readers.

So make way for the variations of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, some even interesting, others unlikely, at least for us. The album is very standard, featuring not only the Spider in his versions but also the other protagonists. A formula that is repeated, in practice, page after page.

Exemplary and child of changing times, more likely because it is connected to the film, it opens with Miles Morales and not with the historical Peter Parker. 4 pages are dedicated to the main characters, in the first two the introduction to the hero/heroine with some references to iconic moments of the stories, in the following the most important enemies and allies are presented.

In this first part of the album we therefore find the original Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Spider-Man “2” (Miles Morales) and Ghost Spider, the revived Gwen Stancy, protagonist of the symbolic story of the 70s who in another world, parallel to ours, Earth-65, is not only alive and well, but also fights crime. Among alternative comics, certainly the most successful.

Afterwards, the space available per character is reduced to 2 pages and here, as written at the beginning, we can get to know various versions of our Spidey and new protagonists of the Spider-Verse and the Marvel universe who have also left their mark.

As far as Spider-Man is concerned, there is the 2009 version which dates back to the early 90s and was also very successful then, the ham, Indian, punk version and the very interesting comic stories, recommended reading, of the Spider-Man Noir set in the 1930s.

The space dedicated to female superheroes is appreciable, here is Silk, Spider-Woman (present for over 45 years in comics), Spider-Girl and Arana. Is the Black Cat missing? You leaf through the pages and you find her, sometimes among friends, sometimes among enemies and sometimes… among lovers. The Cat is everywhere!

The final part of the album is interesting because it is a quick summary of what can be found traveling in the Marvel universe, when it comes to the many alternative realities. This practically allows you to have infinite narrative possibilities by distorting the stories or simply starting from scratch. The positive message, which is appreciable, is to try to make the concept of superheroes universal, beyond social class, geographical origin, culture, religion, etc. Certainly more correct than the standards of 50 years ago (and beyond), but some doubts remain.

Central poster with F stickers as had already happened for the last album for the 60th of our wall-climbing friend, before and after a sort of wikipedia of the multiverse with some important narrative passages. The substantial difference between the F stickers and those in the final part of the album is that the former represent characters that go beyond Spidey’s stories, in his various versions. From the Avengers to the X-Men and others, here too with more or less unlikely and successful variations.

As usual, there is space for an unpublished story, very Italian style, where Peter and Miles discuss which is the best pizza in New York. Nothing particularly sensational, but given the little space available it is still nice and pleasant. Among other things, the only part of the album with a proliferation of stickers shaped the way we like them.

The album gives us the impression of being a missed opportunity, interesting, nice, but it really could have been more daring, both in content and form. Especially considering the incredible work done with the Disney album that just came out. The quality of the album’s paper is poor, the aim is probably for fans to purchase the two hardback versions, it’s a shame the same wasn’t done with the previous Spider-Man album, which remained only in its stapled version.

On the contrary, the stickers are really beautiful, in terms of images and graphic choice. As happened in the past, the specials would also appear in diaries and notebooks. The 50 cards are not a particular added value to the collection; considering that there is also the possibility of inserting them into the appropriate pockets in the limited hardback version, it was possible, for example, to create 9-card images that are transformed into a unique design. Experiment carried out years ago in the Frozen collection.

Among other things, in Modena they did the math badly, in the hardback there are 54 cards but in total there are 55 (50 + 5 limited edition). Another curiosity, the sticker F21 does not exist.

(EN)

SPIDEY and his amazing friends (Panini)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 323

album: Spidey and his Amazing Friends (Panini)

stickers: 184 (1-169, P1-P15)

starter pack: album + 2 packets 3,50€

box: 24 packets (5 stickers per packet) 0,80€ each

The best youth! Sometimes you can’t help but notice the superior quality of albums dedicated to the very young audience compared to other products created for an adult audience. At the end of the day, if you think about it, the best albums of our lives are the ones we collected as children. They are the most intimate and indelible memories, it was also fantasy and dreams that dominated everything.

Spidey is an amazing album. For those who don’t know it, the story is the one already used on many other occasions, the superheroes in the kids version, it may seem like a stretch, but they work and the characters also become perfect for the world of merchandising, just go into any Disney Store. The sticker album is also welcome!

If you have read Marvel comics you will find it suggestive to rediscover imposing protagonists like Rhino or Hulk in a “mini” version… honestly this formula is more appropriate than the many and unlikely multiverses that have invaded the world of American comics (and films in recent years).

Fun is the key to understanding the album, alternating pages dedicated to presenting our (little) heroes with those that re-propose traces of the adventures of the television series. Another aspect to underline is the variety of stickers, a good number where you have to work hard to attach them correctly.

The collection was also born as a book of illustrations, somehow each page does not leave disappointed, children can have fun completing the games and filling the dedicated spaces with their own desires, so as to make every single copy of this collection unique. Above all, there is a clear feeling that the experience could be repeated, for the enjoyment of everyone, even the graphic designers involved in creating it.

The central poster is inevitable and adds nothing to the collection but if it wasn’t there everyone would certainly have noticed it. The stickers are larger than other collections, it is important to underline Panini’s choice to make this product cheaper than the average. Let’s forget the figures of the past, but in 2023 a collection with sachets at 0.80 is excellent news. The limited number of stickers and the simultaneous lack of useless cards allows the album to be completed quite easily. Thank you.

While waiting for the new Spider-Man album scheduled for Lucca Comics at the beginning of November, the Spidey for the little ones leaves his mark and our little fantastic friends are appreciated and loved. No matter your age, have fun collecting it!

Go Spidey go!

(EN)

MARVEL VERSUS (Panini)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 223

album: MARVEL VERSUS (Panini)

stickers: 176 (1-176) + 50 cards (C1-C50)

starter pack: album + 5 packets + 3 cards limited edition 4,90€

box: 36 packets (4 stickers + 1 card) 1,00€ each

hard cover album +3 packets + 2 cards limited edition 16,90€

The dark side of the force! Ok, let’s not talk about Star Wars but even here the villains make their mark. We are convinced that the great success of Marvel comics, as well as those of DC Comics, is linked not only to great heroes but also to villains of the highest level. Think what Spider-Man would be without Goblins, the X-Men without Magneto, Cap without the Red Skull and especially the Fantastic Four without Doctor Doom, for those who write the bad number 1. By the way, many of these anti-heroes actually they have aspects that allow them to be appreciable and, in some ways, understandable. Another strong point of American comic fiction.

The album cover and title is actually partly misleading, one gets the impression that the setting of the collection is the perennial struggle between good and evil, where heroes and enemies alternate page after page. The idea, on the other hand, is more “extreme” and effective, for once at the center of attention there are mainly them, the bad guys, those who are almost always destined to lose in comic stories. The sparring partners, between the pages this time, are the superheroes.

The same graphic layout of the individual pages may seem misleading, in the one on the left we find the name of the hero in the one on the right, in the one on the right the name of the villain on duty. Panini could have limited himself to this, instead the work is much more detailed, more impressive, more refined, as if to want to create an Encyclopedia of Marvel Villains.

In fact, for each comic, intended as a character, there is space for the main enemy but also others, basically at least 4 villains per comic are represented in stickers, leading to more than a hundred at the end of the album! Also the lyrics are interesting and well written, in addition to the first appearance in the comics, the creators and the features, also some hints to the most important, epic or sometimes dramatic stories. There is little space, but you really get a more than acceptable idea of ​​what happened in 60 years of Marvel Comics (for some characters more years, for others less).

We would like to list all the villains represented in the stickers, but why take away the pleasure of discovering or rediscovering them by turning the pages? But we do not resist and here we name those who have deserved a special space: Goblin, Prowler, Carnage, Ultron, Thanos, Red Skull, Loki, Modok, Abominio, Kree, Taskmaster, Discord, Killmonger, Dormammu, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Cable, Bullseye. Someone is missing, the Mandarin and the Vulture come to mind. Others perhaps would have deserved more space, for example Kingpin or Galactus. However, it remains a very fun and beautiful album even just to browse, let alone attach the stickers!

The stickers (after the half misstep of the previous album) are an added value, we like them very much, “amazing” especially in their variety, in particular the special ones that light up but are even more pleasant to the touch. Not to mention the shaped ones that we really like them! The cards are also much more interesting than the previous ones, 25 villains (put first, rightly seen as the album is set up) and 25 heroes, all with graphic references to their characteristics. A bit like in the 70s, on the famous comics of Editoriale Corno, now we can really find out “who is stronger between the Thing and the Hulk”.

The final 12 pages with a very funny story created by the legendary Eric Powell (creator of “The Goon”, also published by Panini Comics). Good job Panini to have added this absolute gem to close a well-made album. Too bad only for the devastating quality of the paper, easy to think it is linked to the current crisis of the raw material, in reality it is a problem that we have begun to notice for several years .. sorry, but we do not believe it. At least the album is homage with the starter pack and the collection is really too interesting to go further, despite the problems it is definitely one of the albums of the year.

Fortunately, the hardcover version is also available, on the Panini website and in the Comics shops. Perhaps this is Panini’s new path, a low-quality product for newsstands and hardcover with better paper (until proven otherwise) for the collectors’ circuit. In the box we find 2 other limited edition cards so as to enrich the three limited edition cards that we find in the starter pack and which portray historical Marvel covers, but not the usual classics, another choice we like.

Villain Unite!

(EN)

MARVEL 80th (PANINI)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 132
stickers: 192 (1-192) + 50 cards (C1-C50)
starter pack: € 4.90 album + 3 packets
packets: € 1.00 (4 stickers + 1 card)

It’s always time for Heroes! After the unsuccessful Marvel Superheroes a few years ago, Panini tries again and this time hits the target. The new album on the Marvel universe is well done, traces the publishing history since the 40s and decade after decade reaches the present day.
Captions certainly made by Marvel Italia staff, tell us about the evolution of the characters and the birth of new heroes. Authors are also given due credit and are remembered too. It is also very interesting to give space to comics that have not passed the test of time with others who have drawn their strength from time. Each decade has its own characteristics, the 40s and 50s feature western, war and love comics that have gradually disappeared. The splendid stories of the Invaders (Captain America, Human Torch, Namor, etc.) set during the Second World War and the horror stories that in Italy were within the Eureka Pocket series of the legendary Editoriale Corno.

The first 39 stickers of 192 total are dedicated to this period, good Panini not to forget them to go directly to the birth of the Marvel Universe with Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and all the others. The years in which Marvel made the leap in quality by telling comics in a new way, the concept of “great heroes with big problems” became a global success.

Marvel’s merit is not to sit on our laurels but to continue to churn out great characters, in the 70s the mutant era arrives with the X-Men and Wolverine but also Ghost Rider and Dracula; alongside shocking stories that made it clear where Stan Lee and associates wanted to go, the death of Gwen Stacy still shakes today! The 80s are an expression of the most urban comics, it is the golden period of Daredevil but also the arrival of icons such as Punisher and Venom. The following decade is that of the great sagas, in these years the character Deadpool is born. The new millennium sees Marvel take on new paths by creating alternative universes such as Ultimate and 2099, up to the present day with the explosion of the Marvel Cinema Universe.

Beautiful page that bears the name “The world outside the window”, the Marvel Universe to remember some moments of history (11 September, Holocaust, etc.) and raise awareness on uncommon issues in comics such as AIDS, drugs, homosexuality, etc. .

The album closes with a short unpublished story in stickers with Captain America. In general the stickers are of good quality even if they are rather light, the specials are beautiful as always. Special mention for the 50 cards, a successful extra with the 50 most important Marvel comics, really beautiful close-ups!

The copy of the album in our possession has poor quality paper that creates undulations on all pages, we hope it is just a defective copy. It would be really sensational if, in the face of an excellent album, an economic way had been chosen for printing ..
Speaking of editorial choices, there is NO hardcover version or better, it does not exist in Italy, because in other countries it is found, especially in Brazil where for years the production has been more refined and of quality than the Italian one.

Why was the limited edition not made? The answer is simple, go to the Panini site and you will still find the limited Batman and Donald Duck, released almost a year ago. Poor sales. After having canceled the low cost hardcover, now goodbye to the luxury version too.
Wouldn’t it have been better since last year to give up the luxury and just make a simpler version and print it in a few thousand copies? Maybe on demand, as is already done with the Calciatori hardcover.
It is a serious detail, it indicates a scarce consideration to that part of collectors who, although they are perhaps few compared to the total, for decades, with their passion and their presence, have contributed to bringing the success of sticker albums to newsstands, streets, in schools and on meeting and work places.

Sorry Panini, but really the disappointment is great

(EN)

BATMAN 8O YEARS (Panini Italy)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 79

stickers: 192 (1-192) + 36 cards (1-36)

starter pack: € 4.90 (album + 5 sachets)

packets: € 1.00 (4 stickers + 1 card)

box: 36 packets

Limited Edition: hard cover 1000 copies € 49.90

comment: on some occasions it is fortunate to have to wait a few days before doing the review, it helps to study the product better and not get caught up in a small disappointment instead of new emotions. Panini has decided to change the formula that had characterized previous albums (from Tex to Mickey Mouse), no more paperbacks and no more hardcover for shops. Only stapled standard and limited hard cover edition always in an elegant case.

This editorial earthquake has displaced everyone, wrong to stop at the form, better to think about the substance. Obviously to appreciate the Batman album you don’t have to be only collectors of stickers but also lovers of comics, in this way really getting caught up in the emotions and also by the memories for the less young is a moment.

Semi citing a Woody Allen film: “Everything you wanted to see on the Marvel Super-Heroes album but you didn’t find”. Funny that Panini, publisher of Marvel Comics in Italy, manages to make a great album on “competition”, that is the most beloved hero of the DC Comics universe.

It is limited to call it an album, more correct to browse it like a small encyclopedia of Batman in stickers. The first pages have the flavor of the myth with the first appearances of the Dark Knight back in 1939, which continues with the best of the character through the years. Following the world of Batman, from the Bat-Cavern to the countless gadgets and the Bat-Mobile.

Space also for the many comics characters, with spectacular splash pages with shaped stickers, great heroes and friends Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, Alfred and James Gordon. The great enemies Joker, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Penguin and many others.

Still missing much at the end of the album, from comics to television with animated series and absolute joy for us “old”, as many as 9 stickers dedicated to the classic TV series with Adam West. From TV to the big screen with all the movies with Batman as protagonist, from the first of Tim Burton to the last “all american heroes” linked to the Justice League.

Comics, TV series, movies … how to finish the album? Of course with the stickers also of video games! Complete, exciting, COOL, with many special figurines, 24 holographic and even more 24 that light up in the dark. There is no more suitable album than this where to put them.

The album though stapled has an internal page in cardboard, after the cover the checklist of all 36 cards, at the bottom of the album the box to be detached to contain them. Also the cards are really beautiful, the first 18 dedicated to the covers from the historical to the most recent ones, from 19 to 27 the various Batman costumes over the years, from 28 to 36 all the cars of the Dark Knight!

Then the limited box set, printed in just 1000 numbered copies. By the way, unlike the previous ones, we find the number even outside, nothing changes, but happy to have an important number like nr. 100. The box contains the hardcover album with a beautiful silk-screen print inside and a second box to put the 36 cards, exposed in all their splendor.

So let’s go back to the starting point, if the first thought was of disappointment for the changes that took place with this Batman and Donald Duck albums, a more detailed analysis makes Panini’s choices not only acceptable but also understandable. The Deluxe Limited has really become an object of high quality and aimed only at collectors, the intermediate versions did not give credit to this choice. Furthermore it is probable that sales of not limited hardcover were not such as to motivate the continuation.

Although Panini does not declare it, I believe instead that the choice to stop producing the paperback with envelopes inside is linked to the need to protect the environment and the progressive elimination of plastic. I think we are right at the beginning of a path that probably Panini will continue in the months and years to come, I want to think and believe it is so, with the absolute curiosity to see what will happen next year with the Calciatori Adrenalyn 2021!

Final judgment: 10/10 with honors (for the limited and for the ecological choice)

(EN)