If you've felt like Upper Deck's recent Marvel releases have maybe been a bit out of your budget, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a counter-argument. While the Marvel Masterpieces set is fantastic, it's certainly not cheap. The same could be said of the upcoming Marvel Gems set, which is even more premium than that limited collection was. Aside from the movie tie-in cards, there hasn't really been a budget-friendly Marvel trading card set in some time, but that looks to be changing with the announcement of Marvel Annual.

Coming next year, the 100-card set will take a look back at Marvel's 2016 comics, characters and events. Obviously Civil War II will play a large role at the center of the collection, but so will the All-New, All-Different era of the publisher's superhero line. Most of the cards appear to be using direct art assets from the biggest issues in 2016, which is good for anyone that was hoping to bulk up on Kris Anka Captain Marvel collectibles or more Skottie Young Baby Marvel art.

As for special inserts, there will be some manufactured relics featuring patches for characters and team insignias. I'm not the biggest fan of patch or medallion cards, but there aren't many authentic relics you could put in a set based on comics aside from printed pages. That's not exactly all that exciting. Sketch cards will of course be included because you can't have a comic book trading card set without them anymore. There will also be ultra-rare sketch cards on clear plastic, which should be interesting to see in person. The set is still a little ways away, so we don't know what that might look like in execution.

What's captured my eye though is the idea of rookie cards for characters making a big splash last year. Even though All-New Wolverine #1 came out in 2015 and Laura Kinney has been around since the early 2000s, that I will be able to get her rookie card in this set has great appeal for me. I'm curious to see what other characters get rookie cards, like maybe Moon Girl or even Viv. It's a silly thing to look forward to in a comic book trading card set, but the adolescent part of my baseball card-collecting brain still gets hype for those kinds of things.

The Marvel Annual trading cards are due to arrive sometime in Q1 2017. No pricing or pre-orders are available as of yet.

 

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