It seems that all culture, popular and high, encourages collecting. Classical music buffs own all 68 “important” recordings of Beethoven Seventh. Lovers of literature cherish first editions. People become “complete-ists,” needing to own full sets of whatever it is that compels them. Of course, comic books have long been popular with collectors. It seems that the issue numbers, long-running series, and monthly subscriptions (remember?) have made them a pleasure to organize. Cards can be even more addictive. For one thing, they are cheaper. For another they usually are bursting with statistics that allow the owners to fill long afternoons with canonical debates. More recently, cards have even become gaming tools (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic) with levels of complexity that no owner of a set of the 1927 Yankees could imagine. I am convinced that my math-graduate-student son prepped for calculus and knot theory by memorizing power-ratings and building decks. The burst of X-MEN cards that accompanied our series served another purpose. There are so many characters in the X-Men universe that they are hard to keep track of. So much of super-hero comic-book appeal is “who could take who” that knowing each of the couple hundred characters’ strengths and weaknesses becomes crucial. And woe be to the TV writer who gets some guest villain’s powers marginally wrong. So, yes, I bought a couple hundred X-MEN cards when they came out to benefit, and benefit from, the existence of X-MEN: TAS. One of the fun twists in the “Series One” batch was nine cards — numbers 91-99 — that fit together to make a dramatic image of the Danger Room in action. Since the cards were commissioned before the series hit the air, some of the characters don’t fit our team. That’s expected. What is disappointing is that Marvel or the card company seemed, in their casting, to give in to the “Smurfett rule” — all guys and a token girl (nine-to-one here). Oh well, it’s still great having the full set.