I came out from under my rock yesterday for the good of some new cards. A few quick thoughts: Topps flagship disappoints in terms of photography and overall base card design. Also the incessant need for them to include a bounty of checklists, when really they should seed them one or two to a box. Also, a number of their inserts strike out, notably Own the Game, Mantle Home Run History (seriously, let's put this one to bed, Topps), and a needless gold foil parallel (I think I got a gold foil card in my pack, but I can't really tell the difference between the regular silver and special gold foils).
I like the gold-bordered parallel, as the gold helps balance the photograph on the front--much better than the regular white. Also winners: 50th Anniversary Rookie Team and Trading Card History inserts. The store where I got my cards had packs of TCH cards 26 - 30 (including the Ryan Howard 1982, above).
I also picked up a pack of the new Upper Deck, and I have to admit: I like the idea of getting 20 cards in a pack. I'm not so much a fan of paying $5 for a pack, though. Take it down to $3 per and I'm on board. Unlike my card blogger counterparts, the delicate silver foil name doesn't bother me so much, though I feel like UD has got to put more thought into the backs; they land somewhere between Fleer and a CBS Sports graphic. And you can count me as an early fan of the photography. This one of Jake Peavy is a contender for Card Photo of the Year.
For a full pack breakdown, see my post on A Pack A Day.