Thursday, 20 October 2011

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 review

'The time bubble wasn't designed to handle this kind of strain!'

Now there's a Star Trekky line if ever I heard one, but this being a crossover, it's spoken by a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Brainiac 5 has been steering team-mates Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad back home after a run-in with Darkseid, but a storm in the timestream is cracking the vehicle. The only option is a forced landing.

Elsewhere and when, Captain Kirk and crew are beaming down to San Francisco, where Kirk is giving the commencement speech at Starfleet Academy. Earth in the 23rd century, though, isn't what it used to be - instead of the college, Kirk, Uhura, Spock, McCoy, Sulu and Chekov pitch up in a shipyard for space battleships ... and soon they're being shot at by uniformed heavies on flying platforms.

Nearby, the Legion are having a bad time of it too. In a past which history buff Cosmic Boy doesn't recognise, they're attacked by Earthlings enraged by the appearance of the Durlan Chameleon Boy.

What the Legion don't know, because they weren't privy to the first few pages of this story, is that Earth and the shapeshifters of Durla are at odds. Twisted versions of old DC characters Tommy Tomorrow and Space Ranger are laying waste to Durla for its refusal to bow to the Imperial Planets - a universal body apparently far removed from the Legion's United Planets, or Star Trek's Federation.

The first chapter of this six-issue mini-series ends with the respective away teams realising they're in the wrong universe (duh!). They've not yet met, but when they do it's going to be great if this instalment is anything to go by. For writer Chris Roberson knows his Star Trek, and he knows his Legion - the voices of both sets of characters are spot on. Several seasons of live action TV make it easier to 'hear' the Enterprise crew, but there's likewise not a single off moment with the Legionnaires.

Working with longtime Legion artists Jeffrey and Philip Moy, Roberson finds room for nice character moments - the married Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad display affection; Kirk, who never met a moment he couldn't speechify, claims to be rubbish at oratory; Scotty's fine with staying behind so long as he gets a bottle of Scotch ... and in a nice moment of meta-humour/me reading too much into things, Sulu is practically salivating at the prospect of returning to San Francisco.

Surprisingly, the Moys' Star Trek scenes are better than their Legion pages - they seem more comfortable with Kirk and co than characters they worked with for years (well, a version of, anyway, but let's not get sidetracked by Legion continuity). It'll be interesting to see how the art - nicely coloured by Romulo Fajardo Jr and lettered by Robbie Robbins - settles down when the two heroic crews combine.

The cover comes from Phil Jimenez, another Legion old hand, and again, while the superheroes look good, the Enterprise crew look even better. Maybe comic artists who grew up with Star Trek gain the ability to draw the characters well. Or more likely, it's easier to do a likeness of a real person than a fictional one - the Legionnaires have differed massively in appearance down the years, whereas the Enterprise crew have been consistent.

Ach, I'm boldly going on and on. All you need to know is that both Legion and Star Trek fans are likely going to enjoy this comic. And if you missed it, well, day and date digital means you can beam the issue up right now!

13 comments:

  1. How in the world did I miss this at the comic book store!?!?!? Must...have...

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  2. My question is...why is the Star Trek crew the Classic tv version, not the 2009 movie version?
    Unless it's the Pre-Crisis Legion...

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  3. I think you got it with the word 'classic', Britt - when I think Star Trek, the originals always come to mind first.

    And that's certainly the original Legion - Levitz/Giffen/Lightle era.

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  4. I hope you find the book soon, Jimmy.

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  5. It wasnt a bad issue, tho mainly it was just set-up for the eventual meet between the LSH and the Enterprise crew. Some curious similarities...the Dominion [from DS9] and the LSHers Dominators, and what looks like a part Coluan part Vulcan.
    The Moys have always impressed me; their fine picture-book quality LSH comics of the 90s were sweet to read, and they continue to impress me here. I also like how the LSH cruisers from the 70s look like the Enterprise vessels as that takes me back.
    My only gripe is how short the issue seemed to be and thebooks price. Mihtve worked better if DC published it.

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  6. I got the Giffen cover, of the Legion looking for a hidden Spock.

    And, like you, I loved it. Can't wait to see more! So good to see the Moys on Legion, again, and Roberson is dead-on!

    (Glad I wasn't the only one who read Sulu's line about SF that way!)

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  7. As far as why the characters resemble the original actors, an additional reason could be that today's big-budget movie actors have all sorts of things worked into contracts, whereas 60's TV actors probably had their image rights for merchandising signed away in perpetuity.

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  8. That's not necessarily the case with Star Trek -- I'm pretty sure Shatner & Nimoy, at least, had image approval rights in the early 90s. I remember one of the ST artists at the time -- Arne Starrm I think -- complaining at a Shore Leave convention about the horrible approval process, between Paramount and the stars themselves. If they had approval, I figure they were probably also making some money on it.

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  9. Still, as a wild guess, it may be that their rights lapsed, or more likely, the original stars have mellowed with age and are now willing to just take their cut without fuss.

    I think we can safely say Shatner no longer worries about protecting his brand from looking foolish!

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  10. The book did seem rather, shall we say, breezy, Karl, and checking, it's 22pp for $3.99 ... it thinks it's a Marvel comic, apparently. And yes, those Seventies ships were a tad Star Trek. I remember seeing Dave Cockrum's Chameleon Boy for the first time (I think it was in 'The War Between the Nights and the Days' in, I dunno, Superboy #193?) - he didn't half remind me of Spock.

    Rob, Chris Roberson saw the review and yup, that was a deliberate Sulu wink.

    Blue, Rob, I tend to think the original crew signed over the likenesses in perpetuity too. Maybe they had Siegel and Shuster's lawyer?

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  11. Lately, the best comment I can make of a comic book or a movie or some other form of entertainment is that "I didn't HATE it".
    I didn't hate the older X Men/Star Trek crossover some years back. The art was good, but the story was forced. It was a one issue story, so that may explain it.
    This time, though, we have several issues to lay out something readable and not just pretty to look at.
    I've been a big fan of Star Trek (Classic, thank you) and Legion of Super Heroes since I was a child. It is my hope that, after it's finished, I can at least say, "Well, I really liked that one!"
    There was much promise in issue one. Let's hope it moves fast and gets scary and only the baddies die horribly.

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  12. This was absolute shit.

    Jeff Moy i still working - and this whole issue was the equivalent of the three page set-up you'd get in an 80s crossover.

    Roberson wrote all Talokians as having shadow powers, which as we all know is wrong, and then he said Grev was Shadow Lass's brother. So this is all set on Earth-F for Farty Crap Crossover Earth.

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  13. I never saw the X-Men/Trek story Claude - not the best, then?

    I'm OK with the odd tweak to established power sets, Andrew, this being an alternate timeline. Maybe in the 23rd Century all Talkians did have shadowy emenations.

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