SUNDAY SLUGFEST: Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1A comic review article by: Michael Deeley, Ray Tate
Michael Deeley: Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes#1 is the first new comic I've purchased through a digital service. And I'll be using it again. There wasn't any sales tax, it doesn't take up space in my crowded boxes, and it was easy to read. It does look like it was scanned directly from a printed copy of the comic. I can see the folds on some two-page spreads -- I'd assumed each page would be scanned then altered digitally.
This series doesn't just bring together two sets of characters; it combines two universes. DC's sci-fi comics are re-imagined in the style of "Mirror Mirror," the Star Trekepisode about an evil parallel universe. In the 23rd Century of this universe, the Imperial Planets have conquered most of the galaxy with their superhuman forces. This thirst for conquest is traced back to a powerful being who visited primitive man thousands of years ago. The Enterprise crew arrive on this world when beaming down to their Earth. Time-traveling members of the Legion arrive after escaping a storm in the time stream. Both groups are attacked by the natives and quickly figure out their predicament.
What sounds like fan fiction starts off well. The two teams are brought together by means previously established in their respective universes. Their mutual threat is more than just villains from each world joining forces, as we see in so many inter-company crossovers. It's a world to which they're philosophically opposed. This isn't the same evil world Kirk and his crewmates faced in "Mirror Mirror," but it is an identical empire with the same violent values. The Legion has always stood against warmongering empires that conquered and killed defenseless planets. So a team-up between these two groups is natural; especially when their survival depends on it.
Everyone is written in character. The Enterprise crew display their unique personalities, bantering and delivering witty comments. I'm not as big a fan of the Legion, but this story shows Brainiac 5 to be calm under pressure Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl in love and the whole team's respect for life. We don't see much more since this issue is mainly spent setting up the story and introducing the characters -- and it does that well.
This evil universe seems to combine elements of both Star Trek and DC comics. We see a ship commanded by Tom "Tommy" Tomorrow but staffed by Orions and Andorians. The attack forces include Space Ranger look-a-likes and shadow-casters from Talok VIII. Will it be revealed that Star Trek and Legion of Super-heroesshare the same timeline?
The art of Jeffery and Philip Moy often reminded me of Mark Bagley. Our heroes are bright and wide-eyed, with natural body shapes standing in sharp contrast to the dark, ruined world around them. Credit for that should be shared with colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., who sounds like a Star Trekalien himself. Action is quick and easy to follow. Characters are on-model; this is how I'd imagine them to look.
If you're a fan of either one of these groups, I'm confident you'll enjoy this issue. Our heroes are in a hostile world. Not only must they escape, but they have an opportunity to change this society for the better. This leads to the moral question of whether or not they should. Some of the best episodes of Star Trek are based around that premise. And it presents the Legion with a philosophical dilemma they don't usually encounter. I'm looking forward to (legally) downloading the rest of this series.
Michael Deeley is proudly serving in the US Air Force while inoculating his fellow airmen with his liberal views. He’s currently struggling to balance a life that includes family, career advancement, video games, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 in addition to comic books. He currently buys only three monthly series: Irredeemable, Incorruptible and Dark Horse Presents. The rest are minis, specials, trades and back issues.
Ray Tate: Curse those transporters! As the time-stream greets the Legion with a bumpy ride, Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and crew attempt to teleport to a graduating class event. Both Legion and Enterprisecrew end up on an alternate earth, but neither the Federation or United Federation of Planets Utopia.
The crossover's just starting out, and nothing really happens except setting up the situation. Chekov gets shot, but he's always in trouble. So, par for the course. The angry villagers of the dystopia express their outrage against shape-shifters such as Durlans like Chameleon Boy, but also the Dominion, the enemy from Deep Space Nineand also Odo's people. What's going on? Writer Chris Roberson gives no hints.
Roberson handles the Legion and Enterpriseofficers adequately. There's not a lot of interaction or moments for characterization in this issue. In fact, the best instance can be attributed to letterer Robbie Robbins who mimics William... Shatner's... halting delivery. Roberson does surprise early with a most unflattering version of Tommy Tomorrow and the Space Rangers. Not to worry. This is the mirror universe's Tommy Tomorrow, but it's a universe where Orions serve under him. So, something's seriously not right.
It must be a relief for the Moys to actually be able to illustrate Star Trek without pesky editors removing the artifacts from the panels. It's well known that the Moys during their stint on Legionnaires and The Legion of Super-Heroes slipped in Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater and Doctor Who references in the backgrounds or hidden in plain sight. Now their dreams have come true. The Legion and Star Trek together. The Moys do an excellent job capturing the likenesses of the classic Trek actors. You recognize them immediately, and they also imitate the body language. I'm actually a little surprised at how mature the Legion are in this adventure. I'm so used to the Moys' early teenaged heroes, but this version is quite palatable, and they include my favorite Legionnaire, Shadow Lass. Keep your eyes peeled for stuck out tongues in future issues of Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, for this is the Moy trademark. Although there isn't an opportunity for a good raspberry in this quiet beginning to what promises to be an excellent crossover, they're coming. Trust me.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.