Graphic Detail reviews a new graphic novel or trade paperback release every week.
If you like geeky things, you've probably accepted by now that crossovers just happen. Aliens and Predators? The Justice League and the Avengers? The Flintstones and the Jetsons? At some point, two things you love to love might be thrown together. Sometimes that gets awkward and lame, but other times it can be magical. Most of the time, knowing the risks, we'll settle for something that's just "okay."
Fortunately for us, IDW and DC Comics' recent collaboration shoots well past "okay" to "pretty darn good." We're talking about their 2011-2012 miniseries Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, released yesterday as one complete hardcover volume. You might have thought that you'd never see the classic Star Trek crew stand toe-to-toe with super-powered characters (even though they crossed over in the '90s TWICE with the X-Men, but whatever), but what happens when they do is, well, a lot of fun.
Here's the story: the Legion of Super-Heroes, a group of young adventurers from DC Comics' 31st century, is on their way back home after fixing a crisis in time (which is their thing). Meanwhile, the crew of the original USS Enterprise are headed to Earth so Captain Kirk can, of all things, deliver a keynote speech at Starfleet Academy's graduation ceremony. However, while both groups are in transit, a temporal catastrophe occurs, and all of a sudden both timelines are erased. In their place stands a bleak world where Earth is the center of a galactic empire and free will has basically been wiped out. What the heck happened?
Come to find out, as you might have guessed, this was all masterminded by a perpetrator who has ties to both the worlds of Star Trek and DC Comics. We won't spoil who since it’s not revealed 'til two-thirds of the way through the book, but… think "ancient human being." Actually, one of the most clever things writer Chris Roberson does here is find a very economical way to tie these two separate universes together; fans of both might be surprised at how organically these two properties can be merged.
Anyway, as these things go, after a brief tussle that results from a misunderstanding, six Legionnaires and six Enterprise crewpeople team up to bring the bad guy down. What results is a lot of Silver Age-style comic book action, which means lots of quippy humor to go along with the broad adventure plot. That's good, because it ends up making the book feel a lot like an episode of the classic Star Trek series, which was, you know, pretty campy. In fact, Roberson nails the voice of these characters; you can practically hear William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and the rest as you read this book. He probably does just as good a job with the Legion, but unless you watched their cartoon, you probably don't know what those guys are supposed to sound like.
Speaking of capturing essences, artist Jeffrey Moy does a great job handling the iconic facial features of the classic Trek crew. There's enough detail to ensure everyone looks like you expect them to, but the pencils are fluid enough to convey the fast-paced action scenes this book needs. The Legionnaires look good ,too; they're certainly drawn more in a Silver Age vein here, but again, that works with the general feel of the book (though people reading the New 52 Legion series might be a little confused).
A lot of this book is kind of corny and old-school, which makes sense given the characters it's working with. But as the story reaches its conclusion, things get a little more sophisticated, with some nice philosophy and a few plot points to ponder. This kind of coincides with the introduction of a favorite Next Generation supporting character in the book's climax; again, no spoilers, but his presence really ties this whole thing together, and it brings the story to a great end.
Do you like classic Star Trek and/or Silver Age comics? Do you think it would be great to combine them? Check this out! Do you feel like stuff from the '60s is incurably dated? Maybe this isn't for you, but you could tell that from the cover. While Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes starts off like a pretty standard sci-fi/superhero action mash-up, its last few chapters bring it to a place that should really resonate with Trek and Legion fans. Basically, it's a really fun series with a great villain and a killer ending. At their core, both Star Trek and Legion of Super-Heroes are all about hope for the future, you know? Well, I kinda hope we see something like this again. B