30th-century Legionnaires of the United Planets find themselves on the wrong Earth with 23rd-century Starfleet officers of the United Federation of Planets in the first two issues of a six-issue crossover mini-series from IDW Publishing and DC Comics. Time travel, an evil empire, spoilers and impressions after the break.
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (of 6)
written by Chris Roberson, penciled by Jeffrey Moy, inked by Philip Moy, colored by Romulo Fajardo, Jr., lettered by Robbie Robbins, edited by Chris Ryall
While an Imperial Planets fleet bombards Durla, forcing the shapeshifting species into submission, a team of young adventurers from the 30th-century is returning home in a time bubble, and the Enterprise is recalled to Earth. The time bubble is caught in a vortex and must make an emergency landing. Kirk and his crew beam down to San Francisco. Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, Braniac 5 and Lightning Lad find themselves on 23rd-century Earth, but it’s not their Earth. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov find themselves on 23rd-century Earth too, and it’s not their Earth either. The humans living on the heart of the Imperial Planets are the most rapacious and power-hungry sentients in recorded history.
Our Legionnaires and Starfleet officers are in double trouble. We sense that as soon as we see the emblem of the Imperial Planets which has twice as many broadswords piercing the Earth as the emblem of the more familiar Terran Empire. I get the feeling that writer Chris Roberson is very comfortable in the Trek universe and enjoys the job of melding two comics franchises. If he’s having a good time, I think readers will enjoy the results. Is he doing the Legionnaires justice? I only have vague memories of the Legion from its earliest incarnation as backup to Superboy. Saturn Girl, Mon-El and Brainiac 5 are the only characters I remember from those long-ago days. Given Roberson’s pedigree as a science fiction and fantasy writer (including Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions), I trust he’ll treat them right.
This issue merely sets the stage for the story to come, but it has some interesting layouts and panels. The brothers Moy, who previously worked on Star Trek comics for Wildstorm and Marvel, explore several thousand years of human history in a few pages with great attention to detail and Fajardo’s colors are perfect, subtle when they need to be, vibrant when it’s right for the story. Robbie Robbins seems to letter everything IDW publishes. I wonder if he ever gets a vacation? A nice job by everyone involved. I’m ready for the next installment.
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (of 6)
written by Chris Roberson, penciled by Jeffrey Moy, inked by Philip Moy, colored by Romulo Fajardo, Jr., lettered by Chris Mowry, edited by Chris Ryall
The unseen emperor of the Imperial Planets announces victory over Durla and a threat analysis of Organian, Controller, Klingon, Khund and Borg relations. The Legionnaires escape from a mob, but have to leave their damaged time capsule behind. On the other side of the continent, Kirk and his crew steal a shuttle and escape security forces, giving Spock time to study the history of this Earth. Brainy detects another time anomaly and directs the Legionnaires west to the site, setting up a confrontation between Legion and Starfleet personnel. Meanwhile, Imperial security takes an interest in the abandoned time capsule.
The emperor speaks.
Roberson begins to move the story along in issue #2, showing us the resourcefulness of Legionnaires and Starfleet officers. He also provides a fascinating look at familiar adversaries of the empire, its history, and introduces the emperor without showing his face. Basically, he’s done a nice job of ratcheting up suspense and my interest in this story arc. The Moy brothers get down to business showing individual characters in action across both inner city and arid desert landscapes. This very dynamic issue is also highlighted by Fajardo’s colors. And Robbie Robbins finally got a break. Chris Mowry competently handles lettering for this issue. So we have three good teams at work here, the Legion, Starfleet, and these creators. I’m wondering of Kirk or any of his crew will get to try out flight rings?
The covers and more …
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 ships with six covers, with a seventh cover (a second printing) on the way. All the covers are striking in their own way. My favorite is Keith Giffen’s tortured battle landscape with a battered and bruised Spock, waiting tensely with phaser ready. Its got absolutely nothing to do with the story in this issue, but it’s a great cover. Spock is all over the covers for this issue. Does Spock sell comics? One of the covers is a Hastings Exclusive. For those of you who don’t live in the Mid-West or Western US, Hastings Entertainment is a brick & mortar chain based in Texas, selling books, music and movies in small to medium-sized cities. Last year they jumped into direct market comics retailing with both corporate feet and have been featuring monthly comics with exclusive covers from various publishers.
There are a mere three covers for Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #2. Each B cover of this mini-series is drawn by a classic LSH artist. This issue features Steve Lightle, whose striking Good Girl Art style Uhura draws attention. George Rodriguez continues to pair up Star Trek characters with Legionnaires in mirror poses. Kirk and Cosmic Boy are featured on issue #2. Phil Jimenez provides a dramatic Kirk cover, surrounded by Enterprise crew and Legionnaires.
And if that isn’t enough Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes for you, IDW distributed a 4 in. x 6 in. signing card promoting the mini-series at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con.
2011 San Diego Comic-Con signing card, front and back
If you would like to know more about the creators, here are some links:
- Writer: Chris Roberson
- Pencils: Jeffrey Moy
- Inker: Philip Moy
- Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
- Letters: Robbie Robbins
- Letters: Chris Mowry
- Editor: Chris Ryall
- Cover A artist: Phil Jimenez
- Cover B artist: Keith Giffen
- Cover B inker: Scott Koblish
- Cover B artist: Steve Lightle
- Cover RI artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
If you are a Legion newbie like me, information about their history (dating back to 1958) can be found out on the intertubes:
- From Wikipedia: Legion of Super-Heroes
- Legion of Super-Heroes: An Introduction
- The Legion of Super-Heroes
- Legion Wiki
- And this article from left-field also caught my eye: Through a Faceted Lens of History: The Trek to the Legion of Superheroes: A History of the Post-Federation and Pre-Legion Era Of The Wold Newton Universe
The IDW solicitation places this story in the Legion timeline after events chronicled in the Great Darkness Saga, written by Paul Levitz, with art by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt. As a Legion-challenged reader, I needed more information:
- From Wikipedia: The Great Darkness Saga
- From the Bronze Age Babies blog: Part one of a multi-part in-depth examination of the individual comics making up the Great Darkness Saga
- A very brief excerpt from the DC Comics trade paperback (PDF)
- And if you want a copy of the trade paperback, try Amazon, but shop around; the price varies widely: The Great Darkness Saga
Many local comic shops sold out of Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1, but the second printing will be at your local comic shop this week, along with issue #2. IDW Star Trek comics can also be purchased online at TFAW. A trade paperback collection will be published spring or summer 2012.
Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.