Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Writer: Chris Roberson
Pencils: Jeffrey Moy
Inks: Phil Moy
Colors: Romula Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Cover artists: Phil Jimenez/Keith Giffen/Gabriel Rodriguez (variants)
Editor: Chris Ryall
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99 US
Now this is more like it. Both of DC’s New 52 titles featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes have proven to be disappointments, which came as a surprise and a letdown to this longtime Legion fan. But the good news is writer Chris Roberson got the Legion right for this crossover limited series from IDW Publishing. He and his artists embrace the inherent fun and adventure of the traditional Legion and the original incarnation of Star Trek to arrive at a light, entertaining result. Mind you, not much happens in this inaugural issue, as Roberson’s script is understandably divided between two casts of characters dealing with the same problem from opposite ends, so I suspect the series will read better as a collected edition. But I was nevertheless tickled by the campy, nostalgic approach to these two properties and look forward to the second issue.
The Enterprise heads back to Earth after a series of deep-space missions as Capt. James T. Kirk is to give a commencement address at Star Fleet Academy, giving the crew the chance to enjoy some much-deserved shore leave. And in another universe, six members of the Legion of Super-Heroes navigate the time stream on their way home after a mission in the past. After the Legionnaires encounter a vortex in time and the Star Fleet officers experience a freak transporter accident, the two parties find themselves in an alternate world in which a united planetary organization rules over the galaxy with an iron fist.
When I saw Jeffrey Moy’s name adorning the cover as the credited penciller for this comic book, I was thrilled. I adored his work on Legionnaires back in the 1990s; he brought a soft, innocent, fun look to the Legion. He still brings the same wide-eyed look to his characters in this latest project, but the softer, cleaner lines that characterized his work more than a decade ago. I suspect it’s because he’s not joined by his usual inking partner W.C. Carani here, but is rather inked by brother Phil Moy. The result remains appealing, and there’s a rougher look at play that suits the dictatorial qualities of the antagonists. The Moys definitely seem more comfortable when handling the DC super-hero characters as opposed to those based on real-life actors, but they manage to instill plenty of personality into the characters. The split-screen approach to some of the storytelling — as we watch similar events unfold for the two casts of characters — is fairly effective. I like the designs for the merged Trek/DC reality as well. To be fair, there aren’t any visuals that really stand out as innovative or meticulously detailed, but the art is solid and tells the story clearly.
As a longtime DC fan, I enjoyed seeing some rather obscure DC space-opera heroes incorporated into the dark amalgam in which the protagonists find themselves. Casting Tommy Tomorrow as an evil starship captain was a nice Easter egg for comics readers such as myself, but at the same time, one needn’t be familiar with the Silver Age space adventurer to follow this plot. Blending Vulcans and Coluans into one race in the merged reality was a fun twist as well, and I appreciated the reference to the “Space Rangers” too.
This first issue doesn’t bring the crew of the Enterprise together with the Legion at all, and really, Roberson is only setting the stage for the story here. It’s clear the plot will be about the heroes’ efforts to escape from the weird world in which they find themselves and to return to their respective realities. The notion of two disparate teams coming together in an alternate universe puts me in mind of the Earth-1 and 2 crossovers from the Justice League of America comics of the 1960s and ’70s, and there’s a straightforward, traditional tone in that vein here that’s a lot of fun.
I was a little surprised Roberson didn’t use the Silver Age incarnations of the Legion, as those original interpretations of the characters were around at the same time as the original Trek series. Furthermore, it would open the door to the possibility of a sequel crossover title, featuring the 1980s or ’90s Legionnaires encounter the Next Generation crew of the Enterprise. I was also surprised Roberson didn’t opt to use the much younger incarnations of the classic Trek heroes (as per the recent movie), as pairing the wet-behind-the-ears Enterprise crew with teenage versions of the Legionnaires seems like it would’ve been a natural choice as well. But to be fair, those are minor quibbles with marketing angles rather than the quality of the storytelling here. 7/10
Follow Eye on Comics on Twitter.