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Star Trek – New Visions #1: The Mirror, Cracked (Review)

The first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, was produced in 1964. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, this December we are reviewing the second season of the original Star Trek show. You can check out our first season reviews here. Check back daily for the latest review.

It is interesting the ideas that wind up becoming the focal points for fans and tie-in fiction.

For example, there is a wealth of tie-in material based around individual episodes of the Star Trek franchise. Despite the fact that Gary Seven only appeared in Assignment: Earth, the character has inspired tie-in novels and comic books about his exploits from a wealth of different writers. Similarly, the history of Khan Noonien Singh has been thorough explored (and re-explored) in various novels and comic books as well, despite the fact that he only appeared in one episode of the classic television show and one of the theatrical films – his popularity grew to the point where he reappeared in the rebooted series.

Boom, boom, boom, shake the bridge!

Boom, boom, boom, shake the bridge!

There is a lot of fixation on the perceived “missing” adventures from Kirk’s five-year mission, a revisionism that occasionally seems intended to downplay the two seasons of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Michael Jan Friedman wrote a series of novels exploring Captain Picard’s tenure commanding the Stargazer. There is a wealth of material filling the gaps between The Turnabout Intruder and Star Trek: The Motion Picture; and from there to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

In contrast, there is less material filling the gap between the opening sequences of Star Trek: Generations and Encounter at Farpoint; particularly if you exclude material focusing on Captain Sulu or Captain Picard. The Lost Era novel series was short-lived, and the comics have little interest in it. Similarly, the tie-in novels may have expanded continuity past Endgame, but there is an incredible “safeness” to it all. Sure, Deep Space Nine might be destroyed; but it will be rebuilt with most of the same craft. Voyager may be home, but it’ll be sent out again. Janeway may die, but she’ll be back.

A transporter, darkly...

A transporter, darkly…

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Flashpoint (Review)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, following a week full of Flash stories.

Our world is in a violent transition of great change.

– President Obama tells us how it is

I really liked Flashpoint. I liked Flashpoint almost as much as I enjoyed Blackest Night, and far more than I enjoyed most big blockbuster “event” comic books. I think that Flashpoint buckles under the weight of the relaunch that followed – I find it quite sad that so many fans initially ignored the event only to jump on at the last minute because it was “suddenly important.” Does Flashpoint offer a fitting send-off to a version of the DC shared universe that dates back to Crisis on Infinite Earths? It doesn’t really, even if it offers some compelling arguments in favour of the relaunch that followed. Still, it’s a fascinating story about the icons who populate this shared universe, and what makes these enduring characters such heroic figures. Or, rather, what doesn’t make them heroic figures.

Flash sideways…

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The Marvels Project (Review/Retrospective)

hIn celebration of the 4th of July and the release of Captain America: The First Avenger later this month, we’re jumping into Marvel’s comic book alternate history and taking a look at the star-spangled avenger every Wednesday this month.

Truth be told, I’m not sure what to make of The Marvels Project, a miniseries from Ed Brubaker. Brubaker has been doing acclaimed work on Captain America for some years now, so I guess I almost figured that The Marvels Project would be an extension of that – a period piece set during the Second World War which would allow perhaps the definitive Captain America author to put his own stamp on that iconic comic book origin. For better or worse, this isn’t really that story – sure, Steve Rogers’ early career is covered, but as one small section of a much larger puzzle. Far more than the origin of Captain America, The Marvels Project is the origin of the Marvel Universe.

Carryin' the torch...

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Superman: The Animated Series – Brave New Metropolis

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. Since I looked at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths earlier, I thought it might be worth a look at what a world run by a well-intentioned Superman might look like.

The interesting thing about Superman is that, as a character, he’s very frequently defined by what he isn’t – or what he shouldn’t be. It’s very hard to codify what Superman is, but easy to agree on what he shouldn’t be (for example, the suggestion that Superman should be light and fuzzy is more likely to spark an argument than the observation that he shouldn’t be dark; or the suggestion that he should be a “sci-fi” hero is bound to more controversial than the suggestion that he shouldn’t be a street-level vigilante). Stories like Mark Millar’s superb Red Son define the character by what he isn’t (a proactive political figure) – while interpretations seeking to define the character in more positive terms are frequently divisive (for example, the space hero of James Robinson’s New Krypton or the “down with the people” “wandering the earth” traveler in Grounded). Brave New Metropolis follows a similar structure, in defining Superman by what he isn’t or shouldn’t be: he shouldn’t be a ruler or people.  

Lex Luthor is bald because he got sick of people holding him like that...

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