In brightest day, in blackest night… it’s the return of IDW Publishing’s Star Trek / Green Lantern crossover comic series – a sequel to 2015’s The Spectrum War saga – in this first chapter of Stranger Worlds!
If you weren’t fortunate enough to read the first time IDW and DC Comics collaborated with each other, then you’re in for treat, particularly if you’re a Green Lantern fan as well. It’s an odd combination, to be sure, but the last crossover between the DC Universe and the Star Trek’s Kelvin Timeline was a well-received “otherworlds” tale that there’s a clear demand for a return to that shared universe.
The Spectrum War saw the struggle between the ringbearers of different factions (The Green Lantern Corps, The Sinestro Corps, the Star Sapphires, the Indigo Tribe, The Red Lanterns and the Blue Lanterns) with Nekron, the leader of the Black Lanterns.
Poised on the verge of defeat, Ganthet, the last of the Guardians of the Universe, sent the remaining defenders to an alternate universe to carry on the fight. Nekron followed them, and combining forces with James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise, the ringbearers were able to defeat Nekron once and for all.
However, that left the fate of the ringbearers to be determined in this reality.
Mike Johnston has taken up the challenge to connect Kelvin Trek to the DC Universe and with artist Angel Hernandez, crafted the first issue in a series that further explores the fate of these few “ring-slingers” – beginning with Guy Gardner, Kilowogg and John Stewart instructing a room full of Starfleet Academy cadets about the basics of their ring technology. Of course, while Gardner tries to hit on the Vulcan professors, his companions lament the loss of the power batteries that charge their rings.
But damn, if this isn’t a cool story to imagine: Hal Jordan’s arch-nemesis Sinestro is the new emperor of the Klingon Empire; Starfleet tries to replicate its own rings; Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris rescue Starfleet personnel from a crippled starbase. While there is so much going on, we also have to remember that Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lanterns of Rage, is also out there, somewhere deep within the Romulan Empire.
Johnston capitalizes on significant elements of both properties and exploits them well for his readers’ entertainment. Hal Jordan’s boldness is an easy match for Kirk’s own personality in pushing themselves to the limit for their respective duties. Jordan’s ring is near the point of exhaustion yet he still takes its life support to the maximum while rescuing the crew of the damaged starbase. In the end, Kirk manages to transport him to safety but this is a great example of the two evenly-matched personalities collaborating well.
However, I have to disagree with Sinestro as the choice of leading the Klingon Empire. Klingons are bloodthirsty in their pursuit of war – and while I see them as an excellent army for Sinestro to lead, his scheming personality would have been better suited to leading the Romulans. Atrocitus would have been a better match, yet I can understand Johnston’s choice in that their respective adversarial profiles are equal. When you think villains for each franchise, those are the two names that easily come to mind. (But if you read The Spectrum War, then you will recall that was where we left our villain… so I can’t complain too much.)
Angel Hernandez’s art is pretty lively. It’s a demanding role to recreate images from two iconic properties but Hernandez’s talent is up for the task. Which is good, considering that it has to satisfy the editorial department of two comic companies!
- The covers are fairly standard and similar to each other. Hernandez provides us with the standard cover, which sees a scheming Sinestro at the head of a Klingon army standing over Hal Jordan, John Stewart beside Spock and Kirk in heroic poses; nothing too striking.
- Rachael Stott’s subscription cover features a malevolent-looking Sinestro staring at the reader in a typical villain manner, crushing a solid-light projection of the Enterprise. Again, nothing too daring and fairly comic-standard.
- The fun retailer incentive cover, also by Angel Hernandez, imparts a degree of personality with all the positive spectrum Lanterns (Green, Blue and Violet) in a candid camera pose alongside the bridge crew of the Enterprise.
- The final design is a Nerd Block-exclusive cover (again from Hernandez) which actually features a central image of the Enterprise with Kirk and Spock over top of the ship, flanked by Hal Jordan and Sinestro. It’s a better cover than the other four in my opinion, and it’s definitely my favourite. Nerd Block definitely got its money’s worth out of this one.
Clearly, Johnston knows these properties well and has a lot of fun in describing them in a plot that is both engaging and entertaining. In fact, the final three pages of Stranger Worlds #1 really shows this familiarity and makes for a bit of a cliffhanger that really has me looking forward to the next issue.