One of the least expected pieces of dialogue I’ve ever read in a comic was Hal Jordan expecting Sinestro to plant a bat’leth in his back.
It’s an unexpected and unlikely piece of comic engineering to meld these two properties together, but that’s the type of thing you’ll read in Stranger Worlds #2, this month’s chapter of the new Star Trek / Green Lantern crossover.
And it works.
Mike Johnson delivers another entertaining fun story in his treatment of these two properties; and while you can’t take this as canon, it’s definitely enjoyable.
Don’t get me wrong – Johnson isn’t disrespectful to either of these two properties; just because they don’t play a part in each other’s mainstream universes, it doesn’t mean that Johnson is forcing them to fit into each other’s respective continuum. In fact, it’s the opposite, with care, he finds details that from each continuum that make the story work in this issue.
For example, in the opening sequence, we see a classic match-up between arch-nemeses, Jordan and Sinestro fighting over the Manhunter relic they discovered. It holds a clue to restoring their partially-functioning rings in this universe. This scene is filled with classic repartee that you would expect from any regular Green Lantern book. However, we also see Kirk’s tactical response to the situation coupled with Spock’s cool reasoned advice. This all takes place in a matter of a few panels but already a reader gets a sense of the familiar qualities that make both these properties memorable.
The main objective in this issue is to find the Oa that exists in the new reality the Green Lanterns have found themselves in. If it exists, then all of the Lanterns, regardless of their place in the spectrum, would be able to recharge their dwindling rings.
Of course, if Sinestro gets to it first, then his ability to lead the Klingon Empire to dominance in the galaxy is certainly assured.
Both Star Trek and comics fans are incredibly attentive to their continuities. It’s these two groups that writers in both fandoms respect and fear. The respect comes from their historical knowledge of the property and their awareness about the subjects. A real comic reader would not only have an innate sense of the correctness of the characters but also the plausibility of their responses to a given situation.
There’s no way that the other Green Lanterns could ignore a threat like Atrocitus. So when word of his attack on a starbase gets back to Earth, Kilowog, Guy Gardner and John Stewart take the first warp-capable transport to rendezvous with the Enterprise. It’s not only understandable but expected.
IDW is making the most out of its Star Trek license. But this isn’t just about the respectful way in which the license if being maintained, it’s also an example of the savvy relationship-building with other publishing houses like DC Comics. This is fine collaboration – a literal creative nexus point combining the properties and talents of three dynamic idea factories. If you think about, this comic – while fun and entertaining in its own right – is an example of what other creative companies should be doing with their properties.
Mike Johnson makes the two properties work seamlessly. Kirk completely respects Jordan’s impulsiveness and Carol Ferris’s relationship with Montgomery Scott is completely acceptable. Mike has made permutations of the character relationships that I wouldn’t have expected but am completely entertained by.
So when a fateful villain arrives unexpectedly at the end of the book, released by Atrocitus, the leader of the Red Lanterns of rage, I was completely taken by surprise. Even though that particular incarnation of the villain is a tender spot with me, Johnson exploits it well for this particular storyline. I need to sit on his shoulder and watch him create. It would be a lesson, that’s for sure.
Turning to the art, Angel Hernandez’s clean, dynamic lines serve this book very well. His paneling paces the action well and accelerates the reader through the story. Hernandez’s art makes this book flow.
As usual, there are a variety of covers to go with this title.
- The regular cover by Angel Hernandez is a fateful one with Sinestro in the foreground and a crashing Enterprise behind him. Definitely a very dramatic cover and certainly captures the accuracy and the intensity of the story.
- The artist’s edition variant cover – also by Hernandez – is a deliciously evil rogue’s gallery of villains. Sinestro, Larfleeze, and Atrocitus, grinning and standing menacingly over an outstretched Star Fleet hand must have been a lot of fun for Hernandez to draw. The black and white compilation really shows off Hernandez’s skill to its best. Out of the three covers, this is the one I enjoyed the most.
- The retailer-incentive cover by Jen Bartel is also enjoyable. A stylized rendering of Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire and Lieutenant Uhura fighting alongside each other is dynamic and striking.
This book is a delight to read. It’s an unexpected combination of franchises, but the combination of talent and careful attention to characters and the qualities that these successful properties possess make it a successful one.