The final issue of Stranger Worlds, and this combined DC Comics/IDW endeavor has been a blast of a ride!
Mike Johnson and Angel Hernandez have my complete respect for making this story work. It’s a difficult task to meld two properties from different publishing houses together, but by paying attention to the common literary elements in the two properties, they gave this storyline rings … uh, I mean, wings.
It flew too fast, though – at least, that’s my impression. There was a tremendous amount of work in the last five issues for this epic level series of confrontations to be over so fast.
In last month’sst issue, we see classic face-offs between Khan and Kirk, Sinestro and the senior Green Lanterns – and, of course, Hal Jordan; and we see the Enterprise crew manage a miracle in combat against overwhelming amounts of Klingon Birds of Prey. Well, the Kelvin Universe ones, at least.
In last month’s issue, we saw the Green Ring find a new bearer with Captain Kirk. It makes sense that Kirk should be chosen as the next fearless ring-bearer in this reality. But that’s a trademark of Mike Johnson: he is able to match up the character traits between both franchises to create workable and believable plot lines simply by through his expert knowledge of both franchises.
Still, I would have liked to have seen this series of confrontations (Kirk vs. Khan, Sinestro and Parallax vs. the Green Lanterns, etc.) take place over two books. There were too many battles to be resolved in just one book; it needed to be savoured and enjoyed. After all, Khan and Sinestro are our heroes’ greatest nemeses, and they deserved a more grandiose conflict.
(And on a side note: I noticed that Parallax wasn’t referred to by his name, simply the “Yellow Entity.” Hmm, copyright issues?)
Still, it was enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the little possible teaser for more DC / Star Trek goodness at the end of the story. I hesitate to describe any more, but suffice it to say that it is a nifty thing to consider but doubtful that even Mike Johnson could make it work.
There was something off about Angel Hernandez’s usually stunning work in this book. I noticed a lack of definition in some of the background panels. For example, when the other Green Lanterns look on, there is a lack of facial features.
While one may explain this as being obscured by the spill of ring energy being thrown around, it simply gave me the impression that the scene had been rushed somewhat. Still, Hernandez has clean, beautiful lines in his art. It’s fresh, dynamic and usually very exciting.
What was interesting in this book is the number of open storylines Johnson has left for us. They are definitely very clever and certainly lend themselves to opening up a third volume of this entertaining crossover.
The variant covers for this book include work from some creators I’ve never seen before. It was definitely enjoyable to be introduced to new art.
- The subscription cover (above, center) is by George Caltsoudas. His work has a very identifiable style and I especially enjoyed the pulp fiction feel it had to it. In the past, I’ve described Caltsoudas’s work as having an art deco appeal. In this case, there is a definitely an aspect of another period of comic art and even Hal Jordan’s domino mask is drawn in a very 1940’s pulp serial fashion.
- The retailer incentive cover (right) is by Elizabeth Beals. I can’t say that I enjoyed this cover too much. It had too much of a soft, plushy texture to its imagery. Killowog looked like a creature from a fairy tale book cover and Guy Gardiner’s expression seemed more impish or pixie-like than his usual braggadocio attitude. The Enterprise seemed too stunted and short as well.
- For my favourite cover, I’d have to go with Angel Hernandez’s regular cover (left). It’s a classic pose and exactly the type of attitude you’d want to see displayed by the Green Lanterns and the crew of the Enterprise.
While this has been a very entertaining series, I’d have to say that the last issue seemed rushed. Definitely a thrill-ride with a lot of action and some very innovative possibilities for future storytelling, but for a series of final encounters with arch-nemeses galore, I would have liked to see more drawn out conflict.
I’d like to see more of Khan’s Augments, squadrons of Klingon soldiers on the ground, fueled by Khan’s red ring of rage and even more from the Guardians in this reality. After all, they are some of the most powerful beings in the universe. Why couldn’t they offer more in this combat?
Like I said, both Johnson and Hernandez have my respect for the work they did on this book, but don’t take my word for it.
Have a read and see for yourself — or preorder the trade paperback, coming in September — and sound off with your thoughts in our comments section below!