Star Trek / Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #1 (Part one of six)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Angel Hernandez
Colourist: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Covers: Gabriel Rodriguez, Francesco Francavilla, Elsa Charretier and Gary Brown (Colours by Doug Garbark).
Editors: Sarah Gaydos for IDW and Jim Chadwick for DC Comics.
Release Date: 08/07/2015
Overview: On the Planet Mogo we find Ganthet; one of the Guardians of the Universe running from an unseen foe, he’s being followed by a number of power rings. Before the unknown foe can kill the Guardian; Ganthet declares he is going to a universe where his foe cannot follow and with that he disappears. In another universe the Starship Enterprise discovers a rogue planet. An away team is dispatched to investigate some unusual readings when they discover a corpse with a number of rings around the body. The corpse and rings are returned to the Enterprise where McCoy and Scotty begin an analysis. Meanwhile a Klingon bird of prey decloaks in front of the Enterprise, it’s commanded by General Chang who has been hunting Kirk down for months. While confronting Chang there’s an explosion in engineering. Scotty has managed to activate the rings but he can’t control them, the rings find new bearers from the Enterprise and Klingon crews. The Enterprise is badly damaged and just as Chang is about to take action the ship is enveloped by a green light. Power is restored, the ship has been rescued but by whom….
The Story: When it was announced that Star Trek would be crossing over with Green Lantern I was naturally dubious. Star Trek has a history of comic crossovers with other franchises including The X-Men, The Legion of Superheroes, Planet of the Apes and Doctor Who. Some have been good, while others have been wanting but this series would be different though, this would be the first time that the JJ Verse crew would be used with another franchise. I am open to any type of crossover but one of the most important concerns for me is that it has to make sense and of course it’s a good read.
Part one of The Spectrum War felt very much like it was easing you into the story. I thought the issue was well paced and while it was introducing some of the characters and plot elements that will span the series there was still enough going on to make it an enjoyable read without becoming bogged down.
Everyone enjoys a good mystery and Mike Johnson has certainly left us with more questions than we have answers for. I am looking forward to seeing the mystery unfold as we find out who the mysterious foe confronting Ganthet is and what led to the fall of the Guardians.
This issue dealt predominately with the crew of the Enterprise and Mike Johnson has managed to introduce the characters well to those who are perhaps fans of Green Lantern but are not so familiar with Star Trek. We have McCoy using his “he’s dead Jim” phrase while we see Scotty tinkering with new technology; we see the scientist in Spock and the leader in Kirk. Of course we had Klingons in the story too, even those who don’t know much about Star Trek will have heard of the Klingons. While I’m aware of Green Lantern and the Guardians, I’m hoping that Mike Johnson is able to introduce these characters in equally the same way so I can learn more about them.
I was surprised but pleased to see General Chang and I can’t help but wonder how long Mike Johnson has been waiting to introduce the character into the JJ Verse. I am looking forward to seeing how Chang and Kirk interact throughout the rest of the series. I am also hoping that we might see Chang in the ongoing series since as we know crossovers have a habit of being “reset” and the events are often forgotten or erased.
Mike Johnson has set the scene for the inevitable meeting of the most famous Green Lantern and the crew of the Enterprise in part two. I am glad that it seems the story isn’t going to be rushed, while I enjoy a story that is well paced I don’t want that to mean we lose character development in favour of action.
The Art: Angel Hernandez has worked for DC comics drawing such titles as Arrow and Infinite Crisis. This is the first time I have come across his work and I have to say I was highly impressed. From the opening panel I found his artwork very enjoyable, the Enterprise looks amazing (although at times I think I’m looking at the Enterprise from the Original Series films), his character likeness match those of Tony’ Shasteen’s and his background details rival that of Joe Corroney.
I enjoyed in particular his likenesses of Chris Pine and Karl Urban, Kirk and McCoy was spot on and with Mike Johnson’s words I could imagine I was watching them on the big screen. The details in sickbay and the bridge were also very good although it was interesting to see the returns of the lens flare.
Some panels that stood out for me were those of the away team on the rogue planet, the sick bay and engineering panels and those with General Chang. While Chang bore little resemblance to Christopher Plummer you could easily tell who it was (not just because of the eye patch) and that this Chang would be just as menacing as the original.
While the art is incredible a lot of credit also has to be given to colourist Alejandro Sanchez. This issue has a lot of colours that perhaps you wouldn’t find in a typical Star Trek story and they’re used really well. Some examples of this included the power rings, while being bright they blended in well with the rogue planet at the beginning of the issue. The page where the rings found their new bearers was also coloured well and this made the page stand out for me.
Normally when a new artist works on Star Trek it takes time (possibly over a number of issues) for them to get use to drawing the characters, the ships and backgrounds but here Angel Hernandez has done an incredible job and his art reflects that of someone who has been drawing Star Trek for some time. I am looking forward to seeing his work as the series progresses and his confidence grows.
The Covers: I am not entirely sure where to start with the covers. In total, issue one has a total of twenty four covers! When issue one of Star Trek / Planet of the Apes was released I was surprised to find eight covers but this is mind blowing. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that some of the most talented artists including Joe Corroney, Rachael Stott, Tony Shasteen, Angel Hernandez, and Francesco Francavilla have contributed but it’s going to be near impossible for someone in the UK to collect all of these covers, not just because of price but because some are US convention exclusives. I can understand why IDW and DC have had so many commissioned; they want to market the series as much as possible and to get the word out there but this really does seem too much.
Looking at the covers though, I really liked those drawn by Joe Corroney, Rachael Stott, Tony Shasteen, Angel Hernandez, Francesco Francavilla, Adam Riches and Elsa Charretier. Each of these stood out for me (see below), they were different and the character likenesses were really good. I must mention that Joe Corroney drew two covers which joined together make one picture and the Adam Riches cover took inspiration from the film poster of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
While there may be twenty four covers the good thing is that there will be a cover for everyone, with so much artistic talent on show here, I am confident that you will find a cover that you will like. Of course, that’s if you can find it.
Overall: A great first issue, Mike Johnson has set the scene for the rest of the series and the art by Angel Hernandez certainly stands out. I am looking forward to reading more but whether it’s a good crossover series still needs to be seen.