Monday, November 14, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond

Well, it was better than the previous "new" Star Trek films. Slightly. It started off great. I loved the opening scene showing a diplomatic Kirk in front of an assembly of humanoid-mini-lions(??). The Starbase Yorktown looked amazing. A Starbase that was basically an entire world, with cities and skyscrapers? So cool. So far it was seeming more like a Star Trek film and less like every other action movie made in the past ten years. Then it proceeded to turn into every other action movie made in the past ten years. Explosions, fight scenes, jumpy cameras.

The plot was OK, though it mostly consisted of them wondering around "Endor" trying to survive. I do enjoy when the Enterprise crashes, it always looks awesome. Plus these villains are just insane. That ability to swarm and burrow... damn that was awesome. However I did not find the main villain Krall to be that interesting. Still, the way Kirk and crew finally defeat the swarm is pretty great, and funny. The character Jaylah was very good... sort of a Rey rip-off in a way though.

The cast in these films are great. Quinto is just so damn perfect as Spock. Pegg is fun, Pine, Urban and the rest never seem to fail. The movie had nice little tributes to Yelchin and Nimoy. George Tekai was disappointed that they made Sulu gay, a character in which he says had been straight this entire time only to suddenly not be. Which I get. But, remember, this is supposed to be an alternate reality. So this gives them the ability to basically do anything without messing up the shows continuity. Which is VERY convenient.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Star Trek: Peter Pan Comic Records

The Star Trek Peter Pan comics/records ran from 1975 to 1979. Half of the stories were writing by Alan Dean Foster which is cool, and a handful of the artwork was done by Neal Adams which is awesome. That being said, I was surprised at how much I hated the stories and found the artwork just OK. Not all of the stories had comics for them, so those ones I actually found the record audio on YouTube. Let me tell you, they were boring as shit. Some of the early one's seemed to literally be recorded in old-timey radio style. Like a bunch of guys standing around one microphone and some other guy in the corner smacking coconuts together. In most of the comics Sulu was a black guy and Uhura was a blond white woman... I mean, it's 1975.. by now I assume everyone has heard of Star Trek. Explain to me, why and how they messed this up! They do however manage to reference small details from both TOS and TAS??

The comics from 1979 show the crew in the gray uniforms from The Movie. All characters look as they should.

1. "Passage to Moauv" (1975 comic) - Not a very original plot. It seems to happen frequently in most of the Star Trek comics. The Enterprise ends up getting some animal on board that turns out to be a telepath and it makes the crew go insane.

2. "In Vino Veritas" (1975 audio) - Insufferably boring. I actually fell asleep and then had to re-listen to it. It's the Enterprise crew sitting around a table with dignitaries talking.... That really seems to be all that happens.

3. "The Crier in Emptiness" (1975 comic) - I'm not sure if I was supposed to laugh at this one, but I did. The Enterprise is assaulted by a being of pure sound. The only solution is to have Lt. Connors play a giant keyboard like he was Jeff Lynne from ELO.


4. "The Time Stealer" (1975, comic) - Corny, but I liked it. A Wizard and Barbarian end up  battling the Enterprise. After making peace with them, Kirk soon discovers that magic may indeed be real. This was written by Cary Bates and Neal Adams. Typically I hate 99% of the writing involved with Neal Adams but not this one. Don't get me wrong, I love Neal Adams art. In fact, his Lantern/Arrow comics are one of my all-time favorites. Though even those, the ultra-hippy b-s writing made we want to die.

5. "To Starve a Fleaver" (1975, audio) - A dignitary from a newly discovered colony accidentally infects the crew with lice. Something like that.

6. "A Mirror for Futility" (1975, comic) - The Enterprise happens upon two gigantic alien starship's locked in an eternal battle. The race is long dead but these two ships are on computer power and will fight on forever. Not a bad story, it's been done before however.

7. "The Logistics of Stampede" (1975, audio) - A planet needs help killing off a stampede of cattle because they keep killing their crops. Something like that.

8. "The Man Who Trained Meteors" (1979, audio) - This was by far the best audio story. The Enterprise is about to meet the ruler of Perinda IV when suddenly the city is destroyed by multiple meteor strikes. The Enterprise is also threatened by a voice, saying that they too will be destroyed. Kirk finds out that this is the former ruler of Perinda IV. He has crazy telekinetic powers. He turns the crew into zombies and begins his coupe of the planet. Luckily Spock is unaffected. He stops Zombie-Scotty from blowing up the ship and subdues the crazed ex-ruler.

9. "The Robot Masters" (1979, comic) -  Ehhh. The Romulans steal a shipment of robots meant for Scotty in order to start a robot army. First of all, they never use robots on the Enterprise. At least not ones that look like B-9. Secondly, the Romulans are green and resemble Genghis Khan. Again.. it's 1979, nobody remembers what the Romulans liked like on TOS?

10. "Dinosaur Planet" (1979, comic) - Kirk and crew encounter intelligent dinosaurs. Not a bad idea I guess.

11. "The Human Factor" (1979, audio) - Uhura and others are taken by a race called the Garrusians. This planet worships computers so they need to steal people in order to keep them programmed. Kirk works out a compromise to have The Federation assist the culture.



On a scale of 1-5 Saurian Brandy's. I give the Star Trek Peter Pan comics a 1.5

Next Up: Star Trek: UK Comic Strip

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gold Key Comics - TOS #42- 61

The final run of Gold Key comics were fantastic. They rehash and/or expand on classic Star Trek characters and episodes. Lots of fun, beautiful artwork by Al McWilliams and great writing by George Kashdan. This batch also has great ads in them, such as Star Wars movie paraphernalia ones and disco album advertisements. Picking five top ones was tough, there are many good comics here. One with a ghost and cyborg in it, a few undercover operation episodes (which I love) and an Andorian murder mystery.

I also read the script for the never made issue #62 Trial By Fire. Kirk and Bones are trapped on a planet about to be obliterated by a fireball. Has an appearance by the USS Exeter post Omega Glory. Check it out, it's at least interesting to see what a comic book script looks like. Way crappier than I expected. http://www.startrekcomics.info/images/goldkey/st62script.pdf

I decided to read the Whitman Dynabrite Comic (reprint of The Evictors/The Choice) and the Dan Curtis Mini-comic Giveaway (reprint of Enterprise Mutiny/Dark Traveler).



The best of this bunch:

 #43 1977 "World beneath the waves"
The crew visit a planet where the inhabitants live underwater. This environment is not used much in Star Trek, so it was interesting to see. These people had to adapt to the water after their land was devastated by radiation. Kirk discovers that there are indeed land people, but a cover up seems to be afoot. Barbara McCoy is in this comic and she is a great character. I love how she seems to really hate her father.


#49 1977 "A warp in space"
Bringing back our old friends Zefram Cochrane and the Companion from the episode Metamorphosis. Kirk needs assistance from the famed scientist in order to figure out the disappearance of several experimental starships. They are all attempting to push the limits of warp. The Companion, however, seems hell bent on sabotaging things.


#50 Jan 1978 "The planet of no life"
Kirk and a rich snobby ensign are trapped on a planets surface. Unfortunately for Kirk, his recent nemesis The Evictors are back to torture him. The young ensign quickly turns on Kirk in order to save his own head.



#56 Oct 1978 "No time like the past"
A crazy ex-dictator escapes into the Guardian of Forever and changes history. Kirk, Spock and Bones go back in time in order to set things right. They must make sure the encounter between Hannibal and the Romans goes the way history planned.


 #61 Mar 1979 "Operation con game"
Kirk loses out to the Klingon's on an important bid for a planets dilithium. They discover that this dilithium seems to be fake, and a surprising old foe is behind the ruse. Lets just say, things get a little muddy...





These Gold Key comics are a diamond in the rough. People talk shit about them, but I feel they never really read them. They get increasingly better and better as the run goes on. I enjoyed the art and writing, as well as the heavy use of Scotty.

On a scale of 1-5 Saurian Brandy's. I give Star Trek Gold Key series a 4

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gold Key Comics - TOS #21- 41

The Gold Key series continues to impress. They eventually iron out the inconsistencies that everyone complains about. In fact only the first handful in the series are really a mess. Although, at one one point in issue #41 Kirk says "Dr. Spock". Nonetheless, this next group had some real gems (also a few blah ones).


 Issue's #33 to #41 are particularly great, including one with McCoy's daughter (and Kirk keeps hitting on her??). The writing really turns from "text book" comic story lines into movie quality plots and dialogue. The interior art work remains good, however the covers are starting to look really corny.
 


The best of this bunch:
 

 

#33 1975 "The Choice"
The Enterprise is sent to a section of space in which the Big Bang is thought to have originated. There they find a pod floating, and inside is .... Kirk! He tells the other Kirk to make the right choice (though no one understands what he means). It ends in a battle between two Enterprise's.


#36 1976 "A Bomb In Time"

A rogue scientists takes a powerful bomb into Earth's past. They do not know exactly what time period but they norrow it down to two years/places. Kirk goes to 1955 Hollywood and Scotty to 1855 Old West. Great writing in this one, it would have made a solid episode or even a fun old Star Trek movie. Certainly would be better than Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


#38 1976 "One of Our Captain's is Missing"
Kirk is suddenly relieved of duty and replaced by a Captain Zarlo (who seems inept, and the crew can't stand him). Kirk has actually been sent on an undercover mission to thwart a Klingon take over on a nearby planet. Another one that one make a decent film. Again the writing is great, but for some reason I can never tell who the writer is on these comics.


#39 1976 "Prophet of Peace
Kirk and crew recover a cryogenic sleep pod from deep space. It contains an iconic scientist from Earth's past. This guy was a brilliant scientist but also a prophet of peace. No one wonder he literally looks like a mix of Ghandi and Einstein. Upon taking him back to Earth, his renewed message of peace has some dire consequences for the planet. Star Trek always does this. They show men of peace and peaceful planets but everytime there is some evil underlying situation. It's like their message is that total peace is a myth.



#41 1976 "The Evictors"
The Enterprise takes part in a planets 10,000 year celebration. The planet has since achieved total peace (so as I said previously, we all know what is coming next). As part of the celebration they have a visual of their entire history projected into the atmosphere. It speaks of their founder and "God" named Zotar. Suddenly the image is interrupted by a giant space craft and to everyone's amazement Zotar appears! He has not come to party, he has come to take his planet back...

Monday, August 08, 2016

Gold Key Comics - TOS #1-20

#1 1967 "The Planet of No Return"
Kirk and crew must save Rand from a planet where plants are alpha. Man-eating trees  are not something that Star Trek has really ever done, so I very much enjoyed the originality. This will be the third time I was traumatized by a tree, the other two being; after watching the Wizard of Oz and that time that a giant Spruce was my camp counselor...

#12 1971 "The Flight of the Buccaneer"

Great cover art and a fun story line. Kirk, Bones, Spock and Scotty go undercover  to infiltrate space pirates. Although, why future pirates still look and talk like it's the 17th century I have no idea. Also, they fly a giant wooden Pirate ship??? My favorite part is when Kirk uses his undercover Pirate name .... Kirk. Anyway, loved it.

#13 1972 "The Dark Traveler"

The greatness to this lies in the Dark Traveler. I like when a new character actually stands out. The Dark Traveler is an intergalactic hitchhiker, in a dark robe, looks like Conrad Bain, is very laid back and has Q-like powers.



#15 1972 "Museum at the End of Time"

The Enterprise ends up trapped in The Curator's museum. The Curator is rather similar to The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy. In this story, the Enterprise crew must work together with a Klingon crew in order to escape. Previously in these comics, the Klingon's had looked like Telly Savalas (bald, white dudes). Now finally they have a real looking Klingon (be it in the TOS style).

#16 1972 "Day of Inquisitors"

The Galileo crashes on a planet that is still in the Dark Ages. They are currently in the midst of a religious inquisition. I always enjoy when Star Trek does Dark Age plots. As an added bonus, Spock gets whipped in this one, ...it's very erotic...

Gold Key 1967-1979 (61 Issues) - TOS

Gold Key produced the first Star Trek Comics in 1967 (after issue 20 they mostly switch over to Whitman Comics). The first few covers contain still-photos mixed with some artistic rendering. Eventually they ditch the photos. Either way, both versions are beautifully done. The cover art later on (mostly by George Wilson) is amazing, as is the interior art (mostly by Alberto Giolitti). The depictions of the crew members are about as spot on as it gets.

The first handful of these comics were made mostly by Italians who had never even seen the show. Because of this, there are many inconsistencies and these comics are generally considered non-canon. Some problems are; wrong uniform colors, Spock is too human, Scotty looks Aryan, they say stuff like - "up the periscope", "fire ray guns" and "teleportation chamber". Kirk talks like Robin from the old Batman show, using phrases like "Galloping Galaxies!" The Enterprise brings heavy machinery down to planets, like dump truck and excavators?? In one comic, a crewman unleashes evil ghosts by accidentally opening the wrong door while searching for toilet paper?!?!

Despite all of this... these comics are great. The art is wonderful and writing (Len Wein, Arnold Drake etc) is creative and engaging. My plan is to read these comics in groups of 20 and then select my top 5.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Star Trek: The Manga

So what to say about Star Trek The Manga. Well, if you hate Manga then you will probably still hate these. If you like Manga, then you will probably still hate these. If you like Manga and also like Star Trek, then you may enjoy these.


I actually found a lot to like in these books. For one, many of the plots are very original and interesting. I found the writing to be excellent and some of the artwork extraordinary. The "set" consists of 4 books, 3 TOS and 1 TNG. Each book has 4-5 stories, each one with a different writer and artist. So they are almost like mini Manga compilations.

Book One: Shinsei Shinsei (2006)

    Side Effects - Right away I was hooked on this story (Chris Dows). The Enterprise stumbles upon a disabled ship in which the inhabitants are either dead or in suspended animation. They find that some have reanimated, and one female seems to be incredibly powerful. These people had been subjects in some sort of genetic engineering experiment and this one particular subject has become far more advanced the the others. The battle with her culminates in a shocking revelation about her future. I may have actually gasped at this. Great Manga artwork in this one (Makoto Nakatsuka)

    Anything But Alone - Another good story (Joshua Ortega). Typical setup of: the away team goes to a planet and Kirk flirts with a woman. The woman is not what she seems, in fact the entire planet is not what it seems. How this world was created, is quite amazing.

    Til Death - Not a fan of the art. It reminds me of everything from MTV's Liquid Television. I'm not really one to complain, Koko the Gorilla can draw better than me. But anyway, the plot starts off with a wedding and ends up with a male vs female fight to death.

    Oban - A cute little worm thing that ends up being anything but a cute little worm thing. I always enjoy these "Trouble with Tribbles" type of story lines.

    Orphans - Excellent. They use one thing that I have never really seen in Star Trek, Mechs. Picture Robotech. The Enterprise is suddenly attacked by Mechs being controlled by children. The Enterprise takes one prisoner and Kirk soon takes him under his wing.


Book Two: Kakan ni Shinkou (2007)

   Cura Ti Ipsum - Lot of death in this one. First an explosion on the Enterprise kills a bunch of crew members, then after beaming to a planet and getting attacked, a phaser issue causes an explosion that kills a bunch of inhabitants. This thrusts Kirk into the center of a war between two factions ... and of course he meets a woman. Story by Wil Wheaton!

    The Trial - I'm still not sure I understand this one. Kirk gets abducted and put on trial by a race of aliens... for seemingly no reason. I'm sure there is some deep meaning to this story, but I'm a simple moron and don't get it.

    Communication Breakdown - This takes place just after the Enterprise encounter with Nomad. Uhura is just getting her memory back. The crew beam down to a planet and it looks like a relatively nice civilization. Uhura however senses that something is wrong ... but nobody will believe her. Loved this story (Christine Boylan).

    Scaean Gate - A Bones love story ... it's rarely done. Bones and a stuck up Queen form an unlikely bond. But, is it too good to be true? Is it?? Well! IS IT??? Anyway, the art was really nice in this one (Don Hudson). It was not Manga style, but more of something you would see in older comics. The depictions of Spock, Kirk and Bones are pretty spot on.

    Forging Alliances - Kirk, Bones and Spock go to Vulcan and meet up with Sarek. They are about to have a weird Vulcan ceremony. For an advanced race, they sure have some bizarre arcane ceremonies. Well, suddenly everyone starts acting weird and Spock turns into a loudmouth jerk. Things get complicated when a feral Vulcan boy shows up.
 
Book Three: Uchu (2008)

    Art of War - Another story by Wil Wheaton! It's a great one too. It jumps between a Strafleet trial for Kirk and a Klingon trial for Commander Kring. Both charged with questionable actions in the same incident, but each trial takes a very different course.

    Bandi - Another great "Tribbles" type of episode. Funny thing is that this story was written by David Gerrold, the writer of "Trouble with Tribbles". This one involves a cute little bear that has incredible powers. I really enjoyed this one; very fun and very funny. Again, another great job by artist Don Hudson.

    The Humanitarian -Spock has temporary command of the ship and everything seems to go wrong. He finds himself dealing with numerous tragedy's and the surprising effect that it has on his own emotions. Well done.

    Inalienable Rights - Not very groundbreaking, but certainly right in line with TOS episodes. The crew encounter a planet in which the government keep the population oppressed. This includes all of the intellectuals. Kirk "befriends" a female scientist and he tries to convince the government that it would be more productive to work as one.... that's sort of the plot... I think.

Book 4: TNG Boukenshin
    Changeling - Another story by David Gerrold. The art is by EJ Su who does a few stories in this series and I do like his style. Although overall, I have decided that it is impossible for anyone to draw Picard without him looking like the Perdue chicken guy. This story was fun...but weird as hell. In order to teach Wesley Crusher a lesson, the crew plays a joke on him. They trick him into thinking that he is turning into a woman, a black guy, and a Klingon.

    Sensation - A contagion is running rampant on the ship and only Dr. Crusher and Troi can save the day. Could this be linked to the archeological dig on the planet below? Of course it fucking is.

    The Picardian Knot - Another Don Hudson masterpiece. The story starts off great. Picard has a weird encounter with Sarek and soon loses his emotions. Then they encounter the Romulans and Picard is way off his game. Matters are complicated when a mysterious Romulan artifact is found on board. What the artifact really is may ... ugh ... shock you.

    Loyalty - This one takes place soon after Picard is saved from the Borg. He is still recovering from the whole Locutus thing. Meanwhile Riker must defend Picards honor at a Starfleet tribunal. This could be a career ender for Riker.

Overall, I liked this series of Manga's. The stories far exceeded my expectations. I must admit however that TNG does not make for a good Manga. It's much too cerebral and dialogue driven. TOS is perfect because it's...well, lets face it, sort of dumb.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Star Trek: Nemesis

Acting was great, plot was average, execution ... not great. Tom Hardy was fantastic as the villain Shinzon, as was Ron Perlman and all of the original cast. All did an excellent job. The plot revolves around Shinzon (who is a young clone of Picard or something) who has now taken over the Romulan Empire (I think). Picard and crew meet Shinzon and he seems a little bit insane. They discover that Shinzon is dying and needs Picards blood (I assumed). Eventually Shinzon abducts Picard and B-4 (Data's inferior brother, who they had found on a nearby planet ... sort of like Clint Howard). Picard escapes with the help of B-4 (who is actually Data, pretending to be B-4). Back on the Enterprise they confront Shinzon in a ship to ship battle, eventually ramming his ship with the Enterprise. Picard makes his way to Shinzon and stabs him, meanwhile Data dies while destroying the enemy ship.

Back on Enterprise, everyone is sad because Data is dead. Picard eventually realizes that Data transferred his program into B-4. Eventually they will be one in the same. Most people did not enjoy this movie. It certainly was not terrible, just incredibly average. When it becomes obvious that Shinzon and Picard are connected in some way, I was waiting for Shinzon to say that he was Picard's son. Like at some point during TNG Picard knocked-up some random alien woman. That would be more believable.