06.5.2008

John Byrne Star Trek comic … better than I expected

Surprisingly, John Byrne’s recent comic book, “Star Trek:  Assignment Earth” #1 was actually enjoyable.  While I’m not a huge devotee of Star Trek TOS (“The Original Series” for those of you not in the know… geez), I do remember the episode “Assignment: Earth” with Gary Seven (Robert Lansing), Isis the cat, and Roberta Lincoln (a very young Teri Garr).  I’m also a lapsed fan of John Byrne.  I certainly don’t buy everything by him, but I do have fond memories of his Alpha Flight & Superman runs.  So every so often I’ll pick up a book he’s working on just on a whim.  This was just such a purchase.  I hadn’t expected it to be any good, so I was pleasantly surprised.

The story wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but it was a fun read.  It took place in 1968 and was really very reminiscent of the action/adventure spy series of the time.  I felt like I was reading a comic book version of “I Spy” with a dash of sci-fi.  The fact that the main threat was Soviets really helped to sell the 1968 factor.  With the nuclear testing, Soviets, and scientists, it reminded me a little of the origin story of the Hulk.  Also, I loved the swinging sixties-style decorating of Gary Seven’s pad.  I’m not sure if this is held over from the TV appearance or just for the comic.  Regardless, I fell in love with the secret sliding door behind the bar.  Brilliant!

Byrne’s art was fine for the issue, though I’ve read interviews where he was worried about getting the likenesses of real people correct.  No worries here, everything looked good.  Issue #2 just came out and the cover indicates that somehow Gary Seven and Ms. Lincoln will once again bump into 23rd century Starfleet folks.  Looks cool to me.

This is a five issue mini-series that will apparently leap forward one year with each issue.  Neat idea which will hopefully pay off.  I probably won’t add this book to my pull-list, but I’ll pick it up off the shelf if it hits me on the right week.

Also, you should be checking out IDW’s Star Trek: New Frontier title.  I’m not sure how it would read for newbies to the “New Frontier” corner of the STNG universe, but I’m loving it!  IDW is really making a worthwhile push this year with their Star Trek Second Stage initiative.  Good luck to them!

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