Star Trek/X-Men #1
April 5, 2010
To Boldly Go Where- Wait, X-Men and Star Trek? Seriously?
Linkara: (standing in his living room) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well, I'm finally giving in to peer pressure and reviewing the Twilight comic. Admittedly, I'm getting kinda sick of all the requests for Twilight. I mean, in a few years, it's gonna be–
(Suddenly, he gets interrupted by a beeping sound; he digs into his coat and pulls out a Star Trek badge and looks at it)
Linkara: Oh, ah, geeze, one second. I got– I gotta take care of this.
(He walks off; he then walks into the hallway, wearing a Star Trek red shirt. He taps the Star Trek badge on his shirt and brings up a screen; it's a Star Trek Admiral, played by Avonelle Lovhaug (Lewis Lovhaug's mother))
Linkara: Ah, Admiral. How can I be of assistance?
Admiral: Well, first of all, aren't we dressing a little informally?
Linkara: Huh? Oh, right, uh... (puts on his signature hat) Better?
Admiral: Very good. I've just been informed that you haven't gotten around to review "Star Trek/X-Men". I'd like an explanation, Captain Linkara.
Linkara: (feeling uncomfortable) Uh, oh, uh... Oh, oh, (looks at Star Trek badge) look at that, I got call waiting. Listen, I'll get back to you on that, Admiral. (starts to leave)
Admiral: Captain Linkara! (Linkara stops, embarrassed) Even if I believed you that someone else was on the line, you're not gonna get out of this that easily.
Linkara: Um, uh... Oh, I'm sorry, Admiral, your signal's breaking up. (shows off badge) Uh, this thing's only got one bar. Oh, look at that, I'm about to go into roaming. Uh, listen, you'll have to give those orders again another time–
Admiral: Captain, let me say it outright: review the comic, or lose your command! Have I made myself clear?
Linkara: (grudgingly) Crystal.
Admiral: Good. Starfleet out.
(Admiral holds up tablet and pushes a button on it; the screen disappears; Linkara sighs and hangs his head)
Linkara: (turning to face the camera) So, yeah, let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Star Trek/X-Men #1".
(AT4W title sequence plays; there is no title card for this episode, as per text on the screen, which says that Al is "away for purposes of love". Still, there is music for the purpose of this episode, set to "To Boldly Go", the classic Star Trek theme; cut to Linkara, in his Star Trek outfit, sitting on his futon and examining the comic)
Linkara: I really don't get this. Of all the franchises you could cross over, who was demanding Star Trek and X-Men? Hell, compared to this, "Superman and the Terminator" are a match made in heaven.
(Cut to a closeup of the comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): It was made to coincide with Star Trek's thirtieth anniversary, but I would've thought, I don't know, a Star Trek and Star Wars crossover would have been better. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a single crossover between those two, and that would be the kind of thing that would get nerds buying comics in droves. Why the X-Men? Sure, fine, they were popular, but I don't see the connection. This is the stuff of fan fiction, not a legitimate title. Anyway, our cover is... odd. It's neither good nor bad, just kind of there. The logo for some reason is pushed into the upper-right corner, and one name stacked on top of the other. The disembodied heads of Captain Kirk and Cyclops gaze out into the universe, as if to say, "No, we don't get this either, folks. Just lie back and think of England." The Enterprise cruises through the shot as Wolverine comes charging at us, Bishop is holding a huge gun, while McCoy is sporting a phaser... for some reason, and if you think the juxtaposition of these two very different teams is jarring now, wait until we get to the comic itself. Oh, and there's Jean Grey, floating above it all and cocking her hips to the side and having a massive chest.
Linkara: (as Jean Grey) Even in space, my boobs look great!
(The credits for this comic are shown inside the front cover)
Linkara (v/o): By the way, this took four pencilers, one of whom only worked on one page. It required the services of five inkers and another five "ink assists", whatever the hell that means. Was this really such a priority assignment to get this thing out with this many people working on it? (the comic proper begins) We open to Spock, McCoy and Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise.
Spock: We'll be within visual range of the anomaly in 8.7 seconds, Captain.
McCoy: ONCE, Spock. Just once, I'd like you to round off the nearest number.
Linkara: I agree, that's anal, even for a Vulcan. What does the extra decimal do for time to arrive?
Linkara (v/o): According to the Captain's Log, the ship is returning to the planet Delta Vega, the quarantined planet from way back in Star Trek's second pilot episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
Linkara: For those who've never seen it, here's a quick summation...
(Footage of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is shown, with Linkara dubbing over all of the dialogue)
Spock: Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha. Oh, you kooky humans and your emotions.
Gary Mitchell: I'm Gary Mitchell, and I'm Kirk's best friend.
Kirk: Set course for that intergalactic barrier that probably won't do anything.
Dehner: (zapped) Oh!
Kirk: (zapped) Oh!
Mitchell: I'm Gary Mitchell, and I've got godlike powers now. Watch me move a Styrofoam cup with my mind. (cup moves to a humming sound) Isn't that awesome?
Dehner: (to Kirk) So what if he's got godlike powers? Maybe he's really nice, and having godlike powers will help the species, and he won't try to take over the universe!
(The sound of crickets chirping is heard as everyone stares at her)
Kirk: Lady, you've just totally reinvented stupid.
Mitchell: (zapping everyone) I'm the god! I'M THE GOD!!
Kirk: Time to rip my shirt and kick some ass.
Mitchell: Oh, God, a rock! My godlike powers are useless against it!
Linkara: And there you go.
Linkara (v/o): Apparently, there's a spatial anomaly surrounding the planet made of pure psionic energy. Uhura receives a signal, but can't make it out due to the rift. Spock determines that for all intents and purposes, the energy is alive, but the energy levels are fluctuating as if it was injured.
McCoy: Great. Don't anyone get any ideas about beaming some cosmic space cloud into sickbay...
Linkara: (as McCoy) Stupid space clouds! God, I hate 'em!
Linkara (v/o): Uhura manages to isolate the signal and read it as a distress call. A ship comes flying out of the anomaly, but it's destroyed by the anomaly before they can get in close enough to save it. However, Spock was able to get a reading on the lifeforms inside the ship before it exploded. There were seven of them, and the lifeforms were close to human, but not quite.
Linkara: Given the way that the X-Men are drawn in this comic, that doesn't surprise me in the least.
Linkara (v/o): To compound matters, a monstrously huge vessel appears before the Enterprise, and if I don't say it, someone will of course tell me, it's a Shi'ar cruiser, an alien race from the Marvel Universe who frequently interact with the X-Men. Once again, the great social symbol of all oppressed minorities, the X-Men, frequently with aliens. They hail the Shi'ar vessel, but there isn't a response. Instead, the ship launches out something at the Enterprise, which turns out to be Gladiator, Preator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.
(Editor's note: "Preator. The premise of the comic is making me slur my own words!")
Linkara (v/o): He orders the Enterprise to withdraw and that they're claiming Delta Vega as part of the empire.
Kirk: Spock-- he's talking to us? How is he existing in space...how can he speak in a vacuum? How is that possible?
Spock: Quite simply, Captain-- it is not.
Linkara: (listlessly) Thanks, Spock, you're a big help. How much do you want to bet he's just playing old Atari games on that little Viewfinder?
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but that's not even the most insane part. Gladiator punches the Enterprise! Words fail me, people! I mean, Star Trek can play fast and loose with science, some series more than others, but we just had a muscle-bound character from Marvel Comics PUNCH the U.S.S. Enterprise!! This concept is so ludicrous that they didn't even show the punch hitting the shields, just the ship lurching from the impact! As Scotty works to reassemble the shields... I noticed that, despite the punching of the ship, the Enterprise isn't retreating, and the Shi'ar aren't making any other aggressive moves; they're just sitting on their hands, waiting? ...we discover that Wolverine is in fact in the air ducts of the ship. Yes, he and the X-Men were on board the transport that exploded, having teleported off just before its destruction.
Narrator: He was named Logan when he was born. Shortly after his mutant abilities kicked in, he took the name Wolverine... for obvious reasons.
Linkara: Yeah, wolverines are five feet tall, yellow, have pointy hair, and bone claws coming out of the backs of their hands. It's really quite obvious.
Linkara (v/o): Wolverine rejoins the X-Men in the cargo bay and gives a nice, big expository speech. Lilandra, the leader of the Shi'ar, asked them to track down her evil sister Deathbird, who happens to be in charge of the Shi'ar cruiser staring down the Enterprise. Somehow, they ended up on the other side of rift, but Deathbird has already laid claim to it.
Wolverine: We're onboard someplace called the Starship Enterprise... part of something called the Federation. Ring any bells, kids?
Linkara: (waving dismissively) Of course not, Wolverine. It's not like the X-Men have ever referenced Star Trek, what with it being a part of pop culture and everything.
Beast: According to these readings, it is something called a "Constellation class starship*."
- NOTE: Beast actually says, "ship", not "starship".
Linkara (v/o): Ah, no, it isn't.
(Cut to a shot of a Constellation class starship)
Linkara (v/o): This is a Constellation class starship. The Enterprise is a Constitution class starship.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, shut up! It's a basic fact of the show.
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): For that matter, what the hell is it about Beast's little box that goes "ping" that allows him to know that? Plus, what year the thing was commissioned? Gambit's in bad shape, having been the last of them to teleport off the ship before it exploded. Storm and Beast head out to sickbay to try to discreetly get him the medical attention that he needs. Bishop, Wolverine, Cyclops and Jean Grey will try to find a way to get down to the planet, since something is down there that Deathbird is planning to exploit. Jean uses her telepathy to casually scan around them for a way to the planet, but Spock detects her signals, since Vulcans are partially telepathic. He asks to leave the bridge and pursue "a hunch", McCoy following soon afterwards.
McCoy: If you're going to be mixing it up with the Mohawk out there-- I'm going to take advantage of this relative calm to start rolling bandages in...
Linkara: Seriously, is Gladiator just sitting out there, tapping his feet? (as Gladiator) Oh, I thought punching their ship would get more of a reaction out of them. Oh, well, back to other ways of thinking of other ways I can break the laws of physics.
Linkara (v/o): The X-Men arrive in sickbay, and Beast is astounded by what he sees.
Beast: Look at this technology! It makes the med-lab back at the mansion look positively... archaic.
Linkara: Yes, the advanced medical technology of the 23rd Century.
(A clip of Star Trek is shown, depicting arrows rising up and down on scales, while respiration and pulse lights flash on and off)
Linkara: Why, in our century, our triangles can only blink!
Linkara (v/o): However, Dr. McCoy finds them.
McCoy: Dear God, what the heck is happening here?
Linkara: (as McCoy) Oh, God, is this another Star Trek convention? Get out of here, you damn cosplayers!
Linkara (v/o): However, McCoy doesn't care about explanations when he sees that Gambit is hurt. They bring him over to the bio-bed, and he calls for Nurse Chapel, who's shocked by what she sees.
Chapel: Doctor McCoy?!
McCoy and Gambit: (in unison) What?
Linkara: Ladies and gentlemen, the entire comic was leading up to that. That was the whole reason for this thing.
Linkara (v/o): The rest of the X-Men make their way to a shuttle bay before being intercepted by Spock. By the way, check out the layout of this page. We have this group shot of the four walking, which really highlights the bizarre musculature of the group. Jean Grey's legs are as thin as a twig, but all the men have calves as wide as their stomachs! And a shot of Spock in the shadows. But they carry on a brief conversation with one another. What the hell? This is just a poor layout. We have the X-Men looking to the opposite corner of where Spock is on the page, but they talk to each other briefly. Wouldn't it make more sense to flip Spock's panel to the other side at least? Wolverine leaps at Spock, trying to get him out the way. He gets Spock to drop his phaser, but Spock manages to use his nerve pinch on Wolverine. Yes, that's right, Spock just performed on Wolverine, complete with a "pinch!" sound effect.
Linkara: And it's right about here where the dignities both franchises just start (makes a circling motion with his hand) circling the drain.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, Spock's behavior here is pretty illogical. He tells Kirk that he's acting on a hunch, but doesn't explain what it is he felt. Kirk's not dumb; he'd have believed Spock if he thought he felt someone trying to make a telepathic sweep of his mind, and he could've brought more security with him. Thanks to Wolverine's healing factor, the nerve pinch only stuns him for a moment. He grabs Spock and pulls out his claws.
Wolverine: Now unless you want me to bob those pointy ears of yers, Mister Spock-- now would be a good time to take us to your leader.
Linkara: I honestly don't know who to root for here. It's Hugh Jackman vs. Leonard Nimoy.
Kirk: Captain's Log: supplemental. After all but declaring INTERGALACTIC WAR in a DESOLATE section of the Federation space... the SHI'AR EMPIRE sits in orbit around Delta Vega, WAITING.
Linkara: Once again, the Shi'ar cruiser, despite sending a warning to the Enterprise to LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, is just sitting there. So, in reality, the Shi'ar are a big bunch of losers who can't follow through on anything. Goes to show why they suck at stopping the Phoenix Force.
Linkara (v/o): Kirk worries that this has something to do with Gary Mitchell, that maybe he wasn't truly killed back in the second pilot, and that he now may be more powerful than they could hope to combat. McCoy calls the bridge to alert him about the X-Men, and Kirk makes his way to the turbolift. However, just before he can get in, Spock arrives with the rest of the team. This is just... surreal. It's like somebody photoshopped the two groups together. We've got Wolverine skulking around down there, always hunched over and grimacing next to the crew of the Enterprise. The blues of the X-Men are all the dark navy blue, and Spock's wearing a sky-blue uniform, and it just clashes to the point where you wonder who in their right mind first thought, "X-Men and Star Trek, let's greenlight this bastard!"
Kirk: I...don't suppose there are any more "X-Men" aboard. In the sickbay, perhaps?
Spock: That would be Storm, Gambit and Beast.
Kirk: Of course it would.
Linkara: I love how even Kirk is disbelieving of this whole thing, like Trelane is hanging off in the background and just screwing with them again.
Wolverine: And if yer half the space cowboy Spock claims ya' are-- we're in a position to kick some major Shi'ar butt!
(Linkara looks dumbfounded at the remark; cut to a clip of Star Trek)
McCoy: I'm quaking, but I don't know if it's from laughter or terror.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Over on the Shi'ar cruiser, they've apparently pulled Gladiator from his waiting duties and have been studying Delta Vega, believing they can use the psionic energy as an inexhaustible energy supply. They detect a single life-form on the planet and decide to send a landing party. And by the way, is no one going to bother looking at each other when they talk? Deathbird is sitting down and facing the reader while carrying a conversation with two people standing behind her! And now, enjoy as a single page ruins any kind of surprise or suspense as it narrates to us exactly what happened! Former X-Men villain Proteus, a mutant with the ability to bend and twist reality to his whim, found the psionic rift, crossed universes via the rift... Where the hell did the rift come from in the first place? ...and bonded with the dead body of Gary Mitchell. Yes, the comic just TOLD US what happened instead of letting us find out along with the characters!
Linkara: (dripping sarcasm) Hey! Wouldn't a mystery novel be so much better if someone just narrated who the killer is, in the middle of the book, before any of the characters even suspected them?!
Linkara (v/o): I'm sorry, but this is just so utterly, shockingly STUPID! This page exists solely to EXPOSITS! A disembodied narrator tells us the answers! That'd be like at the beginning of The Matrix, we had an opening text crawl that told us what the Matrix is before Neo found out! Say, wouldn't "Watchmen" have been so much better if, instead of all the questions being answered in the final issue by the person responsible, they were answered by the narrator in the middle of issue 6?! It's storytelling 101, people! WHAT THE HELL?!?!? Oh, also, for some reason, he transmutes the rocky surface of the planet into cobblestone streets and brick buildings. Why? Not really explained. Back on the Enterprise, the two groups are trying to coordinate, though they aren't sure if they really are from different universes. Hey, dumbasses, check your history banks and see if they mention anything about superheroes in the 20th century. When the psionic rift expands again, Kirk decides to send an away team to the surface. Shortly thereafter, he and Jean Grey are alone, and he tries to hit on her, being the Kirk man and all, but she says she's married to Cyclops, and WOW, the art for this page blows! First of all, the walls all have little ink dashes everywhere. Was someone moving furniture and hitting the walls? Also, Kirk in this panel looks nothing like Shatner. In fact, it's made all the worse by more random ink lines all over his face, like someone who was playing with a Magic Marker. Next, the artist really likes Jean's boobs in this shot, to the point where she's evidently not wearing a bra, and the material for her outfit is pure Spandex, considering we can see her nipples are pointing! And in the next panel, her breasts are perfect spheres, and the uniform conforms perfectly to them, as if the costume was actually designed to fit them in like that!
Linkara: Always nice to see when the artists have their priorities straight.
Linkara (v/o): The two converse about how Kirk withheld the information about Gary Mitchell in an attempt to add drama, but it really doesn't work. Jean brings up that it seems like that he killed Gary for being a mutant, but I remind you, in the episode, Mitchell's talking about taking over the universe with his new power, so the attempted turnaround falls flat, especially when she admits he's right. For Kirk, it's more about how he doesn't want to have to kill his friend again.
Kirk: (narrating) Captain's Log: Supplemental. The COMMAND CREW of the Enterprise, along with MOST of the X-Men, have beamed down to the planet's surface...
Linkara: This, of course, is because of Starfleet directives concerning putting the most important people on the ship directly in the path of the unstoppable super-beings with malevolent intent.
Linkara (v/o): And just look at how this splash page is framed, with the assembled X-Men and Enterprise staff in a line like a friggin' Greek chorus, except for Storm, whose back is to the reader so she can show off what she's got. Yeah, it's a good thing they structured the shot like this. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known what Storm's ass looks like or what ludicrously high heels she wears. And no, I don't care if she's usually flying; she's on the ground right now, and she's wearing massively heels! She's a friggin' superhero and frequently in combat, and she's walking around in high heels! Gary Proteus makes his appearance, along with Deathbird's away team, revealing that they've formed an alliance. Deathbird is hanging on the super-being in the most awkward manner possible, given how her legs look, and just seems like she's humping his leg. Naturally, the two groups are shocked by his presence and assume it's either Proteus or Gary Mitchell, but he's says that he's a combined entity. He goes on during a splash page to give us exposition that we already knew because the FRICKING COMIC TOLD US THE EXACT SAME THING FIVE PAGES AGO!!
Linkara: Honestly, I'm still in shock over this. Did they think we were just getting bored with the whole thing and needed to tell us the answers a little bit sooner? What the hell?!
Linkara (v/o): The planet starts tearing itself apart...
(Cut to a clip of The Room)
Johnny: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!!
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): ...and Wolverine wonders why to bother just doing that when he can just reshape reality to kill them all. Isn't that what he's doing? Kirk realizes he must not be strong enough yet, which gives them a little more time.
Linkara: Or he's just toying with you, as super-beings are wont to do.
Linkara (v/o): The psionic rift starts expanding further, and Bishop suggests that his mutant power, the ability to rechannel vast amounts of energy, could be helpful in stopping the rift, so he beams back up to the Enterprise. Beast and Spock consider their own options in fighting Proto-Mitchell, and I have to admit, I do like this bit: two scientific geniuses bouncing ideas off of each other. Unfortunately, it only lasts for half a page before they decide to modify the tractor beam of the Enterprise to try to destabilize the rift. Spock doesn't know how they disperse the energy, though, which is where Bishop comes in, thanks to– OH, DEAR GOD! Wow, they're not even trying to make it seem like these two very different kinds of people should be in the same universe, are they? Scotty's this regular-looking person, and then BAM! Here's Bishop with a tiny head and a massively overbuilt body.
Linkara: The guy's hand is as big as his head! Are we honestly supposed to be taking this seriously?!
Linkara (v/o): Proto-Gary tosses Deathbird aside, saying he doesn't need allies. Then why did you say five minutes ago you were allied with her? And everybody tries attacking him with no success. Kirk asks Jean to psychically link him with his mind get at Gary Mitchell. Once there, Gary accuses Kirk of doing the very thing the X-Men have fought against: oppressing mutants. Riiiight... But he says he had no choice, considering what Gary was planning to do. Jean gives actually a pretty decent speech in response.
Jean: Yes, part of the X-Men's goal is to protect mutants, Mr. Mitchell-- but like the crew of the Enterprise, we go about our mission with our eyes wide open. But going where no one has dared go before comes with a price. It means we're not afforded the luxury of turning back when the time comes to make a tough decision. I've been where you are now, Gary...I want to believe there's enough humanity to do what you know you have to.
Linkara: Damn, that's a good speech, but it's just so weird that Kirk isn't the one making the Kirk speech.
Linkara (v/o): Outside of his mind, Mitchell of Proteus continues his attack on the others, opening up fissures in the ground. Storm rescues Chekhov and Uhura with her wind powers.
Linkara: And... why was the ship's communications officer and ship's navigator down on the planet with them? (shrugs in confusion)
Linkara (v/o): The Enterprise uses the tractor beam to disrupt the rift and harm the combined entity, and Gary Mitchell's own personality breaks through long enough to tell them to kill him.
Kirk: (narrating) With a SINGLE PHASER BURST*-- the combined force of the ENTERPRISE and the X-MEN TOGETHER...
- ANOTHER NOTE: Kirk actually says, "Phaser Blast", not "Phaser Burst".
Linkara: Well, then, it's not really a "single phaser blast", is it?
Linkara (v/o): Especially not since we see a splash page of Chekhov, Sulu, Cyclops, Storm and Gambit firing at once. Anyway, they destroy Gary Mitchell and Proteus and disrupt the rift enough to have it start contracting. Deathbird and her forces surrender because there's nothing left for them. Cyclops bids farewell to Captain Kirk, happy to know that this is the only alternate future they've ever visited where things turn out okay for the human race. No one bothers to tell him there aren't any mutants in Kirk's timeline. And so, our comic ends with the X-Men returning to their universe via the Shi'ar cruiser and with Spock and McCoy bickering, the Enterprise flying off to episodes that, while occasionally goofy, would make far more sense than this comic.
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks. I admit that there are some good moments here and there, and some of the jokes elicited a few giggles, but the premise is stupid, the art styles for the different groups are jarring, and the story structure is horribly plotted out. Live long and prosper, people, and maybe by the 23rd century, we'll live in a world without bad comics. (looks offscreen) Mr. Pollo, you have the bridge.
(Linkara gets up and leaves, and Pollo the Robot, also wearing a Star Trek shirt, takes his place; Pollo looks around, and then "Star Trekkin'" by The Firm, which Pollo starts dancing to in his seat)
(Credits roll, as "Star Trekkin'" continues)
Yes, I know Chekov isn't the ship's navigator, Sulu is. Slip of the tongue. However, Sulu IS down there for no reason whatsoever.
It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.
(Stinger: Linkara is seated again, still in his Star Trek uniform)
Linkara: This sort of crossover just opens up so many different possibilities for lines of dialogue: (as Kirk) "What does God need with a Blackbird jet?" (as McCoy) "He's dead, Jim. Oh, wait, he's got the Phoenix force; he'll be back in three days." (as Kirk) "In every revolution, there's one man with ADAMANTIUM RAGE!"