Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I miss Trek. I really do. Growing up, I think I just started to take it for granted that there would always BE a Star Trek show on TV to watch, in one form or another. Of course I love the old show. The one where Spock wears that wool cap frickin’ kills me. Or when they land on these planets, and there’d be stuff that just…barely made any sense? Like, they’d land on a planet, and it would be a “gangster-world.” Somehow the planet is an exact parallel of Earth and its culture- but with lots, and lots, of 1930s criminal gangsters. Little or no explanation. So they’d be like: “Captain’s log, star date something something. We’ve discovered a gangster-world.” I’m serious. The dialog wasn’t that far off. And say what you want about William Shatner (who I think is kind of brilliant, and hilarious, in his own right now that we’re on the subject) but I think Kirk is the man. Why? Because everybody else in Star Trek IS something. They’re all supposed to represent the best elements of humanity (which is another reason everybody loves Trek- because the future of humanity doesn’t suck beyond belief)- Picard is an archeologist/anthropologist, Riker is a musician (which is why he’s ‘number one’ because he’s good at organizing and conducting things)… you know stuff like that. But Kirk? Kirk is a starship captain. That’s what he is. Obviously I’m psyched about the revamp. I’ve been hurt by J.J. Abrams before, so I’m cautious- but have to admit, I think it looks pretty great. I loved Next Gen too. Who didn’t? What isn’t to love? The last couple movies let me down, but hey, you know. I thought Nemesis wasn’t bad. I still maintain that Insurrection wasn’t really a movie- just a plot for a two-part episode of the show that they turned into a movie. I know Voyager gets tons of crap, but I didn’t think it was so bad. Believe it or not, Janeway grew on me. At the end of the day, I’m a really hardcore Deep Space Nine fan. I’m always shocked at just how many Star Trek fans never got around to watching it. I will admit that it’s sort of the hard liquor of Star Trek. That is to say, it’s really embedded in Star Trek mythology- the different races, the politics and technology. I think it’s as relevant as any of the other shows- that is, it’s still big on the metaphors and all that jazz, but you sort of have to know a lot about Star Trek to appreciate it. But I loved the whole thing with the Dominion and the wormhole- it was sort of like Star Trek does World War II. So then- Enterprise happened. See, I was never against the concept of the show- the idea of having a Star Trek show that had stronger ties to the original, than the TNG, wasn’t a bad one. But then they sold out! The Romulans, a time war- someone decided that people weren’t watching and they started slamming all this stuff from the other shows in there, through whatever plot hook they could find, to get ratings up. Enterprise didn’t go far enough. Well, show or no show- I’ve known for a while that a great deal of “expanded universe” material was out there. It had never really caught my interest- at least not until there was no show to watch anymore. There have been some real missteps, regarding Star Trek and comic books. Funny enough, these didn’t all come in comic book form. I think I’ve alluded to it before, but I swear to God, there’s an X-Men/Star Trek: TNG NOVEL. Planet X. By Michael Jan Friedman. Ouch. IDW continues to acquire licenses and make books that captivate my attention. I’ve become a huge fan of almost all of their lines- Transformers, Angel; I’m even a Dr. Who fan. Of course they’ve got the obligatory movie prequel tie-in out there for you to read if you want, called Star Trek: Countdown. Supposedly it gives you a little bit of a tease regarding the movie’s Romulan antagonist, Nero (nice touch with the name- Nero was a Roman emperor, and by all accounts, batshit insane). Normally I’d be writing a blog mocking this kind of material, but here’s the catch- J.J. Abrams' name is on the comic. Yes, the director of the summer movie actually took the time to help write what was going to print on this one. For me though, nothing seems to captivate my attention as much as what I call dark-mirror-trek. Mirror Mirror was the name of the Star Trek episode where they had that alternate universe, where everyone was evil? And Spock had that goatee? I’m totally obsessed with this. Enterprise actually did a bit with this, and DS9 had a whole arc involving Benjamin Sisko, and his son, actually going TO the other universe, like the original crew did. There’s something so bewildering and unnatural at seeing Star Trek all…dark. You know, like suddenly everything about the show that resembled all the best elements of humanity now resemble the worse. The crew kill and betray each other. The Klingons and the Federation- sorry, “Terran Empire”- fight it out for hundreds of years, with little regard for any civilization that gets in the way. Women actually wear even TIGHTER uniforms and use sex like a weapon. It’s creepy- but you gotta watch. Or read. That being said, I’m going to give a shout out to Mirror Images, published by IDW and written by Scott and David Tipton. The hardcore Trek fans are going to appreciate this series. Roughly, the book is focused on the events that led mirror-Kirk to seize control of the I.S.S. (Imperial Starship) Enterprise from Captain Pike. Really hardcore fans are going to appreciate just how steeped in Trek-lore this is. Pike was the guy who- well, he was the character the show was originally supposed to air with. After the pilot, the producers ditched him and introduced Kirk. They didn’t get rid of the character though- Pike made another cameo in the show, albeit as a man who had been crippled. Actually, Pike is going to be in this summer’s bigass movie too. That’s him in the trailer, that voiceover who’s talking to Kirk and is all like “You always had trouble finding your place in this world, etc.” Anyway, there isn’t any such thing as “promotion” in the Terran Empire. Starships work more like pirate ships- the captain tries to keep the crew from mutiny, but once in a while someone steps in, drops you out of an airlock, and promotes themselves. The series is such a cool retelling of the whole, original transition that happened just after the show launched. Of course, it’s filled with all sorts of shocking betrayals, bloodlust, and general un-Star-Trek like behavior. But hey- Spock with a goatee. I highly recommend it.