Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #1 has a strong setup to be a fun crossover comic, but suffers from its art, which is the problem with most TV/Movie-to-comic conversions. The Black Lantern Corps are looming over a fleeing Guardian, whom in order to save the power he carries with, travels into a different reality and runs into a space crew who’s on a five-year mission to explore the Universe.
I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, I liked TNG well enough, the first movie was fine, but I couldn’t stand the second one. So when I saw this comic announced, my first thought was “well, looks like I’m reading a Star Trek comic.” I have never read Star Trek comics for the same reason I barely ever read comics that follow live action movies/TV shows because of their reputation of not being great, the story doesn’t change much of in the trajectory of the comic because the art and writing play it too safe to make lasting impressions on the fans. So my main interest in this title was the Green Lantern side of it. Blackest Night is my favorite (and most metal) DC crossover event, so bringing back the Black Lantern Corps on top of Hal Jordan and James T. Kirk duking it out was interesting enough to want to pick up this comic.
The plot is well set up, by the look of it, it seems like the Green Lantern lore is crashing down on an ongoing Star Trek story. On the Green Lantern side, it seems Mike Johnson drew from Geoff Johns’ run at its peak, which in my mind is right as Blackest Night was present but before Brightest Day/New 52. The full color spectrum is clear, and all that’s left is to advance the story from such a vast universe. On the Star Trek side, Mike Johnson also proves his experience with Star Trek since taking over the new run that follows the movies and is well underway with many mini-series as well, as well as how great Ei8ht is alongside Rafael Albuquerque. The characters are well defined, and you can almost hear the actors themselves saying the dialogues Johnson writes, with plenty of visual aid from Angel Hernandez, who manages to make Kirk and his crew look like the Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, and nerd extraordinaire Simon Pegg, all without losing the comic book feeling of it all. Unfortunately, them being so life-like seems to also be the problem.
Hernandez’ art seems to me like a mix between Ivan Reis, Fiona Staples, and almost religiously drawing the actors’ faces from photographs. Although the dialogue is vibrant, their faces aren’t. Sometimes their mouths aren’t open when they’re supposed to be shouting. One of the clearest examples is SImon Pegg’s character Scotty. One of the most expressive characters in the movies, who yells at almost everyone. He should me more than thrilled to be able to mess around with several rings of power, and his dialogue shows that, with the exception of accent difference (Chekov speaks with a very strong accent but Scotty doesn’t?), yet his facial expressions are never more than conversational. Every time I picked up the comic or see pages, it almost seems like the artist picked stills from magazine photosets and stuck to them no matter what. This is a huge problem, since the various rings from all the Corps are powered by strong emotions, and I don’t think constantly doing the smolder is going to make them work.
This is a title to power through for Star Trek/Green Lantern die-hards with a promising story and mismatched art.
Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #1 Writer: Mike Johnson Artist: Angel Hernandez Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez Publisher: IDW Publishing/DC Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/8/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital