Sunday, February 13, 2011

Infestation #1 and Star Trek: Infestation #1

Spoiler Level: Medium

I've said a million times that I'm not into horror, but I couldn't let IDW's zombie crossover event Infestation go without commenting on it.

When IDW announced they were doing a crossover between Star Trek, GI Joe, Transformers and Ghostbusters, I was all for it.  Of course, I was hoping that it would be a story with all the characters interacting with each other, and not just be a crisis that affected each universe independently.

However, I really, really have to give IDW props for how they're playing it.  For starters, they're not pushing all of the books out in one month.  The first month we get Star Trek: Infestation and Transformers: Infestation; the next month we get GI Joe: Infestation and Ghostbusters: Infestation.  Each mini series is only two issues long, so they won't break your wallet.

And on top of that, they're going with a weekly format for publishing them all.  It started in the first week with Infestation #1, with the second week being the first Transformers issue, and the third week being the first Star Trek issue. This way, you can skip the parts you're not interested in, or follow the entire story as a weekly ongoing if you're so inclined.  I like weekly series, so this really appeals to me.

And by keeping each series in their separate universes, you can read as few or as many as you want.  I had originally planned to read only the Star Trek issues and the Infestation framing mini, but now I'm tempted to pick up the others.  And having read Star Trek: Infestation #1 I can honestly say I didn't need to read the main Infestation book.

But I'm glad I did.  I actually enjoyed it, because it does the same thing I like about Ghostbusters-- mixes supernatural and science.  The zombies are brought into the main universe using an interdimensional Stargate.  (They call it a portal, but that's because if they called it a Stargate, they'd have to pay MGM.  It's a Stargate though, right down to the seven chevrons.  It's in a gate room that looks exactly like Stargate Command, although it's not in the Cheyenne Mountains.  So since this series deals with alternate universes, let's just say this is this universe's version of the Stargate and leave it at that.)  The zombies are brought through from a parallel universe.  To stop them, the heroes (a group of Vampires) try activating a bunch of robots left at the base.  Only in this world, you can have magic-enhanced machinery, so the zombies can actually infect the robots.  Obviously they've got to get these zombies back through the Stargate, but when they do it winds up sending them to four different universes.  And thus our crossover is in full swing.

This clever set-up brings us to why you don't need to read Infestation #1-- because the zombies are just as new to each of the characters in the separate minis as they are to the reader.  Don't know who these zombies are, where they came from, or what their deal is?  That's okay, neither does Spock.  You can learn along with him.

Which leads me to Star Trek: Infestation #1. First off, look at that cover.  I always thought that old Gold Key logo was kind of creepy, and never before has it been used so perfectly!

The story takes place during the post-TMP era, which I personally love.  I know a lot of people hate that era and rag on the uniforms, but I love them.  When TMP came out I was 10 years old, and everything's always more exciting when you're that age.  I had been waiting for this movie for as long as I could remember, and I just ate it all up.  I loved the look of it, the new Enterprise, the new special effects, the new uniforms, all of it.  It just felt like Star Trek had been elevated to an all new level.  I was never fond of the militaristic uniforms of Wrath of Khan and beyond-- I always felt they would make nice dress uniforms, but were far too formal for duty uniforms.  Oh, I got used to them eventually, but I still think the TMP uniforms are better, and I welcome any opportunity to see them again.

Unfortunately the entire story is about a landing party, so everyone's in their landing party jackets, which aren't as cool.  Oh well.  The landing party consists of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and three security guards.  Who do you think's going to end up as zombie fodder here?

You have to admire zombies getting the Star Trek treatment-- Kirk figures out the zombies are the planet's colonists, and thus considers them innocents and is holding out for a way to cure them, so the landing party feels compelled to not use lethal force.  The zombie colonists don't have any such feelings towards the crew, of course.  Meanwhile, Spock's trying to figure out just what happened to everyone here.

It really works.  Star Trek runs into plagues all the time, and since zombies are always spread like a plague, it actually fits.

So I have to congratulate IDW for finding a way to do a major crossover that doesn't violate the natures of each of its properties, is still huge in scope, and yet still manages not to milk your wallet.  Good job, guys.  This is the way a crossover should be done.

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