With Star Trek Beyond only a month away and news of next year’s television series trickling out every now and then, Star Trek is in the pop culture zeitgeist more than it has been in years. Since 2009’s Star Trek established the alternate timeline versions of Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew, IDW has been chronicling their ongoing adventures between the films. Manifest Destiny, the latest miniseries featuring this version of the crew, distills everything that’s fun about this take on the seminal sci-fi franchise into a single package full of phasers, Klingons, and Doctor McCoy being cantankerous.
There’s just about every flavor of post-apocalyptic fiction these days. The Walking Dead still pulls readers (and viewers) into its tense, ongoing narrative. Greg Rucka’s Lazarus depicts the aftermath of an economic apocalypse, with the wealthy and powerful resuming feudal roles. The Wake and The Massive both take aim at the aftermath of ecological disasters through its effects on the world’s oceans and coastlines. And, of course, there are other pop culture mainstays, like the car-focused Mad Max franchise or the tongue-in-cheek post-nuclear wastelands of the Fallout games. Wild Blue Yonder – the creation of the team of Mike Raicht (who writes), Zach Howard (who, with colorist Nathan Daniel, provides the art), and Austin Harrison – marks another, and though it may not do anything you haven’t seen in the genre at large, what it does, it does with its own style.
Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines is not, as you might expect, a new adventure of Doc Brown and Marty McFly careening through time aboard a DeLorean and/or train. Instead, it’s an anthology of stories to fill in some of the cracks left by the movies themselves. The first – and most obviously necessary – story tells how Marty first met Doc Brown, as they are inexplicably close friends by the beginning of the first movie, and the series goes on from there.
I was actually kind of surprised to learn that Airboy is an actual Golden Age character. I’d simply assumed (having never heard of him before) that he was a stand-in, a character that might as well have been a Golden Age character but wasn’t, not really. But, he’s totally real – as real as a comic character can get, anyway.
John Byrne’s eleventh issue of his classic Star Trek photoplay series offers two tales of the voyages of the Starship Enterprise composed of images from the series and whatever Byrne can make from them.
Moro Rogers’ City in the Desert is an immensely charming series. I’ve previously reviewed the first two books for Fanboy Comics, though I missed out on the third when it released alone. Now, though, the whole trilogy has been brought together in one nice volume, as it should be, given that the books previously left off on such cliffhangers that waiting between them could be agonizing. This is the tale of Irro, the last monster hunter in the city Kevala, which is, as you’ve probably guessed, in the desert. He’s accompanied by Hari, his moody, not-quite-human assistant, and Bok, and ox/robot/thing that is never quite explained (though he doesn’t really need to be). Kevala’s establishment clearly is more bothered by Irro these days than they are gratified by his presence, and Irro, for his part, takes this in somewhat misanthropic stride. Things start to change with the arrival of strangers from the north, and Irro and Hari find themselves the city’s last line of defense against potentially catastrophic changes.
The Wicked + The Divine is one of those books that I want to recommend to everyone within earshot but have a really hard time describing quite what it’s like. At first blush, I thought of nothing so much as Preacher, with the religious overtones and sometimes in-your-face crudeness and violence, but that comparison feels tenuous at best. There are notes of Grant Morrison, too, particularly The Invisibles, in that the book feels irremovable from London counterculture. Previous work from writer Kieron Gillen may make a better comparison, but I am sadly only personally familiar with his Marvel work, whether Young Avengers or Darth Vader – this is ignorance I should probably fix. The Wicked + The Divine is brilliantly of its time and, while recognizably an Image book in that way that Image books are, feels so oddly singular that I can’t readily remember reading anything quite like it for a while.
One of the nice things about comics, as a medium, is that sometimes they can get pretty adventurous in the interest of fun or experimentation. Even in the mainstream, you’ll get things that no one would approve as a film or television project, and this is where we tend to find crossovers - a well-worn comic tradition that has, by now, extended not just to characters within a shared universe but to really anything that makes even a little bit of sense. IDW, in particular, has used this method for a variety of miniseries over the last few years, leveraging their catalog of popular franchises into a raft of so-crazy-it-just-might-work ideas.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers hit television just as the school year started in 1993. I was seven. As with many of my cohorts, I was taken with the show; the novelty of live-action combat scenes, martial arts, giant robots, and a pattern of big-plot events kept us completely enthralled for years. Power Rangers was met with the sort of fervor previously reserved for the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For my generation, Power Rangers is a staple of our childhood, even if we didn’t like it. New Power Rangers series are still getting made, updating the villains, the costumes, the Zords, and the cast with each new season, and for those who, like me, have had two and a half decades to get nostalgic for the original incarnation, there’s a theatrical reboot scheduled for 2017.