I bring Free Comic Book Day to my library every year, and thus I get a sneak peek at the titles and get to pick as many as I want. The selection for this FCBD was great, as this year I choose seven titles! We had a steady stream of library patrons picking up titles on Saturday, during the three-hour window that I offered them.
I was pleased to have DC back in the Free Comic Book Day lineup again, thus seeing the famous Trinity on the cover made me grab the title up. It was a bit of bait & switch as the story was about Damian, Batman’s devious son, but it was a solid introduction to the new Knight Terrors title, in which almost every DC hero will face dream terrors this summer. Great surreal art during the dream sequences.
Star Trek is my favorite franchise, so, of course, I picked up this title Day of Blood: Prelude. The first story begins with an unfamiliar character, Captain Meyerson, speaking to a cloaked Klingon. This Klingon treacherously kills the captain and is revealed to be Alexander, Worf’s estranged son. What is the Red Path he speaks of? The second story is set on the Lower Decks ship, with three of the ensigns visiting the holodeck. There is the usual bickering between Boimer and Mariner, with some funny digs towards the other shows.
Animal Castle will be on my Best Reads of 2023 this year, so I was excited to see a preview of Volume Two. We get a look into President Silvo’s early life, and despite him being subjugated as a young ox and enduring the death of his mother, we know he still turns into an evil tyrant himself. Will the Mama Cat find the courage to lead a revolt?
Marvel Voices pulls together snippets of stories about Ironheart, Snowguard, Ms. Marvel, Loki and Hulking & Wiccan. Ironheart’s story was the longest and most intriguing, while I was confused about Snowgueard (did the baby die?), with the other stories much too short. I think younger audiences will enjoy these stories and this will encourage them to seek out the longer stories.
As a librarian, I just had to choose The Cursed Library due to the title. Archie Horror stories amuse me, as it is a weird juxtaposition of cutsie art and scary stories, that really aren’t scary in the least. The premise of the story is that Jinx introduces each story (all the while dodging her sister Danni who is ruining her vibe) like the classic Crypt Keeper. The stories about the Archie characters are silly but will keep a young audience entranced.
Uncanny Avengers has the Avenger and X-Men teams intermingled. In the first story, someone has infiltrated the mutant island stronghold and steals the uniform of Captain Krakoa. This storyline was confusing, as it is obviously picking up story threads I have not read in previous comics. Another story has Captain America and Rogue working together to save the day. There is a reference to Deadpool at the end, and a mutant hunter is after a young girl. And lastly, a short introduction to a Doctor Strange and Wyn story.
I always pick up the Spider-Man Venom title that has a story about each. In Spider-Man’s tale, he is fighting a large gorilla with tools that seem to come from Iron Man and includes his usual snappy dialogue. Kraven and Doc Ock have teamed up, and the gorilla was just a tease of what more they have in store for Spidey. The second story was set in the 1940s and had two scientist brothers who created a robot-looking flexible creature named Flexo. Somehow it will get combined with Venom in the future, but that was only teased at, not sure how the two stories will come together in the future.
All in all, I was very happy with my choices and might follow up with future storylines based on these introductions.
Forget about seasons one and two, season three of Star Trek: Picard is where it’s at!
The Picard series finally embraced what fans wanted, a reunion of the entire cast of The Next Generation crew, and the first episode that established a mystery with Dr. Beverly Crusher immediately put the entire previous two seasons to shame. Finally, Crusher was given a meaty role as it was revealed she was captaining a small medical vessel in a Doctor Without Borders in space scenario and was requesting help from Picard as her ship was in danger. But wait…who was that rakish young man traveling with her? *Although I will assume anyone reading this post is a Star Trek fan and has watched the entire season, I will warn that there are spoilers ahead*
Picard enlists Riker’s help, and they hope to travel to save Beverly on the USS Titan, Riker’s former ship and where Seven of Nine is now second in command. But Captain Liam Shaw, the Titan’s irascible captain is having none of Picard and Riker’s shenanigans. Shaw turned out to be a surprise fan favorite (I love him almost as much as Pike now), as this self-described “dipshit from Chicago” ended up being an ally to the TNG crew in future episodes. During this time Raffi, who is one of the few holdovers from S1 & S2, searches for a stolen portal device that she fears will be used in a terrorist attack. Her unknown Starfleet handler, turns out to be Worf who is now a pacifist, as we start to see more of TNG crew start to assemble.
Early speculation proved to be correct, in that Jack Crusher was the child of Beverly and Picard. She had kept the pregnancy a secret from everyone and it explained why the crew had not heard from her in 20+ years. Knowing that the romance was doomed and that her son could be in danger if enemies of Picard found out he had a child, she hid Jack, as she was also hurting that she had lost her eldest son Wesley to being a Traveler (gah- don’t get me started on that). This plot contrivance was hard for me to swallow at first, as I had imagined the entire crew remaining friends after leaving the USS Enterprise-D (and it went against my remembrance of the strong friendship she had with Deanna Troi), but the scene in which the two had a heartfelt confrontation about their son was outstanding. Jack had a strong bond with his mother and has long known that Picard was his father, but the later developing relationship between father and son was real and nuanced.
In the midst of these family revelations, chaos swirls around the galaxy. A formidable bounty hunter Vadic wants to capture Jack, as a bounty has been placed on his head by an unknown enemy. Titan’s crew, which includes Geordi LaForge’s youngest daughter Sidney, tries to elude Vadic, but is putting the entire ship in danger worth it for one individual? When Shaw is hurt he gives the ship’s command up to Riker, who quarrels with Picard about what to do. Of course, they save the ship and crew and contact Starfleet to warn them that the upcoming Frontier Day is in danger, but evil Changelings have infiltrated the highest ranks of Starfleet. We get a surprise cameo as former Enterprise crew member Ro Loren, who had defected to the rebel Marquis years ago, shows up to help Picard gather the intel he needs. Worf and Raffi beam to the Titan as their mission is now braiding into Picard’s. Picard needs additional help, who contacts LaForge now a Commondor who runs Starfleet Museum and he joins the Titan crew along with his eldest daughter Alandra (Levar Burton’s IRL daughter) reuniting them with Sidney.
Some of the crew infiltrate Daystrom Station, where lo and behold they find the android Data! It’s not the exact version, who was killed in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis, but his memories plus the evil android Lore are put in an older body (it was a ridiculous explanation to shoehorn an older Brent Spiner in- but just accept it). And after Data fights off Lore, he gains a human consciousness, so again, just go with it. Troi, Riker’s wife, finally appears as she is kidnapped by Vadic, but Worf to the rescue with some fun dialogue that pokes fun at the relationship the two had years ago. Although late to the game, Troi is pivotal when she works with Jack in figuring out his strange visions and why a bounty is on him.
When Vadic is defeated, I wondered why the villain was being killed off relatively early, but that is because the big baddie was revealed late in the season, and of course, it is the Borg (again!). The Borg are so overused, and I thought S2 had finally put an end to them, but whatevs, let’s move on. Turns out that Jack, having some of Picard’s Borg DNA, is being used as a beacon by the Borg Queen (who we thought was dead, but no). Indeed the subterfuge by the Changelings and the Borg go deep, and all the Starfleet ships that had gathered for Founders Day were compromised and younger crew members across the universe were infected by the Borg. Only older crew members were unaffected and lucky for everyone, all the TNG crew is old! And bonus, Geordi has been restoring the USS Enterprise -D, so they all hop on their old ship to save the day. Captain Shaw is killed onboard the Titan, but frankly, I’m not worried about that being permanent. Picard outsmarts the Borg Queen, saves Jack, and the crew is able to break the connection the Borg had with the younger crew members.
Jump ahead a year, and Jack who was fast-tracked through Starfleet (which had happened to Seven too the previous year) is being assigned his first posting, His proud parents are along, as we find out Beverly was promoted to Admiral, and we soon learn that the USS Titan has been rechristened the USS Enterprise-G. The new captain is revealed as Seven of Nine, with her former lover Raffi as her Number One (so unrealistic, but ok), and Sidney is abroad too. So we now have the next generation of The Next Generation, further cemented by Q visiting Jack and promising him further adventures. This all sets us up fans for Star Trek: Legacy, a show that fans have been clamoring for, that hopefully would be run by producer Terry Matalas, who beautifully handled this season. There was reverence for the franchise and fun Easter eggs for fans, and my husband commented that Star Trek has been superior to Star Wars in that they have control over canon and legacy, with a logical progression (with a few missteps along the way). While not confirmed, I think there is a solid chance it could happen as Strange New Worlds came to be when Trekkies loved Captain Pike on Discovery and wanted a show based on him, Una and a young Spock. The way characters were woven in and out was realistic, with further cameos by Tuvok from Voyager and a voice cameo by Walter Koenig, from TOS crew who voiced Anton Chekov (a poignant shout out to Anton Yelchin who portrayed Chekov in the Kelvin-timeline movies who died IRL) the son of his original Pavel Chekov.
So I have a plea to the higher-ups- please, please, please green light a Legacy show that could incorporate crews from TNG, Voyager and Deep Space 9. In the meantime, Live Long and Prosper!
Friendship is wonderful, isn’t it? It can lead you to do all sorts of things you’d never do on your own. I’d start listing examples but, c’mon, then we’d be off on a tangent (a beautiful, nourishing, and entertaining tangent to be sure!) which could fill pages. Let’s cut to the chase! My friendship with Nancy of Graphic Novelty2 – my oldest, longest, and dearest blogging friend – has led to an historic first. I, Michael John Miller, author and operator of the blog My Comic Relief, am writing about Star Trek for the very first time. You see, Nancy loves Star Trek and I’d never seen a single episode of Star Trek (only the JJ Abrams films). I love Doctor Who and Nancy had only seen a few episodes in passing. So, in the name of friendship, AMAZING THINGS, and blog content, we did our first ever Fandom Swap! Eagerly sharing what we love with the other, Nancy chose eight episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (her favorite iteration of the show) for me to watch and I gave Nancy eight episodes of Doctor Who.
What follows is a unique piece, a sort of dialogue. You’ll see Nancy’s intro material leading me, a Star Trek newbie, into each episode, followed by my thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the episodes as well as my general feels on wading into the world of Star Trek for the first time. Enjoy!
Nancy: Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for seven outstanding seasons, but I am starting off with an episode from S3, for truth be told most series take awhile to gain their footing and attract a fan base.
Yesterday’s Enterprise S3E15
Nancy: This episode was the perfect “going back in time to right wrongs” episode. It features Tasha Yar, a character from the first season who had been the first Head of Security in S1 and was killed in the line of duty. IRL the actress wanted to leave the show (so foolish!) and was given a rather ignoble death scene, so this episode in S3 gives her a fitting end, plus I liked the subplot about the possible romance between her and Castillo. It also ended up setting up another amazing twist storyline in future seasons. Some background knowledge: The Enterprise NCC-1701-D is the fourth Enterprise, under Captain Picard (A was Captain Kirk, B was Captain Harriman, C was Captain Garrett).
Michael: My very first thought as I began my very first episode? “Is that Whoopi Goldberg??? It is!!!” I had no idea she was on Star Trek! The size of The Enterprise is something my mind kept sticking on. I’m not used to “good guy” ships being so big/full. In Star Wars, the Rebels’ ships are so much smaller than the Empire’s and in Doctor Who the TARDIS is infinite on the inside but it’s always just the Doctor and a few companions. To think of this ship’s “ecosystem,” as it were, is staggering. It’s so much more “polished” than the world of Doctor Who, where the Doctor is essentially a vagabond setting things right where they find things needing sorted. I got lost
thinking on the Tasha/Castillo romance. The idea of meeting someone, having that connection, and then knowing they have to go back into the past which will reset your timeline and make you forget ever even having met them?? That’s a heavy thing to wrap your mind around.
It’s not as jarring as I thought it’d be, jumping into the world of Star Trek for my very first time. My most vivid connection to a character from this episode was Tasha then Picard (obvs.) and Data and Whoopie.
Sins of the Father S3E17
Nancy: Worf, Klingon Head of Security, defends his family’s honor and has to make a sacrifice. This episode really showed Klingon society. Worf has proved to be one of my favorite characters, and later very capably made the jump to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and helped anchor the series that was initially struggling before it hit its stride.
Michael: Worf is one of my most vivid Star Trek memories from my youth, seeing him in ads in my comics or on TV. I always thought he was a villain (he kinda scared me) given the way he looked. Since Klingons freaked me out as a kid, it was interesting to see an episode so focused on their culture. They were as intense and violent as I would’ve expected but there was a surprising warmth and familial connection. As I observed above, the very military nature of this show is so foreign to me. I don’t normally watch or read things like this. The hierarchy. The routines. The protocol. It all fees so…strict. I got a rush o’ feels when Worf asked Piccard to serve as his cha’DIch. And when Picard replied in Klingon?? It felt surprisingly sweet for a show I was only on my second episode of.
The Best of Both Worlds S3E26 & S4E1 (two-parter)
Nancy: The Borg, cybernetic humanoids that assimilate individuals into their hive-mind, are introduced. Captain Picard is captured and assimilated! His time there would forever change him and would tie him to another character (Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager – which was Captain Janeway’s ship) who also was formerly a Borg, and the two co-star in the series Star Trek: Picard. This was an excellent cliffhanger episode and really made me anxious for the start of S4. In the years since, the Borg have become the Big Baddies of the franchise, and are over-used TBH.
Michael: What came to mind whenever I thought of Star Trek as a kid, before ever seeing an episode, was their color coded uniforms, the shape of the Enterprise, Picard, the Klingons, and the Borg. So to see the introduction of the Borg was exciting! The Borg gave me major Cybermen vibes – a cyborg species seeking to assimilate everything and operating through a hive mind. So this was kinda cool :). This threat felt familiar. It makes me wish I gave you an episode of Doctor Who with the Cybermen in it! I get your anxiety over the summer, too. My notes at the end of Part One literally said, “That’s where they did the ‘To Be Continued…’ cutoff?? How did people wait all summer to see the next one?!?”
This episode was the first time through this I felt really invested in the story. Like I was on the edge of my seat watching! I also keep thinking of how often I saw the Borg, the assimilated Picard, and their big ol’ cube ship in my comic ads as a kid. So much of my sense of Star Trek comes from those ads. Going into the second episode, even though I knew Picard would be ok (somehow), I still felt a pit in my stomach as Ryker takes charge and Guinan gives him his li’l pep talk to do so. My notes for the end of Part Two, “What was with that ending?? Was it just a sobering reflective moment or are they still in his head someway??”
The Inner Light S5E25
Nancy: Probably my favorite TNG episode ever! Picard is always so stoic, but here he gets to raise a family and the ending will gut you. The flute…tears!!! It makes you wonder how long you yourself would fight against knowing you were in the wrong era/world and give in and live the best life you could under the new circumstances.
Michael: Knowing this is your favorite TNG episode ever had me really excited to see it! I can see why you like it (and I don’t even have the emotional connection to the series/characters that you do!) and it did give me a lot to think about! Waking up in a world I know is wrong but everyone else says is correct would be so overwhelming! I presume I’d spend a lot of time crying and ultimately find myself committed. Even if I had another family and natural supports, I’d be haunted by what I knew was right and what I knew I’d lost. Could I go to bed with a women I just met who was certain we were married? When would I commit to an illusion? When would I accept it as “real”?
I figured out the twist when Picard and Batai were talking about the planet being doomed but that didn’t make it any less emptional. What a beautiful reflection on the power and purpose of history! History, when done right, should pull us into a people and we should come to love them – their life, their culture, their ways, their world – just as we do our own family. But history often fails. Though when it doesn’t, well it can forever change our lives as it did for Picard. The flute scene at the end, while I was expecting something like it, was so poignant! This was an episode! I see why you love it so much! On the one hand, my gut reaction was it was kind of a dick move on those people’s part, to hijack a consciousness to share their story with the world. But as soon as I thought about it for a few moments I realized…what else is the point and purpose of history? Yes, it’s hard but it should be. WOW.
I, Borg S5E23
Nancy: An injured Borg drone is captured and Picard has to decide if he will use him as a weapon against the Borg, who have become a huge threat to the Federation. What happens when this former Borg begins to demonstrate free will?
Michael: Seeking out an area “for colonization” carries a different connotation in our age of growing awareness of the horrors of empire. Dr. Crusher’s immediate compassion for the wounded Borg boy was welcome, especially after their last encounter. I really like her character for that :). Picard plotting a potential Borg genocide with Data is not unsurprising (heck, Star Wars adores genocide) but it still makes me sad. The whole military-centric drive of the show, in fact, is something that has yet to feel like it “fits comfortably” for me. I love how the more Geordi gets to know Hugh, the more uncomfortable he feels with the program he’s designing. Conversation breeds connection and connection breeds communion. The last episode tugged on the ol’ heartstrings but watching Hugh voluntarily go back to the Borg to protect Geordi from their pursuit hit hard. I just wanted them to save Hugh! Why couldn’t they take him with them?? Why didn’t he become part of the crew?? Siiiiigh.
The First Duty S5E19
Nancy: Wesley Crusher, the doctor’s son who had been a regular in the first few seasons but had left the Enterprise to attend Starfleet Academy, is back in this episode and he is in trouble. He and some other cadet pilots made a stupid decision while flying and a crewmate died. This isn’t truly one of my very top episodes, but it ties in nicely with the next episode I am having you watch. Aside – the actor playing Nick Locarno would later be recast and play Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager. For legal reasons, he couldn’t be the same character in two different series.
Michael: “Captain’s Log: Stardate…” “Space – the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship, Enterprise. It’s continuing mission, to seek out new life, to explore new star systems, to boldly go where no one has gone before.” “Resistance is Futile.” It’s so cool to finally be experiencing these classic lines for myself as part of their narrative rather than just hearing them as an oft quoted piece of pop culture! Picard told Wesley the duty of every Star Fleet officer is to the truth – scientific, historical, and personal truth. I really like this frame of what they do. And I got to see future Earth – future San Diego, it looks like – for the first time!
Lower Decks S7E15
Nancy: We get a look at the younger crew members of the ship, and one of them is from the episode The First Duty. This gives us a different perspective of the ship, seen from the crew who are part of the “lower decks.” This premise is the basis for the new series Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is a cartoon, but ties in with the entire franchise. A very bittersweet ending, but realistic that sometimes captains need to make decisions that they know could hurt or kill their crew, but is for the greater good.
Michael: In some ways this episode reminds me of Scrubs S9, with it’s focus on the ensigns on the ship and their concern about their careers and promotions and coming up in Star Fleet. I was really happy to see Sito back from the last episode. I like her. Watching her talk with Picard in the wake of what happened at the Academy was hard. We’ve all been haunted by mistakes but how do you come back from something like that. Do you? Can you? I like how this episode explored that. I love how often they hang out in the bar/restaurant on the Enterprise. I like the overlay of senior officers and the ensigns playing poker – regular poker on a regular poker table
with regular cards – and chatting, too. It gave a strong sense of continuity between those on the Enterprise and us. It felt more like our possible future, you know? Ok, so here are my literal stream on consciousness notes:
“If Sito dies in this episode…I’ve not seen enough Star Trek to learn their narrative rhythm yet but it seems like this could be setting her up for a tragic ending. I am rooting for her! I really like her as a character! She can’t die here! If I lose Sito after the flute scene and losing Hugh, I am gonna be in a rough place! I am not comfortable with this whole hostage ruse/escape pod pickup scenario. I am not liking this one bit!”
What a heartbreaking way to end. I mean, it makes sense. It is bittersweet, as you said. And it certainly leaves me awash in my own emotions around the crew of the Enterprise. Part of me is surprised I became so connected to these characters in just eight episodes – and Sito who was only in two of them! – but part of me isn’t. I’m an empath by nature and I’m easily pulled into a well written story. Also, Star Trek has been popular for sixty years precisely because it pulls people in like this.
Nancy: I hope you enjoyed your window into my beloved franchise, and if I had another episode I would recommend the last episode of the series, All Good Things, which wraps up the series nicely. It had a perfect ending scene with all the main characters. While of course Star Trek: The Original Series is the granddaddy of the entire Star Trek universe, I believe you can truthfully say it was Star Trek: TNG that revitalized the franchise, and all series that came afterward are truly based on TNG. For anyone interested in getting into Star Trek for the first time, of course, I recommend TNG, but the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is absolutely fantastic and will make a Trekkie out of you yet! In the meantime, Live Long and Prosper!
Michael: I did enjoy this! In fact, I enjoyed it so much by the start of “The First Duty,” I began to consider watching Star Trek on my own, making it another big series I explore alongside Classic Doctor Who. This is HUGE as I feel I never have time for the TV people tell me I “should” be watching (in fact, I just wrote about my reluctance to jump into new TV shows here). But I was open to – even eager – to explore more of the Star Trek universe on my own. The main reason I haven’t yet was I wasn’t sure if we’ll make this Fandom Swap an annual thing we return to so I held off ;D. But I’m SO GLAD we did this! And I’m really happy you chose TNG for me to begin with as almost all the Star Trek memories I have from my youth are about TNG. Now I finally got to see it for myself!
Nancy: Stay tuned for my piece on Doctor Who next week!!!!!
I was inspired to do this post after reading the post that Hailing Frequencies Open had on what made their own Super Crew. I love the rebooted Kelvin timeline movie series, but I decided to stick to the tv series for this list.
Captain: Admiral Kathryn Janeway
The perfect captain- Janeway was in ultimate control, yet was relatable. Faced with extraordinary pressures, she united two warring factions and built a unified crew out of former enemies. She survived a year of hell, coming out stronger than ever. I wish Star Trek showcased more female captains- while I like the captain they picked for Discovery, they missed an opportunity to add another female to the line up of leads for the franchise.
First Officer: Commander William T. Riker
He’s my Number One, especially once he grew his beard. Walk on over and sit in this chair, please. Let me see the Riker maneuver.
Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Beverly Crusher
Dr. Crusher is grace under pressure. Man, was I pissed when the powers that be had her off the ship for season two. Her coming back elevated the series. Smart and capable, she could handle any medical emergency that occurred.
Chief Engineer: Lieutenant Commander Georgi La Forge
This was a gimmie, for I love LeVar Burton. He is the celebrity I most want to meet- from his portrayal of Kunte Kinte in Roots, to his love of literacy in Reading Rainbow, and then his Star Trek TNG role. But you don’t need to take my word for it!
Ship’s Counselor: Commander Deanna Troi
She is the queen of empathy- and Riker’s gal. It made sense that ships in stressful combat zones would need a mental health expert. I was glad Star Trek addressed that issue. I’d be friends with her in real life.
Operations Officer: Ensign Harry Kim
This guy helped Voyager out of so many jams, and was still an ensign! This infuriated me. It’s called a field promotion people! I am promoting him up a few ranks immediately.
Science Officer: Commander Spock
Leonard Nimoy more than any other actor in the franchise personifies Star Trek. His Vulcan personality was the perfect foil to Captain Kirk, and made the combining of different nationality and alien species on a ship complete. Love the quote “I have been and always shall be your friend”.
Chief of Security: Lieutenant Commander Worf
Worf is the best. He needs no explanation as to his presence on this list.
Tactical Officer: Lieutenant Natasha Yar
The actress Denise Crosby must still be kicking herself that she left the Star Trek series. I liked her character in the first season of TNG, and loved her redemption in Yesterday’s Enterprise, so now I am giving her a chance to live on…
Conn Officer: Commander Nyota Uhura
No one compares to Uhura. Beautiful, smart, ambitious, and an equal to the men- she is the original Star Trek role model. All strong female Star Trek characters owe a debt to her.
Rookie/Kid: Wesley Crusher
While I am a fan of the actor Wil Wheaton, his Wesley portrayal was not a favorite of mine, but I like keeping families together, so he remains on the ship with his mother. Given time, he will mature. And let’s just forget about that Traveler crap. Had I chosen Captain Benjamin Sisco for another position, his son Jake would have gotten this spot.
Wild Card: Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax
She is another character I am bringing back from the dead. She will be reunited with Worf, and they will have a happy ending!
Ship: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
The ship from my favorite of all the series- The Next Generation. It had a bar with Guinan in it, plus a cool holodeck.
So this supposed quick and easy post took much longer than I anticipated, as I read Memory Alpha articles on many of these characters, which then branched to other characters and episodes. Time suck alert! Still, this was a fun way to imagine a perfect crew. So many worthy actors and actresses have kept this series as strong as it is. Live Long and Prosper, my friends.