Anne Francis Stars In…Our Look At Forbidden Planet

Pop quiz time, Rotten Inkers! Can you name the ten films that are referred to in Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Science Fiction Double Feature”? It’s okay, I’ll give you a minute to sing through it in your head. Done? Alright. Even if you didn’t get all of them, I can bet that one you did catch was in the chorus. Sing it with me, “Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet.” This musical exercise is my less than clever way to introduce today’s update, all about seminal science fiction film Forbidden Planet. I’m Juliet, occasional co-pilot here on Rotten Ink. As you may guessed by now, having read my prior contributions to Rotten Ink, although I have massive love and respect for the horror genre, my earliest and continuing love is for science fiction. If Matt’s the Monster Kid of our house, I’m the spaceships and robots kid for sure. So it’s perfect that we’re about to dive into a film, and the comic books adaptations of it, that not only feature spaceships and robots but really influenced all of the spaceship and robot things to follow it. We’ll start with some history.

Forbidden Planet was released in 1956 by MGM and was shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope. It was written by Irving Block and Allen Adler (who was blacklisted from Hollywood during the second part of the Red Scare), directed by Fred M. Wilcox and stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen. It was the first science fiction film to take place entirely on an interstellar planet that was far from Earth, and the first to show humans traveling faster than the speed of light in a ship of their own creation. These are two of the many reasons Gene Rodenberry names Forbidden Planet as one of his main inspirations for Star Trek. You can also see its visual and design influence on the Star Wars franchise. And remember, this film was released 13 years before the moon landing and five years before cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to travel to space.

Another first for Forbidden Planet is its score. It was the film to have an entirely electronic music score, though at the time, it was referred to as “electronic tonalities” to avoid music guild fees. The composers, Bebe and Louis Barron were discovered accidentally when an MGM producer was visiting New York and saw them perform at a beatnik club and then hired them on the spot to create music for Forbidden Planet. Many people think that the pre-Moog synthesizer electronic drones were created with a theremin, similar to part of the score for Hitchcock’s Spellbound, but the effect was actually created by electronic circuits and modulators that Louis Barron built himself. For this and their work, Heavenly Menagerie, which is considered the first piece of electronic music committed to magnetic tape, the Barrons are considered pioneers of electronic music.

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Robby the Robot is notable for both his design and characterization. Robby’s design was developed from initial ideas and sketches by MGM production designer Arnold “Buddy” Gillespie, art director Arthur Lonergan, and writer Irving Block. The concepts were refined by production illustrator Mentor Huebner and perfected by MGM staff mechanical designer Robert Kinoshita, and Robby was built by the prop department. For his time, Robby sported one of the most complex robot designs moviegoers had ever seen, comparable in design only to Maria, the Menschmaschine in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (another of my favorite robot films). MGM spent a reported $125,000 on Robbie, which with inflation is about $1.1 million today, and compared to the overall budget of Forbidden Planet, he remains of the one most of expensive single props compared to the overall budget of the film he’s in. The suit itself is unique; made of three pieces that completely surrounded the actor and contained all of Robby’s electronics, it could be filmed from any angle without a reset unlike Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still, whose suit had to be reset for different angles to cover special fastenings that allowed for movement.

As a character, Robby was one of the first science fiction robots to have a distinct personality and to be considered an integral supporting character in his film. Again, Maria from Metropolis and Gort are good precursor comparisons. Contrary to Forbidden Planet’s poster and much of the advertising leading up to the film, Robby isn’t the villain, and in fact, follows a version of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics throughout the film including (and most important to the climax of the story), the fact that he cannot kill a human being. He is portrayed as physically strong, benevolent, extremely loyal to Alta and Dr. Morbius, and, at times, he’s a bit sassy.

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It’s unknown whether Robby takes his name from Fantastic Island’s Robbie – a mechanical decoy used by Doc Savage or from the Asimov story of the same name, which was published in 1940. However, after Forbidden Planet was released, Robby became a pop culture icon. He had another starring film role in MGM’s 1957 movie The Invisible Boy and makes a cameo in Gremlins. He appeared in many TV shows, including the The Addams Family, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mork and Mindy. He and and several props from Forbidden Planet were used in the “Uncle Sam” episode of The Twilight Zone (the original Rod Serling version), but Robby donned an alternate head for that appearance, based on one of the original, rejected models created for Forbidden Planet. Robby also appeared in several episodes of Lost in Space, in which he battled Robot B-9 (aka Robot), who he’s sometimes confused for. In 2004, Robby was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame.

If you haven’t seen Forbidden Planet, by now you’re probably wondering what the heck it’s about. Based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the story follows the crew of the starship C-57D, lead by Commander Adams, as they travel to Altair IV with the goal of discovering what happened to an Earth expedition sent to the planet twenty years prior. When they arrive on the planet, they find its only inhabitants are Dr. Morbius, his beautiful daughter Altaira, and Robby, their robot servant. But something sinister lurks on the planet, and Dr. Morbius is keen to keep it a secret. I’ll leave the story at that for now as we’ll dive further into it when we review Innovation’s comic book adaptation of the film.

As I mentioned above, I am a lifelong scifi fan, and I’m particularly fond of space stories and robot stories so it wasn’t hard to fall in love with Forbidden Planet. I first saw it when I was around thirteen years old. In 1996, MGM re-released the film on VHS and laserdisc with a special widescreen presentation for its 40th anniversary. My dad got the VHS as a gift, and one day I decided to check it out. At the time, I didn’t know about Forbidden Planet’s place in science fiction history, how really important it was the genre and how it influenced the creators of many of the things I already loved. What I knew back then was that it was a great movie. It’s lush, beautiful and puts you completely into its world. All of the characters are smart, including Altaira who is naive about certain things, having never lived with other humans, but can handle her own with the ship’s crew. Robby has such personality, and his look, as well as that of the other props, is yet another argument for practical effects and design over CGI. The story gets at all of the great science fiction questions of forbidden knowledge and its power, the ethics of being an outsider in someone else’s world and how far artificial intelligence should be allowed to go without human intervention. Forbidden Planet instantly took a space in my top five all time movies where it’s remained ever since.

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After Forbidden Planet was released, Robby the Robot became a pop culture icon and a favorite for collectors of science fiction merchandise. He’s been a toy, a Funko pop figure, a talking bank, and a bobble head, among other things (I own all of those, by the way). There are also model kits for both Robby and the ship. The iconic Forbidden Planet poster (a reproduction of which hangs above my bed) has made its way onto lunch boxes, t-shirts, and variety of print formats. The film itself has been released on VHS, laserdisc, DVD and BluRay, and the soundtrack is available on CD and both vintage and new edition vinyl.

In 1992, Innovation Comics, in association with Turner Entertainment, released a four part comic book adaptation of Forbidden Planet.  These comics are the subject of today’s update, and Robby reminds us that there are at Rotten Ink, comics are graded on a scale of 1 to 4 stars and that we are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s prep to board our spacecraft and journey to the Forbidden Planet.

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Forbidden Planet  # 1   ****
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 1 of 4

Commander J.J. Adams and his crew have been traveling the vast unknown of space for over a year on a mission to find out what happened to the crew of the spaceship Bellerophon, sent to Altair 4 twenty years prior.  Upon approaching the planet’s orbit, Adams’ ship receives a message not to land, but they do so anyway.  At first the planet appears to have no trace of any survivors of the Bellerophon, but the crew is eventually greeted by Robby the Robot, who takes Adams and his command crew, which includes Doc Ostrow, to meet his master Dr. Morbius.  Morbius is cautious, if not downright suspicious of the newcomers, informing them that, while he is the only survivor from the Bellerophon, he is not in need of rescue.  The issue ends as Adams and his companions meet Altaira, Morbius’ nineteen year old daughter who was born on the planet.

This first issue, titled Relief Ship, is a really nice start to our adaptation of Forbidden Planet.  David Campiti’s script follows the beginning of the film faithfully and closely, so you don’t miss anything that’s been shortened or adapted to work in comics.  Daerick Gröss’ painted artwork really captures the distinct look and feel of the film, and the way the panels are structured loosely on larger, more atmospheric backgrounds is really interesting.  I’ve not seen that done in other books.  My only hesitation is that occasionally Innovation’s adaptation books get too artsy and lose the story completely, and/or worse, the art slows down the pacing of the storytelling and the title is cancelled before we get a complete adaptations (I’m looking at you, Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour).  So I’m proceeding cautiously because I don’t want that to happen with Forbidden Planet.  Hopefully the association with Turner for the publishing helped move things along a bit, and we’ll get the full story in these four issues.  So I guess it’s a good time to move on to Issue 2 and see if that’s the case.

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Forbidden Planet # 2 ***
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 2 of 4

Commander Adams and crew learn more about Altaira, Dr. Morbius’ daughter who we (and they) met at the end of issue #1.  Altaira is nineteen and was born on the planet.  Until this point, she had never met a human other than her father, and that combined with mysterious properties of the planet have somehow given her the ability to communicate with the animals residing on Altair 4.  This begins to change, however, as Altaira becomes intrigued by the crew of young men currently stationed on her planet, in particular Commander Adams, who at first spurns her rather naive advances but is ultimately unable to resist her charms.  Dr. Morbius is concerned for his daughter and for what her newly awakened passions might mean for all of their fate.

This is another great adaptation issue that, although it moves a few things around from the movie for a better page flow, once again stays faithful to the film’s story.  This issue, called The Innocence of Altaira, focuses on Morbius’ daughter.  This particular storyline is really interesting in both the film and the comic, and takes a scifi approach to the age-old story arc about the loss of innocence through the gaining of knowledge, either literal (which we’ll see more of soon) or sexual…or both.  Although she isn’t drawn to look like Ann Francis, the comic book version of Altaira is faithful to the film version, both highly intelligent and a bit naive and with a sassy relationship with Robby.  Once again the painted artwork is fantastic and full of the vibrant colors we expect from this portion of the film.  We’re at the halfway mark for this comic book series, and I think, if done correctly, based on our current pacing we could get the full film by the end of issue 4.  So onward, to Issue 3.

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Forbidden Planet # 3 ***
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 3 of 4

It’s time for Dr. Morbius to finally explain the truth to Commander Adams and Doc Ostrow, that Altair 4 does, as they’ve been suspecting, hold a dark secret.  Taking them through a passageway in his office, Dr. Morbius leads the spacemen into an old laboratory belonging to the Krell, a long dead race of super beings who inhabited Altair 4 in the planet’s ancient past.  The Krell were highly advanced and had managed to harness the power of their own minds to build a great civilization and in turn use the machines they created to further enhance their minds. But in doing so, they unlocked the Id, a powerful monster born from their own thoughts that was eventually responsible for the downfall of the Krell and the deaths of the crew of the Bellerophon.  Morbius is concerned that through his own actions and the arrival of Adams and his crew, the monster has once again awakened and will destroy them all.

In this issue we get the Krell mythology and the origin of the Id monster, and again, although a few things were slightly rearranged for the comic, by and large this reveal worked in the comic just like it did in the film.  The one minor place where I felt like the comic felt a little short, however, is that I don’t feel like the artwork has the same impact as the graphics in the film when it came to depicting just how vast, advanced and intricate the Krell technology was.  Don’t get me wrong, it beautiful artwork, but in the film, you could really feel the size and scope based on the both the design and the camera set up.  But don’t let my complaints fool you into thinking this isn’t a great comic with great artwork, it really is – and, unless something goes completely haywire next issue, it looks like we are poised to get the whole film adaptation in the scheduled four issues.  So let’s get to it!

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Forbidden Planet # 4 ****
Released in 1993      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 4 of 4

With the secrets of the Krell revealed, the Monster of the Id is growing stronger and threatens to destroy all of Altair 4.  Commander Adams and his crew are left with a choice: to flee the planet or to stay and fight.  Morbius, knowing that his own dabbling in Krell technology is in part to blame for the monster, encourages them to leave and to take Altaira with them.  As they try to make their escape, the monster attacks and Robby is unable to defend them because of a protocol that prevents him from harming Morbius or his family — you see, the Morbius has become part of the collective Id from which the monster is formed. So all hope is lost for the doctor.  Altaira and the recovered Robby agree to flee with Adams and his crew, and the ship blasts off into space as the planet implodes.

And there we have the epic conclusion to the comic book adaptation of Forbidden Planet, and yes, Innovation made it happen in the scheduled four issues.  This final issue holds the bulk of the action as our heroes must escape Altair 4 as the Id Monster grows stronger threatening to destroy them and the entire planet.  In this issue we see Altaira making the difficult choice to leave her father and Morbius having to reckon with the consequences of the damage he’s caused.  We also see Robby put to the test in a great example of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics when he cannot kill the monster because it and Dr. Morbius have become one in the same.  The was a great conclusion to a great comic book adaptation of the film.  From the script to the artwork, everything was done with care and respect for the source material which makes it a great read for fans and newcomers alike.  Take a look below at some of Daerick Gröss’ artwork.

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Often comic book adaptations of films are really hit or miss, but Innovation’s Forbidden Planet is definitely a hit for the casual or diehard fan.  Be sure to track this one down and check it out.  For our next update, we’re leaving outer space and landing back in the U.S.A. for Rotten Ink’s annual Fourth of July update wherein Matt will return to once again look at a title with a patriotic theme.  This time around he’s going with a classic, and I do mean class – a reprint of the very first issue of Captain America.  So get your grill out and your sparklers ready (though keep them away from comic books for safety’s sake!) and get ready for our next update here on Rotten Ink.Captain America Logo 00

Alien Invasion: Alien Nation

Imagine if tomorrow we found out that there is life on other planets.  Now imagine them coming to Earth and working everyday jobs alongside us; how would your mind handle this? Would you fear them because they were different and not born on Earth? Would you embrace them as fellow living beings? What kind of languages, religions and cultures would they share with us? I for one would be very interested to learn about and from them and would embrace them as fellow living beings….that is unless they are like the aliens from Mars Attacks or Independence Day.  Then I would say we as the world would need to come together and drive them from our planet! Today’s update is an Alien Invasion update that brings aliens to Earth who want to become productive members of our very own society and want to be treated with respect.  These aliens are The Tenctonese aka the Newcomers and are from the film Alien Nation that spawned a TV show, comic books and novels, and we will be digging into the DC Comic adaptation of the film as well as explore the world of the film that was released by 20th Century Fox in 1988! So sit back look to the skies and think about alien friendship, as I am proud to bring you Alien Invasion: Alien Nation.

So let’s start this invasion off right and take a look at the film that this comic is based on, as without this film Alien Nation would not be a cult classic film that many Sci-Fi fans enjoy and love still to this day. The movies write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after that, I will write a little about my first time seeing Alien Nation as well a few more memories of its legacy.

Alien Nation (1988)

“A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, San Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes, a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt.”

I can remember the ads on TV and in the newspaper for the release of Alien Nation. It really piqued my interest as growing up in the 80’s, just like Horror and Fantasy films, for me Science Fiction was a big genre as films like Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, Planet Of The Apes and Last Starfighter were all popular with fans and my generation as a whole. But sadly, I was not able to go to the theater and see Alien Nation as my parents did not want to go to see it, plus it was rated R so could not see it on my own as I was only around 9 years old when it was out. It would be some years later when I first got to see it thanks to a VHS rental from a local video store on a weekend. I can remember the whole family watching it and all of us enjoying it as it felt like it was a film that had a deeper meaning behind it and yet felt like a true modern style science fiction film. After the first time watching it, we saw it a few other times as it would later go on to be shown on paid cable stations we had, and at some point I ended up buying it on VHS. The film had an amazing cast that included James Caan, Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin, all of whom were fantastic in their roles with Stamp and Patinkin being unrecognizable in their roles as aliens. After seeing the film I can also remember watching the TV Show Alien Nation that started in 1989, and I remember finding some of the comics from Adventure Comics years down the line at The Bookie Parlor and can remember going crazy when I got to read the cross over mini series they did with Planet Of The Apes called Ape Nation in 1991. But by the mid 90’s sadly Alien Nation had lost its footing in the world of pop culture as the TV Show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and the comic series from Adventure Comics ended in 1992. But while Alien Nation never got a movie sequel or even a more modern comic series, it still remains a classic 80’s Science Fiction film that I think everyone should check out.

The Tenctonese are from the planet of Tencton and are human like in appearance besides their heads, which have no hair on them and are slightly bigger with reddish spots on them that also run down their spines. They are stronger than a normal man as well as smarter as they were born and bred in order to be slaves. They eat food raw and that includes meat and veggies and in order to get drunk, they gulp down soured milk! They can be poisoned and die by such things as chocolate, tobacco and fluoride with salt almost being like acid to them as it can burn their skin. Their nerves and organs are different than ours as is the way they make love and things that can harm humans seem to have no effect on them including many types of poisons. They also look at sex as something special and not taboo and find adult movies childish. So what I am trying to say is that while they can be killed, they are definitely smarty and stronger than us and if they were real and here on Earth we would be smart to work with them and not against them as they could very much be our downfall!

So we have talked about the film as well as the Tenctonese, and I think it’s time to take a look at the DC Comic adaptation of the film and get this invasion going! I also just want to say that one other reason I think I have always enjoyed Alien Nation is the fact besides being a good science fiction film it also is a good buddy cop film! But if you look in the sky, a message has just been written in the stars and it says, “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”! So let’s get to it and see if the comic holds up as good as the movie.

Alien Nation # 1  ***
Released in 1988       Cover Price $2.50       DC Comics       # 1 of 1

It’s been three years since the Newcomers came down from space on their ship and became part of the populace in America.  This anniversary is all over the news and is causing people to remember where they were when the aliens landed. While on duty, cops Matthew Sykes and Bill Tuggle are involved in a shootout with some robber newcomers who leave Bill dead and Sykes very bitter toward Newcomers. He decides to team up with promoted Newcomer officer Sam “George” Francisco as he thinks he might be able to help him find who killed his partner as a rash of fake robbery murders have been taken place targeting the aliens. Sykes and Francisco follow the leads and find out one of the gunmen from the robbery worked at a gas plant and that’s the connection between the cop killing and the Newcomer killings. The pair of cops go around and uncover clues and even along the way start to build a friendship as they both see that their job and family is what matters in both of their lives. And soon George opens up to Sykes and lets him in on a Newcomer secret that there is a powerful drug that was made that all Newcomers took when they arrived and some got addicted to it.  The drug has side effects, and he thinks that this drug is the reason for all the killings. They finally are able to figure out that Newcomer William Harcourt is the man behind the killings as well as the man behind making the drugs, and when George and Sykes go to arrest him, he overdoses on the drug and turns into a raging hulking alien monster who stalks Sykes down trying to kill him.  This fight leads them to the ocean, and Sykes is only able to beat Harcourt when he pushes the supped up alien into the salt water that acts as acid and burns him up. George is able to pull Sykes out of the water and into a helicopter and they solve the case, destroy all the drug, take down the super powered alien bad guy and still make it to Sykes daughter’s wedding.

This DC Comic adaptation of the film Alien Nation is a great read and holds the magic of the film and even quickens the pace slightly and delivers a great buddy cop science fiction comic. The film’s plot has a cop whose partner is killed by an alien and his next partner is from the same alien race that murdered his last.  He must learn to put aside his hatred in order to solve the case and become a more tolerate person. This comic does a fantastic job of blending all the elements that made the film special together to make for a quick pace comic. Matthew Sykes is a cop who is good at his job but fails in life at being a good person as he has a rough and hateful attitude, but as he goes long on one of his most important cases he learns to try and be a better person and not hate those who are different from him. Officer Sam “George” Francisco is a Newcomer and the first of his race to be on the force and climb the ranks, he is a good cop who is by the book and he as well learns by the end of this case to lighten up and finds friendship and understands its value in life. Our main bad guy is William Harcourt who is as well a Newcomer and is a rich alien who is very slimy and is involved with drug making, selling and the murders of his fellow race! And once he is discovered to be a scumbag he overdoses on his own drug and causes himself to become a hulking mutant alien and does his best to murder our two main characters! This comic is filled with action, drama and even a little dark humor and this helped add to the enjoyment of the read, and proves that many comic adaptations of films can be well done. The cover to this comic is well done and is eye catching for fans of the film, and the interior artwork is pretty good and is done by Jerry Bingham. Over all this is an entertaining and good comic based on a cult classic film and is worth a read for those who enjoy Aliens and Buddy Cop stories. Check out some artwork below and see what this comic has in store for you.

Alien Nation is a great science fiction film about an alien invasion that allows them to live among us and not try and take us over like say Independence Day or hunt us for sport like Predator that I have covered here at Rotten Ink in the past. But I think it’s time to leave this Alien Invasion behind and crank open another Undead File for our next update as we will take a look at the Original Walking Dead series! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch an Alien film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a zombie gut munching of a good time!

 

Matt Goes To The Movies 2017

Welcome once more readers and friends to my look at the movies that hit cinemas last year as I count them down for your reading pleasure. 2017 was a pretty solid year with many films that I was very much looking forward to watching, some films that I didn’t know much about but found myself really liking, and even ones that lived up to the hype I created in my mind. This year I was lucky to watch many of these films in multiple theaters as I saw many at Cinemark at The Greene as well as Cinemark Dayton South, and I also went to Regal Cinema in Beavercreek and Cranberry Cinema in PA.  For the most part, they were all great experiences with Regal being the worst as every time I see a horror movie there something goes wrong from kids running up and down the stairs to grown men yelling at people for asking them to stop talking during the movie…in other words, the Regal is my least favorite place to watch movies. I also was lucky to see many of these films with friends and family as this year I watched many of them with the likes of Juliet, my brother Bryan and his family, Josh Weinberg, Stephen Alexander, Theresa Daniels, Jeremy Hoyt, Garrison Kane and Eric Shonborn to name a few. I also ate lots of popcorn and drank lots of bottle water and ICEE’s! So I can see on the marquee that they are seating here at The Rotten Ink Theater so let’s find our seats and chat about what Hollywood brought us in 2017.

Once more this year I was super lucky and did not see any majorly terrible movies so once more this year the “Worst” film countdown will not be present, and we will move onto our first countdown, Action Films!!! So get ready to run from the explosions and hear some one liners as this is one genre of films that is lots of fun on the big silver screen.

# 3

Xander Cage walked away from being a member of the secret extreme team XxX many years ago, but is tracked down and brought back into action when terrorists steal a black box that brings satellites down from space to crash into selected locations killing many. And worse the terrorist have killed Augustus Gibbons, the main brain behind the XxX team with one of these attacks! Now Xander, with a team of fellow XxX members, goes on a quest to stop these attacks and get revenge for their fallen friend and boss. But things are not what they seem, and this film takes lots of twists and turns as they find out a former XxX member might be the brain behind the attacks and things start to get really extreme as it’s a war to get the black box and stop this once and for all. This was a fun and silly action film, and it was nice to see Vin Diesel return as Xander Cage as he hams his way through the cheesy dialogue and over the top action moments. The film had a budget of $85 million and did not do to great for Paramount at the US Box Office as it only brought in $44,898,413.00 and made its money overseas. While not a groundbreaking action film, this was a fun check your brain at the door popcorn flick.

# 2

Restaurant owner Quan Ngoc Minh watches as his daughter and several other innocent people die in a terrorist attack in London. He is hurt and his spirit broken after his only child is gone. Quan sets out for answers as he wants revenge on the group who did this terrible act as he was once in the special forces and has the means and tools to get his revenge served dead cold. He sets his sights on government worker who once had ties to the group who has taken credit for the attack and won’t stop till he gets the answers he seeks. This is a fantastic action/drama film that stars Jackie Chan in a very dark and brooding film, but this lovable action star pulls it off so well as does co-star Pierce Bronson, who plays the government official. The film is well acted, the score is fantastic, and it’s an overall outstanding film that has some great action from the aging Jackie Chan who, while a little slower, still don’t seem to be missing a beat when it comes to delivering action and fights. The film was a hit for STX Entertainment overseas and did okat at the US Box Office as it brought in $34,216,587.00 on the budget of $35 million making the US dollars just the icing on the cake as it brought in $101,300,000.00 estimated from foreign markets. This is a film that’s worth checking out on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital if you get the chance.

# 1

Hitman John Wick, also known as The Boogey Man, is forced back into the world of assassination when he must do a favor for a fellow hitman who he owes before he can 100% retire.  When he at first refuses, his fellow hitman blows up his house and forces him back to accept and hires him to kill his sister who is going to be the head of the family business now that their father is dead. After John conducts the hit, he soon finds out his “friend” and fellow hitman has now placed a price on his head and hitmen from around the world are coming around to cash in! With very little friends and very little safe places, John must kill his one time friend and hope the hit goes away…but this action film has lots of twists and turns and leaves the door wide open for a part 3! This is a great sequel to the first film and adds more badass nature to the character of John Wick.  Once more I must say I am not a Keanu Reeves fan but he is perfect as this character, and I could not see any other action star pulling this off. The film did well for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in $92,029,184.00 on a budget of $40 million. If you enjoyed the first film, this second film will also deliver the goods!

It was a solid year for Action fans, and really for me, hands down the best was John Wick 2 as that is a series I hope they continue for a while now. But let’s move away from action and into the world of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. It was also a great year for fans of those two genres.

# 8

Weird animals have been found in an underwater lake, and the oil company who found them are keeping it quite as the lake stands between them and lots of oil they need to make lots of money! Tripp is a high school student who works on cars and also works at the town junkyard, and when one of the creatures decides to hide and turns a broken down monster truck into a true monster truck, Tripp is the one who befriends the creature whose parents have been taken away by the bad guys! Tripp and his new creature become close friends and each help each other in a quest to save the day from the evil oil company and the scientist who works for them. This is a silly kids science fiction fantasy film that was a fun watch on a boring Wednesday at the theater and is nothing special but also not a total waste. This film tanked at the US Box Office for Paramount as it only brought in $33,370,166.00 on a budget of $125 million! Not much to say about this film besides it’s a goofy kids film that stars Lucas Till, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover and Thomas Lennon and worth a watch if you’re bored.

# 7

The war between humans and robots is raging on, and when Optimus Prime is taken over and turned evil, the humans and what’s left of the Autobots must team up to save the world from becoming the new Cybertron as the evil robots of space are trying to take over our world. But you can never keep a good robot down as Prime returns to the good side and joins the fight to save the world wide. Throw in Merlin The Magician, medieval robots, and an over acting hammy Anthony Hopkins, and you have this 5th film in a movie franchise based on a 80’s toy line that is clearly running out of steam and is chugging along on fumes. Now with that said, I really did have a blast watching this over blown action film on the big screen as it was clearly made to be a summer popcorn family flick. The film over all did well for Paramount worldwide and just at the US Box Office, it brought in $130,168,683.00 on a budget of $217 million. At this point with the Transformers movies I must say that if the series ended here with this sequel, it would be a good thing, but if they decide to try a milk another film or two out of Optimus Prime and his friends, I am sure I will travel to the cinema to watch. Worth a watching via a rental for fans of the past film or for those who wanna see a chubby old Anthony Hopkins get blown up….yeah, I laughed out loud at the theater watching that scene.

# 6

The Earth is being protected from terrible storms and natural disasters by a massive satellite base called Dutch Boy that was created by Jake Lawson who later gets banned and fired from the station for not playing ball with the government. Some time passes, and Jake’s brother Max is now in charge and has to try and bring his brother back after someone has hacked the system and is causing massive storms and climate changes to parts of the world. Once together, the brothers and only a few selected friends must figure out why this protection machine has been turned into a weapon of mass destruction and who’s behind it. The was a pretty cool disaster film that was well acted with most of the drama and scenes taking place in outer space.  It also does a good job of keeping you always guessing as to who is behind this highjack and why they want to cause death and chaos. The film stars Gerard Butler as Jake Lawson, who is our film’s unlikely hero, and he does a great job no matter where the plot and twists of this film takes him. The film was supposed to have been a big blockbuster film for Warner Brothers but did not do that well at the US box office only bringing in a total of $33,424,531.00 on a budget of $120 million making it a bomb for them. But if you like films like Armageddon, Earthquake, 2012 and Twister, this film is one you will want to check out worth watch on DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital.

# 5

The Great Wall follows a group of mercenaries from Europe who travel to China in order to steal the secrets of gun powder and soon find themselves prisoners at the Great Wall of China after much of their party has been killed by an unknown monster! And things get worse as they must fight for their lives alongside their captors against a horde of monsters as it’s clear that the Great Wall was created to protect the people of China from the hordes of monsters that want to enter and eat all of mankind! With lives on the line and gun powder to be stolen, they stick around for awhile with a sinister plan in motion. But soon with a change of heart and many lives on the line as the monsters get past the wall, it’s a fight for survival as the monsters want flesh, and our heroes want to be just that, heroes. This film was lots of fun and is a fantasy adventure film that blends well the beauty of Chinese Fantasy and European Goth Fantasy and mixes in American style Knight films and all together it creates a Fantasy, Action, Science Fiction, Martial Arts film with a dash of Horror. The film stars Matt Damon, Jing Tain and Willem Dafoe and is a great watch for fans who enjoy monster hordes and folklore of China. The film sadly did terrible for Universal here at the US Box Office as it only brought in $45,157,105.00 on a massive budget of $150 million! Thanks to the foreign box office, this film ended up not being totally in the red. For those who have not seen it, The Great Wall is a great watch and should have done better at the box office here in America, worth picking it up on DVD or Blu-Ray.

# 4

Luke Skywalker the Jedi Master has been found by Rey, and she has a message for him that the rebels need his help in their fight against the First Order who have risen in the place of the Empire. As Luke fights with his inner self, not wanting to get involved in another galactic battle, Princess Leia and the rebels are being stalked by Snoke and his First Order army as their ship is running out of fuel and could be blown to bits! It’s up to Poe, Finn and Rose to try and save the day and get their friends to safety and out of the grip of Snoke’s battleships blasting power. Rey thinks she can help turn Kylo Ren good and leaves Luke, who she deems a coward for not helping. In the end Luke makes his return, and the Rebels, who seemed to be on their last leg, get new hope as Rey is learning her force powers, and on the other side Kylo Ren has taken over the First Order. This new episode in the Star Wars saga is kind of a mess as the film seems to spin its wheels with plots that seem pointless and characters who change for no reason….and not to mention many of the deaths of classic characters seem really cheesy and not well thought out. But while this is a flawed movie and the worst of the Disney made Star Wars films, it was by no means a terrible movie and did have some great moments with the new and classic characters. I enjoyed the inner drama and madness of Kylo Ren, the growth of hot shot Poe Dameron as well as new Jedi Rey! It was great seeing classic characters like Chewbacca, Leia, C3PO, R2-D2, Admiral Ackbar and of course Luke. This film has fans very split as many love it, while others hated it to the extreme…myself, I found it okay and enjoyed seeing it on the big screen in 3-D. Did the film’s script stink bad in spots…yes, but in the end it’s just a weak sequel in a franchise that’s going to be around for a long, long time. The film did amazing for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $548,962,602 on a budget of $200 million. Don’t listen to what the critics and internet keyboard reviewers have to say, check it out for yourself and see what side you’re on.

# 3

Captain Jack Sparrow is at it again as he and his crew lead a botched robbery of a safe that ends up leaving Jack in jail and about to be hanged for his crimes. Henry Turner is the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, and he wants to find the location of an item he thinks will save his father from the curse of Davey Jones as well as will lift all the curses of the sea and to do so he saves Jack Sparrow as well as Carina Smyth, a young female astronomer who has been accused of being a witch. Together they hit the sea for adventure but soon find they are not alone as an evil ghost named Captain Armndo Salazar is out for revenge and is forcing the likes of Captain Barbossa to help him capture Captain Jack so that he can kill him like Jack killed him many years back and caused he and his old crew to been cursed for many decades. And of course our hero Jack Sparrow is only out for one thing, to save his own butt and try and get drunk and rich while doing it! This fifth Pirates film was lots of fun and was a great watch on the big screen! Johnny Depp is fantastic as the goofy Captain Jack Sparrow who is a hero of sorts who you find yourself cheering for even though he is a terrible and selfish person. The film’s villain Captain Salazar is cold blooded and murders anyone who gets in his way of revenge and only has one mission, to kill Jack Sparrow, and is also a very self centered person who worries about his legacy and name. This film also delivers cameos from long time fan favorite characters Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann and offers the possibility of a sequel that could have them once more joining Jack on an adventure on the high sea. The film over all did well for Disney with it bringing in $172,558,876.00 on a budget of $230 million with it doing well worldwide doing a total of $794,861,794.00! I really enjoyed this film and am a fan of the series, and I can’t wait to see the next film in the series as this is one of Disney’s franchises that I look forward to seeing in the theaters. Check it out if you’re a fan of the series, and I even have bought the film on DVD so I can watch it again.

# 2

K is a Blade Runner who has been hired to kill older rogue models of androids who have all gone into hiding. But after one of his hits, he uncovers a mystery that intrigues him enough that he breaks the rules and stumbles onto a secret that will reshape the world and change lives forever. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot of this film as I think fans of the original as well as fans of classic feeling science fiction films should really check this one out. The film was well cast as Ryan Gosling is fantastic as K, and the supporting cast of Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks, Ana De Armas and Harrison Ford are all fantastic. I enjoyed this film so much that after watching it in the theater, both Juliet and I sat in our seats for a few moments and just talked about how much we both enjoyed it. The film sadly did not do well for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office as it only brought in $91,524,557.00 on a budget of $150 million. I am not sure why the moviegoing public decided not to get off the couch and see this film, but it’s a shame as this one was a perfect watch in the theater. Great acting, great story and amazing score, I will for sure buy this one on DVD when released.

# 1

Caesar and his fellow apes are at war with the humans who are sending soldiers into sneak attack battles. The humans are being lead by The Colonel who, during a raid, kills Caesar’s wife and teenage son, and this sparks the lead ape on a quest for revenge. As Caesar and his closest friends set out to kill The Colonel, they come across a young mute human girl as well as another talking ape named Bad Ape. And this quest for revenge comes to a head when Caesar and many of the apes are taken prisoner, and they must get strong in order to escape and become stronger as the world’s new race. This film is a great Science Fiction film that is filled with lots of action, drama and even some funny moments.  No joke, this film is the only film in the theater that I felt myself tearing up at the end. The plot of this film even has many surprises and some sad shocking moments and is one that really must be seen, and if you have not seen it yet, go get it on DVD, Blu-Ray or even rent if from you local Video Rental Store. The film did good worldwide, and at the US Box Office alone it made $146,880.162.00 for Fox on a budget of $150 million. This film is my # 1 Sci-Fi/Fantasy film, and I think it is also one of my favorite films of 2017!

Hollywood really did deliver some amazing films this year and like always, they flooded the market with films based on comic book characters.  So my next list is a ranking of them! At this point I will wait for you to go get a refill of popcorn or soda….go on….for those who are waiting with me for them to get back, I also want to say that “Murder On The Orient Express” was a fantastic film and a must see but sadly did not fit an any of these categories. Well they are back with their refills, so let’s look at theses Superheroes!

# 6

Steppenwolf from Apokolips, along with his army of Parademons, are on Earth and want to bring the end of the world. What stands in his way is Batman and his newly formed together team of heroes like Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman that are calling themselves The Justice League. But when our heroes find out that the odds are against them and Steppenwolf is closer to bringing the Earth down, they make a choice to try and bring Superman back from the dead.  After doing so, is the Man of Steel the same hero the world lost or will he return and be something evil? In the end The Justice League, under the pressure of the world’s end, must fight to try to stop Steppenwolf once and for all. This was a great popcorn movie that was flawed in spots with the story and editing at times seeming like they were disjointed, but even with those flaws, I really found it to be fun and some moments even had me laughing out loud as The Flash steals the show in many scenes. The film did not do that great for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office as it only brought in $225,627,455.00 on a massive budget of $300 million! But thanks to worldwide box office dollars, the film was not a total bomb. While not a perfect superhero film, I would say it’s a very enjoyable one that was unfairly prejudged by the internet critics who judged before they even seen it.

# 5

Star-Lord and the rest of his Guardians are on a hired mission when Rocket Raccoon steals from their employer, and they now have a price on their heads that has been taken by Yondu and his pirate crew. Meanwhile Star-Lord and his friends crash land on a planet and meet Ego, who is a god-like being who happens to also be Star-Lord’s long lost father! As the Guardians Of The Galaxy stay with Ego on his planet, they meet Mantis and soon find that they, along with Yondu and his outlaws, must team up to stop Ego who is in fact a very evil being who wants to rule the galaxy and even steals the life energy from fellow living beings to gain power. This is a fun space adventure and was filled with action and lots of laughs with Dave Bautista as Drax stealing the show. While this film was very good, I did find it a little weaker than the first film, and it seemed a little too long. But with that said, this was a great popcorn movie in the theater and was worth buying on DVD like I did when released. The film did fantastic for Disney at the US Box Office as it brought in $389,813,101.00 on a budget of $200 million. Not the best Marvel Superhero movie this year, but a really good one that showcases why Marvel Comics rules the Box Office for the most part.

# 4

Thor returns to Asgard after defeating Surtur and thinking by doing so he prevented Ragnarok! Back home he finds that Loki has taken the look of Odin and has been running things after he left their father on Earth in a retirement home.  When traveling to Earth to get their father, they are meet by Doctor Strange who takes the brothers to the location of their father who is dying and tells them that their older sister Hela is on her way to Asgard and with her comes death! The brothers soon find that their sister is powerful, and she defeats them with ease and this causes them to become lost in space and stranded on a war planets where Thor is forced to be a gladiator and compete against The Hulk, who crashed there after leaving Earth behind. But Thor wants to save his home from the true Ragnarok, and along with Loki, The Hulk and female warrior Valkyrie, they escape the War planet ruled by Grandmaster and travel to Asgard for a final battle with Hela. This was one heck of a fun Superhero film that brought laughs, action and drama together perfectly and plus it had The Hulk in it, who happens to be one of my all time favorite superheroes! The film is well acted and had a great score and was a perfect way to set up Thor for the next Avengers movie. Disney did well with this film at the US Box Office as it brought in $311,621,239.00 on a budget of $180 million! Fans of Thor and Marvel Comic movies should check this one out if they have not.

# 3

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker aka Spider-Man is swinging around New York stopping small crimes and waiting for the call from Iron Man when he is needed for Avengers business. But he soon learns that the call is not coming anytime soon and that he must not only deal with his High School life but also try and stop a new villain called The Vulture who is selling high powered weapons to criminals. But not listening to Iron Man and finding out who the man behind the helmet of The Vulture is leaves Spidey in a bad situation that forces him to truly be the hero he is meant to be. This was a perfect Spider-Man film and showcases why the world of comic book readers and movie goers love Spidey! Tom Holland was perfectly casted as Peter Parker and makes the perfect Spider-Man, and I hope he sticks with the part for many movies to come. Michael Keaton was wonderfully sinister as The Vulture and plus seeing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man again was really cool. The film did really well for Sony at the US Box Office as it did $334,201,140.00 on a budget of $175 million. Make sure if you enjoy Spider-Man as a character to check this film Spider-Man Homecoming out as it really is the best film that has been made featuring Spidey.

# 2

The X-Men are gone, and Wolverine and Professor X are on the run as they are wanted by the government and are being hunted by a group lead by Donald Pierce. Logan himself is very sick, and Professor X has a brain disease. While trying to escape, they come across and save a young girl named Laura (X-23) who is in fact also a mutant with the same powers as Logan! After fighting and always staying ahead of the bad guys, things come to a head when Professor X is murdered. Laura and fellow young mutants are being hunted down, and Logan must force himself to be the hero he once was and uses all he has in order to save the young Mutants. This is unlike any X-Men and Superhero movie I have ever seen.  While it is packed with action, it is also very heavy on drama and tries to very much tug at your heart strings as this is the final film from Hugh Jackman to play Wolverine as well as Patrick Stewart as Professor X. While sick, Logan still has what it takes to brutally kill his enemies and save those he cares about. The film did great for Fox at the US Box Office and brought in a massive $226,277,068.00 on a budget of $97 million and shows that the movie going public still love Wolverine as a character. If you want to see a Superhero film that is more than that, make sure to give this one a watch.

# 1

Amazon Princess Diana Prince left the safety of her island of Themyscira in order to help American pilot Steve Trevor and his fellow soldiers during World War I as she has discovered that Ares The God Of War has a sinister plan in order to cause world destruction. And as Wonder Woman lives among men, she discovers that she is a symbol of hope and will not stop until she puts an end to Ares and helps turn the tides of the war. Gal Gadot is fantastic as Wonder Woman, and I can’t think of any other actress who could have played the part better! Hands down this was the best over all entertaining Superhero film of the year as when watching, it felt very special. This film did fantastic for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in a whopping $412,563,408.00 on a budget of $149 million. This truly is a fantastic Superhero film and makes me have faith that DC could make a comeback in the world of cinema and capture the same magic that the Christopher Reeve Superman films did and even the Tim Burton Batman films did years later. Own it on DVD, and I can’t recommend it enough.

So the superheroes took the cinema by storm and once more showed that Marvel Comics and DC Comics heroes have lots to offer from the pages of comics to the big screen for fans. But now we are at the point of this review that I always look the most forward to, the countdown of Horror Movies that made it to theaters in 2017 that I was able to catch! This year in Horror was filled with lots of sequels as well as a good mix of arty style films and just plan cheesy ones, and as always, I enjoyed them all and am looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us! So take a drink of your soda and prepare for the Horrors Of The Cinema 2017!

# 20

It Comes At Night is about Paul and Sarah, along with their teenage son Travis, who are all hiding out in their farm house as the world around them is being filled with a sickness that is very contagious.  After taking in another family, they must decide between life and death when the sickness comes close to home. This is a very artsy horror film that burns at a very slow pace and plays on the viewer’s fears of sickness, loneliness and family first morals and even a little fear of the unknown as something in the woods around the house could be causing this rash sickness and death. But while the concept and atmosphere of this film is good, the rest of it I found to be a bore as it was not as “Deep” nor “Brilliant” as many viewers want you to think. In fact when this film came out, I had to chuckle when seeing friends who enjoyed it trying to say that those who didn’t like it “Just Didn’t Get It” when sad to say there is just not much to get in this bore fest! The film had a budget of $2.4 million and at the US Box Office brought in $13,985,117.00 for A24 Films making it a hit for them. While some love it and others hate it, I found myself almost putting it in my Worst film list as I wanted so much to like it but just couldn’t.

# 19

The Creeper is back and on another killing spree in this third film in the Jeepers Creepers series that takes place after the first film and before the second film. The Creeper is on the loose and is stock piling bodies when the local Sheriff as well as fellow law enforcement officers have taken The Creeper’s truck and soon learn his 23 days of killing is still going strong as he gets his truck back and continues his killing spree. The Creeper then sets his sights on a young woman whose uncle had a run-in with him 23 years ago and was able to take the killer’s severed hand.  This has marked her as a victim of his rampage. Now her crazy grandma and the cops set out to stop The Creeper and save the young girls life as well as others that are yet to have been gotten. This third film in the Jeepers Creepers series by all accounts feels cheap and almost feels half assed by all involved. While the story is okay and it’s nice to see The Creeper back in bloody action, the acting by almost the whole cast is bad with Meg Foster who plays the crazed Grandma being really over the top and bad in spots. The film’s blood and gore as well is lacking, and over all this film was just average. Jeepers Creepers 3 had a limited theatrical run and brought in a total of $2,335,162.00 at the US Box Office for Screen Media. Over all fans of the series should check it out; other horror fans might want to skip it.

# 18

Alice is back in a world that is overrun by zombies and controlled by the Umbrella Corporation, and she gets the shock of her life when she is contacted by the Red Queen who wants to help her bring down her creators and spread the airborne cure that will kill off zombies world wide once released. So Alice, along with some fellow survivors including Claire Redfield, enter the Hive (Umbrella’s main hub) and must find the cure in time before all human life is gone. Can Alice stop the zombie t-virus plague? Can she find out who she really is? And will she be able to trust the Red Queen? All these questions are answered in what is supposed to be the final film in the series. I must say that this film was lots of fun but also was total nonsense as the fights scenes are a quick edited mess and scene by scene, it played out as very paint by numbers. The film did poorly at the US Box Office for Sony as it only did $26,830,068.00 on a budget of $40 million, but worldwide it made lots more showing that this tired series still has drawing power at the theater. Worth watching for fans of the Resident Evil film series and those who enjoy cheesy polished zombie films.

# 17

A college teacher buys an old VCR from a flea market and stuck inside it is the cursed tape of Samara Morgan.  As he tries to repair the VCR, he ends up watching the tape and being cursed himself.  In order not to die in 7 days, he tricks his students into watching the tape that he has now turned into a internet video! Julia is a student who gets stuck in the curse as she watches the video after looking for her boyfriend who as well has become the target of Samara and her tape thanks to this professor. Now it’s up to Julia to find a way to stop Samara once and for all and truly find her body and give it a proper burial, but will this free the world of Samara or is this what she wants to unleash more of her evil in the world? This third film in the Ring series was an average sequel that added nothing new to the legend of Samara and is packed with normal paranormal scares. The acting in the film is okay as are the kills, and while not overly scary, I will say that it shows that Samara is one evil spirit who enjoys causing the deaths of any human stupid enough to watch his tape. The film did not do all that great for Paramount at the Box Office in the USA as it only brought in $27,793,018.00 on a budget or $25 million. This film also was the reason that Paramount cancelled the 13th film in the Friday The 13th series as they were mad at Horror fans for not supporting this sequel to their Rings series. While Rings might not be an amazing film, it still was enjoyable in the theater.

# 16

Colonists have landed on a planet that is perfect for them to harvest the embryos their ship is carrying and create a new colony, but they soon find that they are not alone on this planet as it’s over run by Xenomorphs who are killing them off one by one. They also run into android David who is creating the aliens as he wants to play God and thinks what he is creating is the top of the food chain. After what’s left of the survivors escape, they soon find that they have an unwanted visitor as an alien is loose on the ship, and this could be the end of life as they all know it. This sequel in the Alien series is not very good and is hands down the weakest in the series as director and creator Ridley Scott thinks that fans of the series really just want to see actor Michael Fassbender acting with himself and make the focus only be his character David who was a carry over from the film Prometheus. He also seems to forget that fans of the alien series like to see the Aliens and have scary moments not over played cliché science fiction moments. Also fans of his film Prometheus seem to get the shaft as he downplays all the characters from that series besides David! Over all this film was very mediocre and offers some great moments filled in between moments of Fassbender! The film bombed for Fox at the US Box office as it had a budget of $97 million and only brought in $74,262,031.00! This film is for diehard Alien fans only and worth getting on DVD if you’re a completist like myself.

# 15

In 1997, weird lights were seen in the sky of Phoenix, Arizona and a group of friends went out to the desert in order to find the UFO and sadly they are not seen again. Years later, one of the friend’s younger sister along with her boyfriend trying to find what happened to her brother and his friends and uncovers that things are being covered up by our government and that a tape of the events had been found. This found footage film was really well done, and I found myself drawn in to the story that is really based on unknown lights seen in the skies of Phoenix in 1997. The film has some great moments that showcase that some missing people might just have gone missing because of aliens. The film had a limited release and did pretty well for Cinelou Films at the US Box Office bringing in $3,600,146.00 on a budget of $2.8 million. If you enjoy found footage horror films and films about aliens and UFOs, this is a film you might want to check out.

# 14

Laura is the most popular girls at college, has lots of friends, and is very active on social media.  She makes the mistake of accepting a friend request from weird loner goth girl Marina Mills, who has no friends and animates weird creepy videos. While Laura was just being nice, Marina thinks their friendship is real and starts to become obsessed with the popular girl, and this makes Laura get annoyed and unfriend her after a scene is made in the school cafeteria. This makes Marina super sad and leads to her killing herself live on social media and also shows that this weird girl has weird powers as she puts a curse on Laura that causes her close friends to die and her popularity to disappear. Now Laura and her boyfriend must try and find the place that Marina killed herself to retrieve her body and find the mirror she used for the curse. But can they stop this curse or is Marina’s power to strong for them?! This was a great little horror shocker that for the most part had likable characters and made you feel bad for both Laura and Marina as both girls just wanted friendships, but they both had different ways to show it. Liesl Ahlers who plays Marina was fantastic, and I hope she stars in more horror films in the future. This film also had some great spooky moments, but sadly when seeing this film, I was the only person in the theater so I could not judge how the scares effected the audience. The film brought in $3,759,078.00 for Entertainment Studios at the US Box Office on a budget of $9.9 million. This film is worth watching if you enjoy supernatural horror films, and I for one pre-ordered it on DVD.

# 13

17 year old Clare Shannon is a young girl who is unpopular at school but has a group of tight friends, is embarrassed by her father who is a hoarder dumpster diver and is deeply affected by the suicide of her mother. But her life changes when her father finds a Chinese music box in the trash and gives it to her as a gift and out of sadness she makes a wish around it and finds that her wishes come true with it.  But each wish comes with a price that ends up affecting those close to her. But Clare is addicted to her wish fulfilling music box, and she can’t stop even though she is causing harm to her family and friends. Can Clare break the hold the music box has on her or will it be too late to save her soul and those whose it has already claimed? This was a really good PG-13 horror film that showcases a new twist on the Monkey Paw legend and is well acted and has some really cool twisted deaths and a very mean spirited ending. The film at the good old Box Office in the USA brought in $14,301,505.00 for Board Green Pictures on a budget of $12 million making it a semi hit for them. This film was a limited release and was worth seeing in the theater as I really did enjoy it over all. While some parts are a little cheesy and predictable, it still was a good popcorn scary picture. Worth watching on DVD, Blu-Ray or rental, and I for one bought it on DVD.

# 12

Sisters Lisa and Kate are on vacation in Mexico, and this get away is hard on Lisa as it was supposed to be her and her boyfriend but they broke up. To do something fun the sisters meet some guys at a bar that tell them about a boat that will take them out to the ocean and allow them to enter a cage and see sharks up close and personal! But when the sisters get into the cage and start to have fun, the boat’s crane fails, the cable snaps, and the sisters sink to the bottom of the ocean with no help in sight as the boat is not equipped for this kind of trouble, and they must leave in order to get help. The sisters are stuck in a cage in the dark water with oxygen tanks that are running low and one large hungry shark that is stalking them. Can the sisters survive while they wait for help or will they meet their deaths in the cold dark water? The film is super dark in nature and is filled with dread almost from the start as the gloomy nature of the water makes for some creepy moments as does a shark who wants nothing more than to take a bite out of human flesh. This film stars Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as the sisters.  They are super likable, and you find yourself cheering for them to be rescued and feel nervous for them when all looks lost. The film had a budget of $5.5 million and at the US Box Office brought in $44,307,191.00 making it a hit for Entertainment Studios. While this might not be the next JAWS, it still is a solid killer shark movie that will make you think twice before going into the water.  This film is worth the watch and is one you might want to own if you like Jaws or Open Water.

# 11

The fifth film in the Underworld series was lots of Horror Action fun and had Selene being targeted by vampire council member Semira and werewolf pack leader Marius, both of whom want the location of her daughter whose blood could bring power to the one who drinks it. She however does not even know where her daughter is and along with her vampire friend David must fight to protect their vampire brethren from the werewolf hordes all the while exposing the corruption within the vampire hierarchy and bringing a new breed of vampires into power who can lead them into the final war with the werewolves. This film was not only filled with over the top action that included guns and swords, but also had a good amount of blood and gore including a werewolf who is cut in half from head to butt! Selene is as likable as ever as a vampire antihero who just wants to be left alone, but when pushed will kick your butt! Selene is played once more by the lovely Kate Beckinsale who brings a touch of class to this cheesy Action Horror hybrid film series. Evil werewolf leader Marius is played by Tobias Pulver and is one sinister and mean spirited werewolf hiding behind the guise of being a peace bringer. The film also stars Theo James, Lara Pulver and Daisy Head and did poorly for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in only $30,353,973.00 on a budget of $35 million. The film is left open for another sequel, and I for one hope that it does come to light as this was lots of silly bloody fun and was the first Horror Film of 2017 to hit theaters and was a great way to kick off the year.

# 10

Sergeant Nick Morton and his friend Corporal Chris Veil are fighting in the war in Iraq and are stealing art to sell on the black market when they accidentally find an ancient tomb that houses the body of the Princess Ahmanet who many decades before sold her soul to Set in order to gain unworldly powers. But they now are busted by the Army and have to show their findings to archaeologist Jennifer Halsey whom Nick had a one night stand with in order to steal locations to ancient art. But things get worse when they take the body of Ahmanet out of the tomb and they unleash a curse that leaves many of them dead. Ahmanet marks Nick who she has selected him to be the human vessel for the returning god Set. While Ahmanet claims victims who she turns into her zombie slaves, Nick and Jennifer must find a way to stop her path of destruction that includes teaming with Dr. Henry Jekyll and his team of monster collectors. In the end Nick must decided if his life is worth that of the many and if he can bring down Ahmanet and her undead army. This Universal Monster film was the start of the now already dead Dark Universe of films that was supposed to bring back the classic monsters to cinemas, and after this film, that idea quickly fell apart. The film is a mix of Adventure and Horror and confused many movie goers as they for some reason downplayed the fact it was a Horror film. The other major issue this film had with movie goers is the casting and highjacking of the production of Tom Cruise who turned the whole movie into one about himself and even downplayed the threat of The Mummy. The pluses to this film are the fact it was a new Universal Monster Movie that brought a classic monster back to movie screens, the fact that actress Sofia Boutella is fantastic as The Mummy Ahmanet and let’s not forget the zombies! While the story is a mess and is very much flawed, I am not ashamed to say that I enjoyed this film and wish Universal would continue the Dark Universe! The film did poorly for Universal at the US Box Office only doing $80,101,125.00 on a massive budget of $125 million sadly showing that the budget for this Mummy film was way too high. While not perfect, this was a fun popcorn film that entertained me and is worth at least checking out with low expectations.

# 9

College students Eliot, Sasha and John move into a old house off campus and after having a friend over who conducts a séance, she finds something evil is in the house and things start to get weird when they notice coins appearing and weird nosies. And when Eliot finds a note in a drawer that says the words “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It, Bye Bye Man” they unleash The Bye Bye Man who inflicts them with madness and hallucinations and causes murder and death, and one by one the friends start to die and must find a way to stop The Bye Bye Man once and for all. This was a cheesy and 90’s feeling horror film that brings a creepy new supernatural killer to the movie screens and showcases that not all horror films in the theaters need to be ghost movies! The film is PG-13 and stills packs some cool kills, and the killer Bye Bye Man looks great and is played by Doug Jones. The film did pretty good for STX Entertainment at the US Box Office and brought in $22,395,806.00 on a small budget of $7.4 million and hopefully this becomes a franchise as the world could use another supernatural slasher. Check this film out if you like cheesy horror films and like killers with monster dogs!

# 8

Lockhart is a man who is hired to go to a wellness center located in the Swiss Alps in order to bring back a CEO of a major company who went to this spa and never returned. At the spa he finds that the man is happy and don’t want to return to work. As Lockhart is leaving, he also sees a young woman named Hannah and becomes intrigued by her. As he is being driven back to the train station, he and the driver get into a major wreck that leaves Lockhart with a broken leg and forced to stay at the spa and forced to drink lots of water. Soon Lockhart gets to meet Hannah in person and starts to realize that this wellness spa is not what it seems as people act weird, the workers do some cruel things and a sinister feeling is all around. Lockhart along with Hannah must figure out what is the dark secret of the spa and why is it that people check in and never check out. This is a delightfully weird horror film that is filled with great atmosphere and in the end takes an almost House Of Wax type shock to spook the viewer. The film has a great score, is well acted and again have to praise the atmosphere as it has a real gothic horror feel. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs and all do fantastic jobs in their roles. While the film does have some gross moments, it’s not a bloodbath and plays on the fear of being taken and forced to stay in a place beyond your control. The film sadly tanked for Fox at the US Box Office only doing $8,106,986.00 on a budget of $40 million, and it’s a shame as it really is a good classic feeling horror film. Check it out via rental or give it a buy on Blu-Ray or DVD.

# 7

Bodies are being found with the mark of Jigsaw Killer John Kramer on them and weirdly enough, small tapes are also found that have Jigsaw talking to the victims, and this has cops and doctors puzzled as Kramer has been dead for a very long time. They try to figure out how this is possible and when digging up Kramer’s grave they find him not inside.  A game is being played that is killing off people who have bad secrets from their past. But like all good SAW movies, not all is what it seems and lots of twists and turns leave the viewer with some answers as well as new questions. This film is the eighth film in the SAW series, and while it does not offer anything new to this long running series, it was very cool to see a new sequel this past Halloween season in the theater and see Tobin Bell return as Jigsaw. The film has some twists that work really well but also had some really bad over actors making up major characters with actor Matt Passmore as Logan Nelson being the worst offender. Like all good SAW movies, this film has some gruesome deaths and doesn’t skimp on the blood. The film did okay for Lionsgate at the American Box Office taking in $ 38,052,832.00 on the small budget of $10 million. But while it made money, Lionsgate looked at it as a bomb, and I doubt if we get a another sequel anytime soon. While this is not a groundbreaking Horror film, it sure was a fun one to watch in the theater, and I have always been a sucker for sequels.  So if you like the SAW films, give this one a watch.

# 6

Married couple Samuel and Esther lose their daughter Annabelle after she is struck by a car after church.  Samuel, who is a doll maker, quits working on his dolls, and it’s not until years later that he and his wife decide to open their massive home to house six orphaned young girls as well as Sister Charlotte.  Things look good until until young Janice is tormented by a demon who is in fact hidden in a doll after tricking the parents into thinking it was the spirit of their daughter. The demon possesses Janice, and it’s up to her friend Linda and Sister Charlotte to save the young woman’s soul. This was a pretty cool creepy little film that is the second in the Annabelle film series as well as the second spin off from The Conjuring series that showcases the demon and his doll he hides in. The film is not a blood bath and relies on atmosphere and the fear of the unknown to get the scares from the audience. The film did great for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office and brought in $102,092,201.00 on the small budget of $15 million and shows that ghost and possession movies are here to stay for a while longer and The Conjuring and its spinoffs will be leading the pack. Worth watching and owning for sure!

# 5

Casey Cooke and her friends Claire and Marcia are kidnapped by a man named Kevin Wendell Crumb who suffers from an identity disorder and decides that he is going to keep the women as his prisoners. Things get really bad when Casey figures out that as Kevin’s identity changes, so does his personality and even appearance. But she soon learns that she needs to fear and fight for her life when The Beast personality takes over Kevin. This is a very cool horror thriller that has lots of shocking and creepy moments, and The Beast is a true monster among men. The film does not use blood and gore to deliver scares and does deliver with class and atmosphere. M. Night Shyamalan directed the film, and James McAvoy stars as James.  This shows that Shyamalan is back delivering high quality horror films. The film did great for Universal at the Box Office here in the US as it did $138,141,585.00 on a budget of $9 million showing the modest budget horror films bring in money for production companies. It’s worth a watch and has a nice ending that ties into another film and leads to a future sequel that I will for sure be in line to see.

# 4

Chris Washington is a young black man who is meeting his white girlfriends family for the first time and is nervous about it. When he gets there, he notices that everything seems great and this puts his nerves at ease, that is until he notices that this perfect little town is not so perfect and all the rich people seem to have a weird vibe to them and something just is not right with the other black residents who all seem to be in a trance. And for poor Chris things get worse when he finds out her parents are as well not as nice as they seem and he uncovers the town and families dirty little secret. This is a great Horror Thriller that blends in the tension of race and does so really well. The film is well acted, well written and has a great score and showcases that horror films can have a message and can be entertaining doing so. The film was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who has a bright future in the world of Horror. The film did fantastic for Universal at the Box Office in America bringing in a massive $175,484,140.00 on a budget of only $4.5 million. I should also note that this was produced by Blumhouse, who is truly the new top of the line when it comes to modest budget horror films. This is a great watch and is one that I bought on DVD when released after seeing in the theater.

# 3

College student Theresa Gelbman wakes up in the bed of Carter Davis after a night of heavy drinking.  She rushes out and is rude to everyone she comes across and at night when heading to a party, she is murdered by a killer in a baby face mask. And after being killed, she wakes up again in Carter’s bed and repeats the day over and over and over and must figure out who her murder is! This film is like Groundhog Day if it was a horror film and is a true modern day slasher film as the killer wears a big mask that would fit perfectly in a 80’s horror film.  The film does have some blood and some cool kills. What really works for this film is that Theresa grows as a character as she starts off as a terrible person and by the end she learns that being a snotty brat will get her nowhere. My favorite side character from this movie is Danielle, who is so bratty and snobby that she made me laugh almost every time she was on the screen.  She is played by actress Rachel Matthews, who I hope to see in more horror films soon. This film as well is produced by Blumhouse and like almost all their movies, this one did great at the US Box Office bringing in $55,683,845.00 for Universal on a budget of $4.8 million. If you like slasher films and or the film Groundhog Day then give this fun slasher film a watch. Also this was a fun one to watch in theaters as the audience seemed to be having lots of fun with it.

# 2

In 1988 during a rain storm, young 7 year old Georgie goes missing and is pulled into the sewer by Pennywise The Dancing Clown unbeknownst to everyone in the town that the young boy’s fate was to be eaten by this demonic clown. Bill is Georgie’s older brother, and he feels bad for his missing brother and becomes obsessed with finding out where his brother is and even brings his misfit friends on his quest to find the truth. But the kids soon find out about Pennywise, who in turn uses the kids own fears in order to keep them away and all the while is still collecting and killing the kids of the town. Bill and his friends won’t be scared away and travel to the underground and track down this killer clown who lives on fear, and they must have a showdown with him in order to save their lives and others. This is a great adaptation of the classic Stephen King horror novel and takes a different route than the original made for TV movie mini series and adds more scares and a new era to the mix. The film has some great creepy moments, and Bill Skarsgard is amazing as Pennywise and makes this character his own. Viewers who have a fear of clowns will be terrified of Pennywise as he is one sinister grease painted killer monster. The film did amazing for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office as it only had a budget of $35 million and brought in an amazing $327,481,748.00 making it a Box Office hit. While watching this in the theater, the moviegoers around were all jumping in their seats and to me that’s a great sign of a good Horror Movie.

# 1

The year is 1973, and the government has hired tracker James Conrad to lead a military and scientist group to explore a newly found island that is called Skull Island! When they find it, they are meet by a massive monster gorilla called King Kong who brings down their helicopters and splits the group up who soon find that Skull Island is filled with all types of giant animals and monster that include the Skullcrawlers who kill and eat whatever they can catch. While on the island, they also meet stranded World War II veteran Hank Marlow who tells them the way of the land and takes them into the village of the island’s tribe. They soon find out that King Kong is the ruler of the land and has a good heart and only fights when he has to, and as James and crew try to leave the island they must get help and help King Kong as he battles the granddaddy of all Skullcrawlers who wants to kill Kong once and for all and rule Skull Island itself! In the end with Kong’s help, they all escape the Island and they help Kong in his final fight with his mortal enemy. This was an amazing Adventure Horror Monster film, and I really did feel like a kid again sitting in the theater and watching King Kong in this film. The film is stacked with great actors like Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly all who make their characters come alive and not to mention the score by Henry Jackman is top notch. King Kong in the film looks fantastic and watching him smash Skullcrawlers and helicopters is pure popcorn movie stuff. This film did well at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers as it did $168,052,812.00 on a massive budget of $185 million with most of the film’s profits being brought in from overseas. While this film is not pure horror, it is a monster movie and is hands down my favorite Horror flick of 2017 that I saw in the theaters! Worth a buy on DVD or Blu-Ray for fans of King Kong and giant monster movies.

So as you can see, 2017 was filled with lots of great movies from all types of genres, and it really makes me look forward to seeing what Hollywood and the theater going experience has in store for me in 2018! But the clean up crew is here at the Rotten Ink Theater, and they are wanting us to leave so they can do their job, so let’s not be rude and let them work. Before we leave, I need to let you know that my next update will be about the film “Muppets Take Manhatten”! That’s right, we are going to talk Muppets! So until then make sure to see a movie or three at your local theater and support independent filmmakers any chance you can. See you next time around as Kermit The Frog hits the Big Apple!

 

Star Trek : The Intergalactic Icons Of Space

Space is a vast place filled with all types of mysteries and things that we have yet to discover.  Many people my age grew up with space and planets like Mars being things that sparked imagination as well as discussion in and out of school.  Not to mention things like Star Wars, Flash Gordon and The Last Star Fighter were popular films, and some even had toy lines that all kids still played with. But one space themed show always got my attention was Star Trek.  Characters like James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy were all interesting and already had iconic status in the mid 80’s when I first remember watching the show. So for this update, I figured that in honor of the new Star Trek film in theaters, the announcement of a new TV series in the works and the fact that earlier this year Juliet spoke about Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was time for me to take a look at Marvel Comics series based on the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise! So set your phasers to stun and be ready to beam aboard as we boldly go where Rotten Ink has only gone once before!

Enterprise Ship In Space

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas and later with his family moved to Los Angeles and became a fan of stories about Tarzan and John Carter Warlord of Mars. Roddenberry majored in police science but found his calling in aeronautical engineering that lead to his stint with the United States Army Air Corps and would lead him to later working for Pan American World Airways.  During his time as a pilot, he would be involved in a total of three crashes, two as the pilot with and one as a passenger. The last crash, while working for Pan American, was so bad that 14 people lost their lives and many others were seriously hurt.  A short time later this lead to him stepping down in the company and pursuing his love for writing fiction and working for the Los Angeles Police Department as a traffic cop and later as a member of the Public Information Division as his writing was really good. During this time, he was also able to serve as an advisor for such shows as “Mr. District Attorney” and “Highway Patrol” in the 1950’s. These shows kicked off Gene’s dive into television as a producer and writer, and he delivered for such shows as “The West Point Story”, “Bat Masterson”, “Have Gun Will Travel” and “The Wrangler”, but in 1966 it was “Star Trek” that made Gene a true icon of science fiction Television. Gene would go on through out the 70’s and 80’s writing and producing shows and the Star Trek movies. His next TV hit would be the 1987 series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Gene was married twice with his last wife being Majel Barrett who is the voice actress of the starships in the Star Trek universe as well as played Nurse Chapel in the original series and Lwaxana Troi in the Next Generation. He also had three children with his son Rod following in his footsteps in becoming a TV producer with his biggest upcoming work being the new 2017 Star Trek series! Sadly this icon of TV writing and producing passed away on October 24, 1991 at the age of 70, and while gone, his work lives on and entertains viewers still to this day. This update is for you, Gene Roddenberry, as well as all the cast and crew who made Star Trek possible.

Gene Roddenberry 1Gene Roddenberry 2Gene Roddenberry 3

I first watched the original Star Trek TV Show with my dad who would tune in when it aired in reruns. I can remember always being so hyped to see what strange alien was going to be on next, and Spock was my favorite character as he had pointed ears. My dad also use to tease my mom about Captain Kirk as she was not a William Shatner fan and used to say he couldn’t act.  I was around 5 or 6 years of age at the time, and as I grew up I have always had a very big attachment to this series and love it still to this day. Star Trek first aired in September 8. 1966 for CBS and was produced by Paramount and quickly became a hit for fans of science fiction television who loved the futuristic tech talk and quickly bonded with the likable crew lead by the Starfleet rebel Captain Kirk or so you would think! The truth is when Star Trek first aired, it did very poorly on the Nielsen ratings and was canceled by NBC after 3 seasons and a total of 79 episodes, and it was not until its syndication run that it built up a major cult following that sparked it into the major science fiction brand it is today. Imagine that, when originally airing the show was not catching on and was not gaining viewers, and once it was cancelled and shown in reruns it became a mega hit, much like modern shows like “Family Guy” that was cancelled and fans were able to bring it back for more seasons that lead to it wearing out its welcome years ago. Once the show picked up steam in the world of syndication, this lead to a string of movies as well as a ton of spin off TV series. It’s odd that to me as a kid, Star Trek was just so magical and filled with so much high tech wonder and was as enjoyable to me as Star Wars and Flash Gordon, both of which I also grew up with. In 2017 a new Star Trek series will be released for CBS and the premier episode will air on broadcast TV with all following episodes only available via their subscription based streaming service called “ CBS All Access,” and to me, this is a really dumb and not only limits the amount of people watching this series, but also cheapens it. I should also note that in 2006 Paramount and CBS decided to re-master and re-due the effects for the original series and once more it went into syndication, and I can remember my friend and roommate Patrick Neeley watching them at night and talking to me about them the next day. The original Star Trek series has been in my life for as long as I can remember from watching with my dad to popping it in on DVD for my viewing enjoyment, it still remains an amazing series that defines the term science fiction.

Original Star Trek Cast On Set

As I said the cheesy wonderful aliens were one of the reasons I loved this series when I was a kid, and hell, even to this day, because who could forget such characters as the lizard race Gorns, the fuzzy furballs the Tribbles, the one horned white gorilla Mugato or the Salt Vampire, not to mention the Klingons and the likes of the powerful Khan! While much of the time the aliens were just guys and women in greasepaint or rubber suits, something about these basic looking aliens was a draw for viewers like myself. I can remember as a kid loving the Gorn and Salt Vampire and wishing toys were made based on them so I could have them attack my Star Wars figures! Plus the show was our first taste of Khan who would go on to be one of the most sinister bad guys in Star Trek history. So if you’re a fan of aliens and all the different races that could be out in our shared universe…or just like cheesy TV shows with actors with greasepaint on their faces or wearing big old rubber suits, make sure to check out the original Star Trek series as its sure to please that alien need. Check out the pictures below to see some of the aliens from the series and to show you just how different they all are from each other.

Star Trek Khan TVStar Trek GornStar Trek Salt Vampaire

One thing I need to briefly talk about is the episode called “The Devil In The Dark” that has Kirk, Spock and McCoy traveling to Janus VI, a planet that has lost over 50 miners to a creature that lives underground. As the episodes goes on, Spock learns that the creature is called a Horta after a mind meld and later finds out that the Horta is just protecting eggs that will allow its race to continue. The Horta in appearance is compared to a silicon-based lifeform that has a rock and lava look. But for me as a youngster, it reminded me of meatloaf…not the singer, the food! I can even remember eating meatloaf and joking about it being on Star Trek. I mean really look at it, it’s like meatloaf with ketchup and marshmallows on it! Compare the picture below, and you be the judge.

hortaGood Old Meatloaf

Many Trekkies considered “Star Trek: The Animated Series” to be the fourth season as many of the actors returned to lend their voices to their animated versions as well as it continued the five year mission they were on. Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired on NBC on September 8, 1973 and lasted 2 seasons and a total of 22 episodes that were 24 minute long that followed Captain Kirk and his crew of the USS Enterprise on all type of adventures in space. The series was made by a team-up between Paramount Pictures and Filmation with Gene Roddenberry overseeing its production. Filmation’s original idea for the series was to have young teen characters being cadets following the main cast around turning it into more of a straight kiddy show, Roddenberry put his foot down, and that idea was later used for the 1977 live action series Space Academy. But like all Filmation Cartoons, the budget was low, and the series suffered with poor reused animation and many other small errors. The series did have William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols all return to voice their respected characters but sadly Walter Koenig did not return as Chekov was replaced in the cartoon by two characters called Arex (a three armed thin alien) and M’Ress (a female cat person) who were a major part of the crew now. While after its run ended and some years later, the film series started, the animated series seemed to be left out of canon as many issues and characters from the toon seemed to be missing and forgotten. The series during its run was not a huge hit with kids watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, but was respected by reviewers and parents who found it entertaining. Growing up I only saw episodes on reruns as well as on VHS, and I can remember liking it but also was confused by it as by that point I had watched the live action series as well as many of the movies. Love it or hate it, Star Trek: The Animated Series is a part of Trek history, and I for one enjoy every cheesy moment of it. Those looking to watch the series it has been released on VHS, DVD and Laserdisc and from time to time pops up on Netflix.

Star Trek The Animated Series 1Star Trek The Animated Series DVDStar Trek The Animated Series 2

With the animated series being canceled in 1974, fans would have to wait for their next Star Trek fix until 1979 when Paramount released “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to the theater going audience. The film was directed by Robert Wise and brought back all the major actors and characters from the classic series with a budget of $46 million dollars and had a run time of 132 minutes.  It also had a score from Jerry Goldsmith and was produced by Gene Roddenberry. The film brought in $82,258,456.00 and came in at # 5 for the year beating out such films as “Alien”, “The Jerk”, “The Muppet Movie”, “Moonraker”, “The Black Hole”, “Mad Max”, “Tourist Trap” and “Zombi 2” among many others. The film was met with mix reviews with many critics being down on the film’s plot that they said was too thin and spread out for over two hours, but fans were a little more behind it as they got to see their favorite characters back on a all new adventure. Growing up I can remember watching this movie and while I found it entertaining, I think mostly cause the fact it was Star Trek. I was always more drawn into “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” and “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” when wanting to watch them on VHS via a library rental. I don’t want to get too much into the plot of this movie as the Marvel Comic series first 3 issues in the series are an adaptation of the film so I will save it for those. While not as well loved as many of the sequels this film started it all for the film franchise that is still going to this day.

Star Trek The Motion Picture 1Star Trek The Motion Picture 2Star Trek The Motion Picture 3

Star Trek also has amazing music that helped not only the TV Show but as well as the Movies! The original TV Show soundtrack was done by the likes of Sol Kaplan and Gerald Fried among others with Alexander Courage being the man behind the Original Series title theme. With the movie soundtracks being done by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith as well as other composers like James Horner, Cliff Eldelman, Leonard Rosenman and Dennis McCarthy. The most iconic theme for the films that would latter be the opening theme for Star Trek The Next Generation was done by Jerry Goldsmith and remains a very iconic piece of score music. The soundtracks for the TV Show as well as the Movies starring the original cast has been released on many different formats from Cassette Tapes to CDs and are must haves for fans of the movie and show. I for one own many of these soundtracks on CD and play them on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO many Sunday nights, one of the listeners favorites is a track called “The Mountain” off the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier soundtrack. So if you’re a score music fan, make sure to check out some of the Star Trek movie releases they are well done and great songs to relax to.

Star Trek CDStar Trek TV SoundtrackStar Trek The Motion Picture soundtrack cd

Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have not only jumped from TV to movies but also to video games! Some of the top games starring the original cast include “Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator” was originally a arcade game and in 1984 was ported to the Atari 2600 and has you taking control of the Starship Enterprise and defend against invading Klingons. Next up “Star Trek: The Rebel Universe” for the Commodore 64, IBM PC and Atari ST in 1987 and has you take control of the bridge and try and find the secrets of the Quarantine Zone. And lastly “Star Trek: 25th Anniversary” was released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and has you take control of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and try to solve the mystery of the tear in space-time! And of course this is just a drop in the hat of video games that was released starring the original Star Trek cast, but these three are the ones I remember best from my younger days! So what is your favorite video game starring Kirk and the crew?

Star Trek The Rebel Universe C64Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator Atari 2600Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES

The Original Star Trek series has had its massive share of merchandise based around it and cover all types items like Halloween Costumes, Drinking Glasses, Trading Cards, Toys, Video Games, Lunch Boxes, Novels, Comic Books, Magnets, Shirts and so much more! Growing up I can remember playing a strategy board game with my Uncle Thurman that was lots of fun and I am sure we drove him mad as at my brother Bryan and I’s young age we didn’t get the rules all that well. Growing up I also had a Captain Kirk 3 ¾” Mego action figure I got from a garage sale that joined my Toy Wars alongside Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. I also when a youngster owned many of the Novels and Book and Record sets based on the TV Show and Movies as well as some of the Marvel Comics. Funny enough early this year while working at Game Swap a young lady brought in a large box filled with vintage Star Trek figures and toys and what was really neat was seeing the Mego dolls mint in package! So if you’re a fan of Spock, Kirk or any of the other crew members of the Enterprise many amazing products are out in the world for you to collect.

MEGO Star Trek dollsStar Trek LunchboxStar Trek Novel original cast

Playmates was a major force when I was a kid in bringing action figures into the hands of the youth with such toy lines as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders, Dick Tracy, Darkwing Duck, Monster Force, Barnyard Commandos, The Addams Family, Earthworm Jim to name a few and also on this iconic list is Star Trek! The toy line for Star Trek mostly focused on Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as the newer TV series that followed like Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but also in the line was the original series that showcased some of the characters in their younger selves and in some waves them older. While I had maybe a couple when I was a kid the older I got for some reason I started to collect them, I bought myself all the original series crew as well as Voyager and Juliet the Next Generations crew and together we have gotten many of the Deep Space Nine crew members. The Playmates figures for some reason have a collectable appeal for me and as I find them cool looking and the fact they covered not only the Starfleet crew but also many of the aliens from the past to the then present. Below is a picture of my original crew figures as well as some of the Aliens from their show and movies.

My Original Star Trek Playmates Figures

You know what just for the fun of it and cause I love going back and playing old NES games on my trusty old RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) I picked the day May 25, 2016 to just play around and try to see how far I could get in Star Trek: 25th Anniversary in just 1 hours of play! Now this game is one I played when I was younger and never could get very far as I have found it to be a very hard play, but will it be as difficult as I remember? The weather outside was around 84 degrees with the sun pocking out from some hazy clouds, I decided to go up against the game around 6pm and stop at 7pm and see just how far in the game I could get! So with a tall glass of water I was ready to travel to 8-Bit space. I started these two hours with big dreams and hope that I would make it far and to no one’s shock I didn’t make it off the first level…as frustration of playing the same opening stage sent me into a poor game play frenzy! At first I forgot that the Blood Worms can hurt you if you don’t bring the flower to the medicine man of the village and then after getting the eye key and once in the tunnel I kept screwing up the patterns you had to memorize on the wall to get through the doors and by the time 7am came around I was still on the first level! During my little 8-Bit quest my landing Party was me as Kirk and always Spock but sometimes I would switch McCoy with a Security Officer. The game play on this game is a little clunky and has your characters follow a grid to get from point A to pint B. Still as challenging as I remember and I recommend old school gamers to give this one a try, as it’s a fun play that offers enough tough moments to make for long time play. Below is some pictures I took while playing the game.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES in the RESStar Trek 25th Anniversary NES RES Still 1Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES Res Still 2

Want to just touch up on this as I fell many Trekkies will agree that there is nothing more sexy than a woman who embraces geeky culture like Comic Books, Video Games and Science Fiction Films/Shows and a woman in a Starfleet uniform is pretty top notch stuff. I mean who could resist the beauty of my favorite cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty dressed as a Starfleet officer? I know I cant! But I just wanted to let all you true nerd girls out in the world that you are appreciated and keep being you!

Ivy Doomkitty star trekhottie star trek fanblonde star trek fan

So before we get into the Marvel Comic Star Trek Original Crew Series I would like to take a brief moment and just kind of give you a crash course of the main crew members of the USS Enterprise, I feel that many of you all ready know and love the characters but I figured on a slim chance their could be some newbies reading this update to the Star Trek universe I should do my duty and educate you with some slight knowledge and research. So sit back and relax and get to know the crew of the Enterprise, as I will guarantee that by the end they will seem like old friends.

Captain James Tiberius Kirkwilliam shatner

James Tiberius Kirk is the Captain of the USS Enterprise, he was born in Riverside, Iowa and as a youngster witnessed a massacre that claimed 4,000 lives by the hands of a madman. Kirk went on to join the Starfleet Academy and became the only person to every pass the Kobayashi Maru test that was designed to be unbeatable; he did so by thinking outside the box and reprograming it! He survived on many ships and even thought a class at the Academy all the while getting promotions until finally becoming the youngest Captain in Starfleet history! Kirk took over the USS Enterprise for a five year mission, and along this journey he made friends and lots of enemies as Kirk always did what was right. Kirk is also a ladies man as he has hooked up with not only human women but also a few aliens! Kirk is noble, cocky, adventures and smart and has earned the love and respect of his crew as well as higher ups of StarFleet even though he tends to break lots of rules and disobey orders. Actor William Shatner played Captain Kirk in the series who is also known for his TV Roles in shows like T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, The Practice and TekWorld! Shatner is an icon for Sci-Fi fans and remains active in acting even at his age of 85!

Chief Science Officer SpockLeonard Nimoy

Spock is Vulcan who’s mother is human and this gives him slight emotions, something that full blooded Vulcans find illogical! His father is the very wise and highly respected Sarek, who loves his son but also finds his friendships on the Enterprise odd. On the U.S.S. Enterprise Spock has two roles: science officer and first officer and is best friend to Captain Kirk and will do whatever it takes to keep the ship and its crew safe and is very loyal to the Starfleet, Spock even gave his own life to save the lives of the crew when Kahn attacked the ship causing a radiation leak. After being reborn thanks to the Genesis Project, he rejoins the crew and takes his position on the Enterprise again and later becomes a federation ambassador where he tries to patch up the relationship between them and later also tries to help Romulus from a supernova that leaves him trapped in a parallel timeline. Actor Leonard Nimoy played Spock in the series who is also known for his TV roles in such shows as Mission: Impossible, In Search Of, Ancient Mysteries and Fringe. Sadly on February 27, 2015 the world lost Nimoy from complications of COPD. Leonard Nimoy was and still is a icon of geek culture and beyond.

Dr Leonard Bones McCoyDeforest Kelley

Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy is the medical officer for the USS Enterprise and is also very close friends with Captain Kirk. He is divorced and would later marry Natira, the priestess of Yonada, and has one daughter. McCoy at one point has to take the essence of Spock who has passed away and return it to his body on the planet Vulcon in order to return his friend and some time verbal punching bag Spock back to full life. While he gets annoyed with Spock and his logical ways, it’s clear throughout the series and movies that he really does care about him and looks at him as a good friend. While he is good at what he does in the medical field,  McCoy can be very tense and can get very angry when requests are made he feels is impossible or to demanding. One thing that has eaten away at McCoy his whole life is the fact he helped his father commit suicide when he was gravely ill, and after his father’s death a cure was found that would have cured him. McCoy is a loyal sometimes cranky crew member who is the best damn medical doctor you could ever ask for, and later in his Star Fleet career he would become an Admiral. Actor DeForest Kelley played McCoy in the series who is also known for his roles in such TV shows as The Lone Ranger, Route 66 and Bonanza among many other western shows. Kelley would sadly pass away on June 11, 1999 at the age of 79 from stomach cancer. The world lost a great character actor and one of my favorite characters of the Star Trek universe.

Commander Montgomery %22Scotty%22 ScottJames Doohan

Montgomery “Scotty” Scott acts as the Enterprise’s second officer and chief engineer and is truly the man who makes the star ship come alive and keeps up the maintenance and acts as the miracle worker when things need to be fixed in a pinch or even under pressure of battle. While many of the crew are his close friends, he looks at the Enterprise as a son and treats it with high respect and acts as if the ship is truly his responsibility. When both Kirk and Spock are off ship, Scotty becomes the acting commander of the ship, even though he would rather just be the ship’s engineer. After his retirement from the Star Fleet, Scotty gets aboard a shuttle that crashes in a Dyson Sphere and uses the transporter to store himself in the buffer for decades and is recovered by the USS Enterprise-D and its commander Captain Picard, and even in the future he saves the ship he loves one last time. Smart, witty and lovable, Scotty is a guy who is loyal to his fellow crew members and his ship. Actor James Doohan played Scotty in the original series and is also known for his TV roles in Encounter, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The F.B.I. to name a few. Sadly in 1994 James Doohan passed away at the age of 85 from pulmonary fibrosis. Scotty is a great character and really is the blood that keeps the star ship up and running.

Lieutenant Hikaru SuluGeorge Takei

Hikaru Sulu is the third officer, a Lieutenant and senior helmsman of the USS Enterprise and later becomes a Captain and commands the USS Excelsior. Sulu is very wise and good at what he does and has pulled the starship out of danger many times. He is a master of fencing, botany and gymnastics and when need be could and has taken control of the Enterprise as acting officer in charge. Sulu would later in life go on to have a daughter named Demora Sulu who as well is working for Star Fleet. Actor George Takei plays Sulu in the original series and also starred in such TV Shows as Batman Beyond, The Simpsons and Archer to name a very select few. Takei is still active in acting and even runs his own social media that is filled with some funny thoughts and posts.  He is 79 years old as of this update going up.

Lieutenant Nyota UhuraNichelle Nichols

Nyota Uhura is a lieutenant and chief communications officer for the Enterprise and is well respected for her talents and skills. She is skilled at singing and has entertained her fellow shipmates with songs during off duty get togethers. During her time with the Federation, she has been promoted to lieutenant commander and then full commander later on. She as well as the rest of the crew also get in trouble when they disobey orders to get the reborn body of Spock off Genesis and goes back to just being communications officer under Kirk’s crew. It’s implied that she and Scotty might have been romantic together and in the new Trek universe she is dating/romantic with Spock. Actress Nichelle Nichols plays Uhura in the original series, and she has also been on TV shows like Futurama, Batman The Animated Series and Heroes. While slowed down, Nichelle is still active as an actress and is 83 years old as of this update posting.

Ensign Pavel ChekovWalter Koenig

Pavel Andreievich Chekov is the navigator for the Enterprise and is super smart and an honor graduate from the Space Academy. When needed he can also fill in as the ship’s science officer when Spock is away and is very capable of doing so. He later gets promoted to a lieutenant as well as tactical officer and chief of security. He is loyal to Captain Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew and even helped Kirk hijack the Enterprise so they could get the newly reborn Spock off of the Genesis planet. Actor Walter Koenig played Chekov in the original series and also made appearances in such shows as Ben Casey, Columbo and Babylon 5. Koenig is still active as an actor and is 79 years old as of this update’s posting.

Nurse Christine ChapelMajel Barrett

Christine Chapel is the head nurse of the Enterprise and works under the orders of Dr. McCoy. She mostly stays on the ship when others explore planets but has left from time to time. While originally she was trying to work things out with her fiancé Dr. Roger Korby, his disappearance left her without a man, and she began finding herself having feelings for Spock.  The fling would end up going nowhere. Later in her career, she becomes a doctor aboard the Enterprise and later is stationed at the Starfleet headquarters. Actress Majel Barrett played Chapel.  She was the married to show creator Gene Roddenberry and appeared as the voice for the computers in many of the Star Trek shows and movies. Barrett passed away in 2008 from leukemia.  She was 76 years old.

Spock Kirk Scotty

So that was just a very brief look at the crew of the USS Enterprise and many great facts and achievements from them have been left out of this quick look as I really think that if you have never watched this show or movies, you really should check them out for yourself as they are truly great science fiction watches. So I guess we should beam onto the Marvel Comic series based on Star Trek’s original crew, and I should also thank Mavericks Cards And Comics, Bell Book And Comic, Dark Star and Lone Star Comics for having issues in stock so that I could do this review. I am also getting a message from my communicator from Kirk telling me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and i’s art and story. So if you’re wearing a red shirt, you might want to change out of it now as it’s time to go on 18 missions with the crew of the USS Enterprise. So beam us to it Scotty!

Marvel Star Trek 1

Star Trek # 1  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #1 of 18

A powerful light cloud being is floating in space and is destroying ships and what ever else gets in its way! It’s been years sense the USS Enterprise went on a mission and Kirk is able to finally talk his way back into becoming the Captain of it once more and is setting out to try and stop what ever this thing is from reaching anymore planets, his crew has many familiar faces on board like Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura as well as some new faces including Captain Decker who is forced out of running the ship and into a officer role on this mission by Starfleet and Kirk who is taking over causing some major heat between the two. At the Enterprise Crew meeting they watch in horror live as a space station is attacked and just vanishes thanks to the light cloud! And worse just before this the teleport was not ready on the remodeled Enterprise and many new crew members lost their lives, and this brings aboard a “drafted” Dr. McCoy who was retired and Ilia a Deltan who will act as the ships navigator on this dangerous mission. Decker and Ilia know each other and its clear that this once Captain had a relationship with her. While taking off on their mission the Enterprise gets stuff in a wormhole along side a meteor and Decker over rides Kirks command to use Phasers and uses torpedo’s instead and this saves the ship damage and gets them out of the wormhole but also causes even more of a rift between the two Captains! Once safe and back on track a small ship asks to board the Enterprise and to Kirks shock and joy the pilot of the small ship is Spock!

This Marvel Comic series starts off with an adaptation of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and to be honest it was a wise choice as it was a great way to showcase the crew as well as bring everyone up to date on what was happing with the original crew. Plus it also helped add to the amazing over all enjoyment this comic reader and Trekkie had relaxing and reading it and remembering back to the first time I had seen the movie as well as read this issue in my younger days. The story this far has Admiral Kirk hooking and crooking his way back into becoming the Captain of the Enterprise that is being sent out on a important mission to stop an unknown cloud object from reaching the planet that its two days away from. Throw in some drama between the ships former Captain as well as some old relationship baggage and your have this issue in a nutshell. Captain Kirk in this issue is a man on a mission and his mission is not just save people from the unknown that’s heading their way but to also get command of the Enterprise once more. Kirk is as cocky as ever but it’s clear he is slightly outdated when it comes to all the improvements that have been made to his ship. Captain Decker is a man of pride and he feels betrayed by Kirk and Star Fleet as he is taken off Captain duty and forced to serve under the man who weaseled the position away from him, but Decker is also a slime ball when it comes to his love life as its reveled that he just up and left Ilia without even so much as a goodbye. Speaking of Ilia she is straight business and wants to do the best at her job, but while she puts on a strong front it’s clear she was hurt by Decker’s past behavior. Dr. McCoy is upset that he was forced back into active duty as he was enjoying retirement, but quickly comes around when he sees that his good friend Kirk is the one who really wanted his help on this mission. Spock starts the issue off on his home planet trying to ride himself of emotions that his human side has and soon finds he cannot and returns to the Enterprise unannounced and is a sight for sore eyes for his friends. The rest of the original crew Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura all are present but are background players. The Cloud Light Thing in the sky is clearly a force to be wreckend with as it not only takes down a federation station but also a Klingon ship! What is this cloud…I guess we will have to read more issues to find out! The plot while slow is a good way to reintroduce the crew to fans as well as to new readers and that’s why it was wise to kick this series off with the film adaptation as it was the new Trek product out and could help kick of Trek-Mania for youngsters of 1980. The cover is cool and eye catching for classic Science Fiction fans and the art inside done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Klaus Janson (Inks) and is pretty great stuff with most the characters looking close to the actors who played them. Over all a great solid first issue to kick off Marvels Star Trek series and makes me really looking forward to the next mission…I mean issue.

Marvel Star Trek 2

Star Trek # 2  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #2 of 18

Captain Kirk welcomes Spock back into the crew as he takes his place as the science officer, but while everyone is happy to see him, Spock shows no emotions toward them and this causes some tension between he and McCoy. Spock also helps Scotty figure out a way to save fuel and go into warp drive and while flying they run into the cloud that attacks! After a very powerful blast the Enterprise is in trouble until they are able to send the cloud a message of peace and that attacks stops leaving them puzzled and relieved that the cloud has given up its aggression. As the Enterprise flies through the cloud the find at in the middle is a ship so huge its like nothing they have ever seen before, and worse a living energy comes aboard and kills a security officer and tries to steal the ships records and when Spock tries to stop it Ilia gets the beings rage and it makes her vanish into thin air. The alien cloud ship then pulls the Enterprise into its docking and sends a robotic version of Ilia onto the ship who is suppose to record the everyday functions of humans for a master named V’ger, while the real Ilia is deceased this robot has her memories and Kirk decides that Decker should be her guide on the ship hoping that the relationship between the two can help take it off course for Earth as it’s now only six hours away! In the end Spock lurks in the shadows and gives a crew member the Vulcan nerve pinch and the issue ends leaving us not knowing why he did his action.

This second issue in the Movie Adaptation part is the set up for what the story is really about as we learn the cloud is really around a giant ship that is a beings named V’ger who records and loves knowledge. The Enterprise is the only hope for Earth as they are the only ones who have gotten this close to the ship and have the key to maybe save Earth in the forum of the robotic Ilia. Captain Kirk is as sure of himself as ever and his war of words and control with Decker rises to anger in this issue as every suggestion Decker gives the Captain is ignored and this even leads to Ilia being killed causing tension between the to very hostile. The thing is Kirk is not listening to Decker but is listening to Spock who he trusts and who he doesn’t feel intimidated by, and worse Kirk orders Decker to be the guide to the robotic Ilia and try to charm this machine with the memories of his one time lover in order to save Earth. Dr. McCoy is the man who figures out the make up of the robot and is the possible key to save them all if they can teach the machine to bring the message back to it’s master that people deserve to live. Bring the question who or what is V’ger and why does he want to combine with the “Creator” and if he does what does this mean for the universe? This is the main question that should and was on the minds of readers of this comic. While besides Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Decker the rest of the crew have small parts but are all very important to the issue as their actions and jobs move the plot along. The Science Fiction action is high in this issue as we get a space battle as well as a semi fight with an alien energy being that leaves two crew members dead. Plus the issue ends on a cliffhanger as Spock knocks out one of his own fellow crew and his reasoning is left with the message “Continued Next Issue”! The issues cover is pretty great and has the energy being reeking havoc on the Enterprise bridge and the art inside is once more done by Dave Cockrum who does a solid job of capturing the actors likeness in some shots, while in others his art seems a little rushed. Over all a solid issue that moves the plot along and is doing a good job of capturing the mood and feel of the movie it’s based on. So lets get to issue three and see why Spock did what he did and who or what V’ger is!

Marvel Star Trek 3

Star Trek # 3  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #3 of 18

Decker is trying all he can to get to the memories of Ilia who is very robotic and just wants more and more data for her master V’ger who plans on absorbing the crew after he gets the information he seeks. Meanwhile Spock has knocked out his fellow crew member so that he could get into a space suit and float into the center of the ship that he has figured out is V’ger! Kirk goes out after Spock and they find the V’ger breaks down all that is kills and stores it as part of it’s own being, and when Spock attempts to mind meld with it and is overloaded with its power but finds the V’ger is a living machine that comes from a planet of living machines and his quest is to find out the meaning of its life as well as find God to get the answers. V’ger has reached Earth and is about to kill all humans living on it but Kirk as an idea and says he has the answers its looking for and after a small outburst V’ger allows the Enterprise to enter into it’s main brain frame were Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Decker and the robot Ilia exit the ship and find the V’ger is really a missing NASA satellite called the Voyager Six that went missing 300 years ago and that its real creator is man! Decker enters the satellite’s missing code ending its reign of terror as it now has the answers its seeks but this turns Decker and Ilia into light beings and the next evolution for mankind. In the end Kirk and the Enterprise crew have saved the day and head into space for many more adventures.

The movie adaptation ends here and has Kirk and the crew having to use their wits and knowledge to stop the destruction of Earth. So V’ger is really just a missing NASA satellite that 300 years ago did not get to fulfill its mission of sending back data is collected to the space station after it was lost in a black hole. So in reality many people lost their lives all over a satellite that could not share its data with NASA. Kirk is very quick with his plan as he is able to save the Earth by bluffing and then able to prove that man is V’ger’s creator when he comes up with the code that is needed to unload its data. Decker is also a hero as he manually enters the code after they learn the satellite has been damaged and this causes Decker to become something more than human and as well be with Ilia forever. Spock who was having issues of his own due to his failed test on Vulcon has his answers and at one point cries for V’ger who will not truly have his. The nice touch to the end of the comic is that the Enterprise heads out into space looking for more adventures and is the perfect set up for this Marvel Comic series. The cover is great and has The Enterprise in battle showcasing the ship and what it can do, the inside art is once more done by Dave Cockrum and is fitting and better looking than issue two. Marvel Comics did a great job of adapting this film into a comic and I could say that in the 80’s and 90’s no one did these types of comics as good as Marvel. So with this Motion Picture adaptation out of the way lets see what new adventures the Marvel Bullpen have in store for us.

Marvel Star Trek 4

Star Trek # 4  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #4 of 18

The Enterprise has been selected to transport an alien named Raytag M’Gora who is insane and was captured and must be returned to prison that he escaped from. Also on this mission they must play host to Ambassador R’Kgg who’s people are open to negations with the federation, while Kirk don’t mind given the Ambassador a ride he is very angry about the prisoner as his ship is not set up to transport a crazed alien like that. While beaming Raytag M’Gora aboard the alien breaks free and runs amok until Spock is able to use the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to knock him out and place him into his cell. Raytag M’Gora begs Kirk not to return him to the prison planet as he claims it’s a terrible place and it is what drove him mad and warns them if they get to close to the area he will not be the only prisoner! The closer they get crew members begin to see werewolves and monsters with Sulu and Chekov seeing a ghost. Kirk don’t know what to make of these supernatural sightings but believes his crew and soon comes face to face with Count Dracula who appears on the bridge and knocks security around before disappearing, adding to the mystery that is unfolding on the Enterprise. As Dracula escapes he makes his way to Ambassador R’Kgg and kills him, and after doing so the evil visions disappear until the Enterprise finds a Haunted House planet and Kirk, Spock, McCoy and other crew members beam down and find a young woman being attacked by Frankenstein’s Monster! They are able to defeat the Monster but soon find themselves surrounded by monsters and the young blonde woman tells them she has been held prisoner there for a long time and wants to leave. But no one is leaving as well armed Klingons appears and take the landing party prisoners and send a message to acting commander Scotty that they have his friends and want the ship turned over. In the cell Raytag M’Gora lets out a crazy laugh as our issues ends.

The Crew of the Enterprise vs. the monsters is the best way to describe this fun and entertaining issue, and while it does not feel like a Star Trek episode it does feel like an episode of the animated series mixed with Scooby-Doo. The plot has Kirk and crew getting tricked into a Haunted House world while trying to deliver a alien prisoner back to prison and it appears that the illusions and plan was that of the Klingons who hate the federation and want to see Kirk and his crew pay for crimes they feel the universe has infected them with. Kirk is right to not want to take this mission as the ship and crew was not prepared for the evil and madness that waited them during this one. Spock tries his best to put logic to what he is seeing as many of the monsters that appeared were based on legend of Earth’s novels and ghost stories, but he is also the one who finds that the monsters are made of a living organism. Ambassador R’Kgg seemed like a good natured alien and while killed supposedly by Dracula I think there is more to R’Kgg than what we have seen in this issue and almost think he is playing possum on the words of Raytag M’Gora who was the last person he talked to. Speaking of Raytag M’Gora while I think he is crazy and has a violent streak in him, I do think he was trying to warn the Enterprise of what was awaiting them at the Haunted House planet. Plus who is this young blonde woman and why is she in this Haunted House world? Nice to see that the Klingons are the ones behind this set up and fake haunted planet, as it makes sense that they would do whatever they can to capture Kirk and his crew. Not to mention a highlight for this Monster Kid comic reader is the fact that Dracula from the Marvel Comic series Tomb Of Dracula has a cameo as the issues also has a werewolf, ghost, grim reaper and Frankenstein’s Monster to name a few of the ghouls who attack. While again it does not feel like the TV Show nor the movie that spawned this series it does have a nice comic book feel to it and that’s what makes it fun. The cover is cool and the art is still being done by Dave Cockrum making this solid and fun issue for this reader. While again many of the crew take small roles its great to see Kirk and Spock take on monsters even if they are not real and makes me look forward to how this mission will work out for them, so lets not wait and move onto issue five.

Marvel Star Trek 5

Star Trek # 5   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #5 of 18

The Klingons to show Kirk on this Haunted House planet they mean business kill one of his crew members as everyone watches on unable to help. They then turn on Kirk and the crew and take Spock hostage and they beam up to their Bird-Of-Pray were they tell Spock that he is the only one that will survive from the Enterprise as they have orders to kill the crew and take the ship to learn how it’s new warp drive works! While Kirk and his crew deal with the unknown woman they beamed aboard that they find out is not human and worse the Kingons attack their warp drives and leaves the Enterprise stranded in that location! Spock finds out that the “Monsters” that are attacking his fellow crew members is due in part to a man who was a Horror Movie archivist who is being used as a weapon by The Klingons! Working with the Klingons on this take over mission is Raytag M’Gora who has a projector implanted in his skull that helps bring the monsters to the ship, and we also find out that the unknown woman is the image of the “weapons” wife! Spock figures out and is able to warn The Enterprise to destroy the image of the woman that triggers the archivist to wake up that in turn over loads the projector inside Raytag M’Gora killing him and sending the monsters to the Klingons ship! Spock and the Archivist beam aboard the Enterprise and they leave the area and complete there mission and deliver the dead body of Raytag to the prison planet.

The monsters of the movies run wild on the Enterprise thanks to a horror movie fan! The plot of this issue has The Klingons using a new weapon they developed that allows a persons fears to come to life against the Enterprise so they can take over the ship and learn new federation secrets, but thanks to the brilliant mind of Spock the plan not only fails but also backfires as they become the target of the monsters. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise Crew are helpless in this saga as The Klingons dismantle their warp drive, take Spock hostage and have the monsters under their control, but I should say while the odds were grim Kirk very lost the fighting spirit. Spock meanwhile even as a hostage keeps his wits just like all Vulcans would and is the brains behind turning the tables on his captures. The Klingons are cold-blooded killers and not only murder one Star Fleet security officer but also have plans in place to kill everyone on the Enterprise! The monsters while just made real by imagination and memories are still a force of destruction and murder, and the poor sap who is creating them is just a pawn in a sick game of ship stealing. Raytag as well is a pawn but a willing one as he felt by helping the Klingons they could save him from a fate of being a prisoner the rest of his life, as for the mystery woman she is just a sad case as she is just the memory of the Archivist’s murdered wife. The classic banter between Spock and McCoy is present in this issue and that’s always fun to read as it really made me flashback to many of the scenes from the films were the two were at odds over silly disagreements or just McCoy not understanding the lack of emotions of Vulcans. While this was a silly plot for the most part I still found myself enjoying reading it and wondering what adventures the Enterprise would have next. Being five issues in I must also say that my favorite character has to be Spock as while not done perfect and for some reason is slightly off he seems to shine more than most the other crew members. Kirk is great just as is McCoy but while they are as well close to their movie and show characters they still are slightly off. The art in this issue is done by Dave Cockrum again and while it is good for some reason some panels seem off as in one panel has Kirk looking like a pig face version of The Phantom Of The Opera and another has McCoy looking like a bug eyed monster, very odd a very sloppy. The cover is great and eye catching and leaves you wanting to see why McCoy is killing a woman with a phaser. Over all a slightly above average comic adventure of the crew of the Enterprise that leaves you wanting to see what the next adventure awaits us.

Marvel Star Trek 6

Star Trek # 6  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #6 of 18

The Enterprise is picked to escort Ambassador Phral of the planet Yannid VI to a signing that will allow them to join the federation, but after the transporter has an issue and when Phral appears onboard he has a knife in his back and is dead! Kirk calls the palace on Yannid VI and they confirm that the Ambassador was alive and well when he left to beam aboard The Enterprise and this could cause major issues of them joining the Federation. Kirk assigns Spock and McCoy to try and figure out what happened while he tries to talk peace and confirm that they will find the murderer of their citizen. While investigating Spock and McCoy find lots of odd details about this murder like that fact it appears he has dead 15 minutes before he was beamed up as well as all video of the beam up is missing due to a power surge. Tension is running wild on Yannid VI as many of the people want to join the Federation while others want to join the Klingons and this becomes dangerous when Sulu, Chekov and a female crew member DiFalco are attacked at a bar and are able to escaped when they are beamed aboard the Enterprise. Kirk has been very edgy sense the death of the Ambassador even snapping at his crew and finally comes clean and tells them about when he was younger he on accident shot Phral on a rescue mission that at the time was a prince and put the would be ruler into a coma making him miss his turn of ruling. Spock has news for the Captain as he thinks the body on the ship is that of an imposter set up by the real Phral who wants revenge on Kirk and wants to start a new life. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put on disguises and beam down to Yannid to find a famed plastic surgeon as they think she might be helping him on this set up, but she is killed and Kirk and crew are found by the Prince and his guards who blame them for the death of the Doctor as well as the Ambassador! Spock using his logical mind is able to trick Phral who has had plastic sugary into exposing his true idientity and this clears Kirk of wrong doing as well helps Yannid VI in joining the Federation as they see Kirk and crew are men of their word.

Spock does it again as just like Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy or Batman he uses logic and great detective skills to solve a crime of murder, set up and betrayal. This issues plot is this an Ambassador who is to sign for his planet to join the federation and who has bad blood with Kirk is killed while beaming aboard the Enterprise and this leads to Kirk being the prime suspect and puts a strain on them joining the greater cause of peace with the Federation, but thanks to McCoy and Spock they are able to find the answers to who is the real killer and expose a plan that would have not only caused Kirk to loose his career but also could have caused war! Kirk is a man with lots of stress and some guilt as he feels like an accident when he was a young Star Fleet member left a man who was to be King in a coma making him loss his chance at ruling, not to mention he was sent to save the Prince and in turn is the one who ended up hurting him. But while Kirk is short tempered he still does his job and puts his two best crew members on the case to solve who set this murder up. Spock and McCoy are fast and solve the case in short time as all the evidence don’t add up and they are onto the twisted plan that was put into place thanks to video from Yannid and the body onboard. Nice to see Sulu and Chekov get to show off a little as they sword fight off their attackers in the bar! Ambassador Phral is a bitter, greedy and lying man who set up his own “death” in order to get away with stolen money. His actions caused a Civil War on his home planet as well as could have caused a war with the Federation! Not to mention he murdered a doctor as well as some poor soul to get away with his crimes, but thanks to Spock and McCoy his cover is blown and he is taken away for punishment. This was another great adventure and love that Sherlock Holmes reference and feel to it, not to mention McCoy gets to deliver “She’s Dead Jim” during the books final. The cover is ok and nothing special and the art is done by Dave Cockrum again and is pretty good, I should also note that Marvel’s Editor In Chief at this time was the one and only Jim Shooter! To sum it up a good issue that made for a fun read that blended Science Fiction with Detective touches that entertained for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 7

Star Trek # 7   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #7 of 18

The Enterprise is sent to a planet that in a short time will be surrounded by a poisoned cloud that will leave its 200 residents dead and the world un-livable. Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy and two security officers beam down to the planet to try and talk to its people to come with them in order to survive. Once on the planet Kirk and crew soon find that the simple minded aliens have been awaiting them and have giant statues built of the crew members in town that have been their for millenniums, and worse they will not leave as they think Kirk, Spock and McCoy will protect them from the approaching death cloud. While Scotty takes control of the Enterprise and tries to disrupt the cloud with phasers and fail Kirk, McCoy and Spock follow a alien who is about to evolve and find that these aliens are very smart and when Spock mind melds with the alien he finds that the planet has a defense system that defeats the cloud and that this alien race can see the future and as our crew leaves they have more questions than answers.

A planet is in danger over a dangerous cloud and Kirk and crew must try and stop it and save the alien race that dwells on the planet is the plot of this issue and while solid and good it does kind of feel like a throw away issue, as the dangerous cloud has a been there done that feel to it. The threat seems high for the crew as always as they must risk their own necks in order to do their job for being the saviors of the universes. The Alien race are simple weird looking creatures who are all kind hearted, but while they seem dim witted they are in fact slightly more intelligent than they appear and can also see into the future. Kirk in this issue goes to the planet to try and talk to it’s people about beaming aboard the Enterprise in order to survive but finds himself stuck on the planet and death approaching and must send his own ship and crew on what could be a suicide mission in attacking the cloud to try and break it up! Kirk is under lots of pressure but as always he holds his cool and helps lead the charge in everyone’s survival. McCoy and the security guards are just around and don’t offer too much to this issue but are at least cool to see around. Scotty steps up this issue and burns his hands bad trying to beam down Kirk and his landing party even after he warned them this was not a good idea and as well takes control of the Enterprise and tries his best to defeat the cloud and protect his fellow crew members. Spock is the true hero once more as his actions and quick thinking is what saves the day and gives him the idea of pulling a lever that activated the planets defense. The Cloud is just that a cloud that floats around space and spreads poisoned air and radiation to planets it passes by. The cover is pretty great and is very eye catching and the art inside is done by Mike Nasser and is really good! Over all a good issue but nothing special.

Marvel Star Trek 8

Star Trek # 8  **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #8 of 18

The Mox an alien race has attacked The Enterprise and has the ship in a force field that is also sending out electronic waves that is driving the crew mad with massive headaches as well as is draining their weapons and warp drives of energy and if this continues to much longer the ship will explode. Kirk and crew are in bad shape and when Spock is kidnapped and beamed aboard the enemy ship it is now not only a battle for survival but also now a rescue mission. Kirk, McCoy, Chekov as well as a few fellow crew members beam down to a near by planet that is populated by The Mox and start their rescue mission as the Enterprise is still in a bad way in space. While on the planet they are attacked with older style weapons from guns to spears and find another race is on the planet that as well are after The Mox! On the ship Professor Fowler is dying from a heart element as Dr. Christine Chapel tries to explain to her that the ship is stuck due to an attack and her life is in danger as she needs a heart transplant! On the planet Kirk soon finds out that the aliens that attacked them are called The Orgs and they are on a mission to attack The Mox who are really robots who are at war with the Orgs who they find threatening as they are battling over the planet they both share. In the end Spock is able to use his skills to free the Enterprise from the force field that was holding it and in turn Kirk uses the ships phasers to stun all The Orgs and with the help of Professor Fowler who sneaks herself onto the planet she with her new robotic heart is able to bring peace between The Mox and The Orgs and this mission comes to an end.

The war between machines and humanoids takes place in this Star Trek issue as they cant get along as one wants what the other has and the other lives in fear of what the other wants to take away. Kirk and the crew are under attack as well as The Mox who are the machines go on the attack and hold them at bay as they want to steal Spock who they think can talk to some simple creatures who have strong psychic powers that live on the planet and think they can protect them from the attacking Orgs who are planning to go to total war that night, so as you can see once more Spock is the main hero who not only helps The Enterprise escape the force field trap that is about to blow up the ship from the pressure but also helps stop the war that is about to break out. So what I have learned these eight issues so far is that while Captain Kirk is in charge the really hero in Marvel Comics eyes was Spock. Professor Fowler is a character who is very sick and is in need of a heart transplant who for some reason gets a second wind knocks out several crew members, hijacks the transporter room and beams herself to the planet as the war is going on, is able to get a robotic heart and stay on the planet and brings peace to the two feuding sides. But really you could have cut Fowler out and the story would have been just as impactful and a little less mashed up feeling. The cover has Spock being surrounded by The Mox and is ok and the art inside is done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Ricardo Villamonte and looks pretty good and the characters look like the actors pretty well. Over all another fun issue and shows that Star Trek and Marvel Comics made a good team to bring entertaining issues to readers hands.

Marvel Star Trek 9

Star Trek # 9  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #9 of 18

The Enterprise is heading for some down time and while heading back to a base station they find a missing federation ship named the Endeavor that has been missing for 22 years! They try to communicate with the ghost ship and get no response, but they do get attacked by the ship and must defend themselves and shot down the attacking ship. Once the Endeavor is down Kirk and crew beam aboard it and find the crew all long dead and killed by phaser shots, and worse one of the Enterprise crew members becomes possessed and tries to murder his friends! Spock and McCoy get the possessed crew member under control and they all head back aboard The Enterprise and learn from the ghost ships logs that a madness swept the ship and caused people to become murderous and savage after picking up an 89 year old woman who was supposed to have died at the age of 36 who is the grand mother of Enterprise crew member Karen Hester who is a zoologist and one time lover of Captain Kirk. The mission is clear now and Kirk along with Spock, McCoy and fellow crew head to the freezing cold planet and find that it held a secret and illegal lab that was conducting transporter beam experiments that caused many deaths and the possessed crew members have the spirit of those who died being guanine pigs and want to kill Karen as she is related to the head doctor who conducted these experiments. In the end Kirk figures out a way to trap the possessed spirits that call themselves Unity on the planet and blows up the secret lab with them inside and in the end the infected crew members are getting better and Karen transfers off The Enterprise as she still loves Kirk and knows she has to let him go.

This feels like an episode of the classic Star Trek series as the plot has a ghost Starfleet ship being taken over by the spirits of people who were killed during transporter experiments and now want revenge against the doctor who conducted them, who has long been dead and they confuse her relative and currant Enterprise crew member as their target and its up to Kirk to save the day. The Unity is the spirits and by all accounts they are very dangerous as they can force living people to turn on each other in fits of rage and don’t care about anything else besides revenge. Kirk is calm and shows why he is the captain of the Enterprise as he is quick witted and able to trick The Unity to it’s death as well as saves his infected crew members from a death that would be right around the corner, so for this issue Kirk is the true hero! Karen Hester is a woman who while a member of the Federation is really just hung up on Kirk as she dated him for three years and can not get over the fact they broke up, she is an interesting character as he grandmother was responsible for the deaths that made up The Unity. The rest of the crew are around and play background characters very well and add their own touches to the adventures that unfolds before us readers eyes. The cool thing about this issue is that it allows Kirk to be the hero and not Spock like so many other issues in this series has allowed. The cover is pretty cool as The Unity looks great, but the crew members look pretty sloppy. The art is done by Dave Cockrum & Frank Springer and looks good and fitting for this sci-fi comic based on a TV Show and Movie. Over all issue nine is really solid and one that was a great read and captured the mood and feel of Star Trek really well.

Marvel Star Trek 10

Star Trek # 10  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #10 of 18

Captain Kirk is getting over the flu and worse the planet the Enterprise is researching is surrounded by magnetic fields and a ground team must take some readings form it’s surface. Spock and McCoy volunteer and after crashing on the planet thanks to the magnetic field they soon find themselves without a way to communicate with the Enterprise and have even stumbled upon a primitive race that is about to sacrifice a woman named Shulu to the dragon god, and after she escapes their grip she runs into Spock and McCoy to protect her from the angry tribe that want to see her dead! Spock and McCoy’s phasers clog up as well thanks to the magnetic field and while McCoy and the girl get away, Spock is captured and forced to be a slave to the Dragon Lizard worshiping tribe as McCoy along with the smaller tribe that Shulu comes from come up with a plan to rescue Spock that has McCoy teaching them how to make and use bow and arrows. A rescue mission happens and Spock is set free and the evil tribe leader is killed and McCoy soon learns that his new friends are just as cruel as the ones they over threw and Spock and McCoy find themselves once more being hunted as the new tribe in power turns on them for questioning their customs, in the end Kirk and a shuttle comes down and saves the pair from what would have been a for sure death at the hands of primitive humanoids.

This tenth issue adventure is pretty good but also feels a little lackluster and almost like a throwaway episode of the show as they stretch the plot out as long as they could and than padded the rest of the issue with looks at the uniforms and gear of crew members to meet the page count. The plot is this Spock and McCoy get stuck on a planet with primitive man and save the life of a young woman who was going to be killed to please a false god, Spock gets kidnapped and enslaved and this forces McCoy to team with the smaller tribe and break federation rules when he teaches them how to make new weapons and defeat their enemies and saves Spock. And before the pair is saved they learn that one mans evil ways just leads to more evil ways. Captain Kirk in this issues takes a back seat as he is sick with the flu and only in the end comes to his friends aid when they are late to report back to the Enterprise. Spock is noble and stays behind to save the life of the young woman and McCoy and becomes a slave for his deeds, Spock truly is a logical and iconic hero character. McCoy shows that he is a loyal friend to Spock as well as proves he will not stand by if human lives are in danger. The cover for this issue is great and makes it look like in the issue Spock was going to gladiator fight with a primitive man and while that would have been amazing and fit the tag line “ Spock…The Barbarian” it sadly did not live up to that epicness and instead we got a middle of the road fun story. The art in this issue is done by Leo Duranona and Klaus Janson and for the post part looks rushed and seems unfinished, and besides the ships and a few panels of crew members it’s the sloppiest work this far in the whole series up to this issue. To sum it up a cool read but by far the weakest issue this far, so lets just move on past this one.

Marvel Star Trek 11

Star Trek # 11  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #11 of 18

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise watch the logs of another federation ship that’s crew was slowly killed by radiation and the effects it had on their bodies and minds. The Enterprise is to move Dr. Wentworth and his patients off a planet that could be effected by the radiation and must beam them all aboard and take them to a new location. First beamed aboard is a young lady named Andrea Manning who is the doctors assistant and who also has a unknown strange past with Scotty who seems sad and not to pleased to see her. With the guests now all aboard Dr. Wentworth tries his best to spill his mumbo jumbo on the crew about not taking orders and to live their own lives as it’s clear his clinic is not so much for healing, as it is a cult! In the engineering room a Witch from classic folklore attacks Scotty, knocks Kirk and Spock around plus kills two security officers before disappearing. The Witch’s name was “Black Annis” and was a myth from Scotty’s youth and after seeing it he has fallen into a bad state of fear that leaves Kirk, McCoy and Spock worried about his health and mental well being. Meanwhile Wentworth has used his power of persuasion on Sulu and Uhura and they have changed course from the Starfleet base to now a vacation planet and this angers Kirk who does not know why now his crew are not listening to his direct orders. After arresting those who are uprising against orders they soon find that more Scottish folklore monsters are after Scotty and that Andrea Manning is the one who is responsible for these terrors! As Spock and McCoy try to stop Andrea from bringing more monster to life, Kirk has it out with Wentworth who is on a quest to take over the Enterprise and spread his mind control across the galaxy…but this don’t end well for the Doctor as Kirk with a well placed punch leaves the old man knocked out on the floor. And after summing the Loch Ness Monster to attack the Enterprise, McCoy quickly sedates Andrea and the monster vanishes and they crew snap out of their brainwashed trances and deliver the Cult members to the Starfleet base.

This issue’s mission has Captain Kirk and crew going up against a Cult ran by a doctor who has the power to mind control and his assistant who can bring things form your memories to life and use against you. This has a real 60’s Manson Family and even Health But Guru feel to it as Dr. Wentworth the madman with the power of mind control wants to rule the galaxy and will use other to get it all the while faking spreading the message of being once self, when really your just being his puppet. Andrea Manning while a cult member and the doctors # 1 (as The Joker from the Tim Burton Film would say) has he own reasons for unleashing monsters from Scottish folklore onto the Enterprise as she is very upset with Scotty who was once her boyfriend and who dumped her for so he could focus on his career in Starfleet, and man she wants to mentally break him before she murders him as she tries her best to scare him to a state of 100% terror. Kirk handles his crew turning against his orders, his friend Scotty being scared out of his wits and a cult leader trying to steal his ship really well and gets to work out his frustration from all these things with one well placed and powerful punch to the cult leaders face. Scotty gets the worst of it all as the fears of his youth are used against him and all because he broke up with a young lady many years back. Crew members McCoy, Spock and Chekov all do their part to stop this sinister plan while poor Sulu and Uhura fall victim to mind control. Over all this is a very solid fun issue that had the right blend of action and science fiction sandwiched in-between a cool cover of the Enterprise under attack. The interior art was great and done by Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer and could be my favorite art this far in the series as the characters look like the actors who played them and all side characters as well looked fantastic. This issue is making me look forward to the next issue mission as Marvel at this point in time is doing Star Trek justice in the world of comics.

Marvel Star Trek 12

Star Trek # 12  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Janice Rand is now a Lt. Commander of the Icarus and is married to a Phaetonians alien named Kadan who is without a body and a energy ball inside of a pyramid case and along with more of his race they are about to take on a mission to travel to uncharted space, the downside is that Rand will be the only human aboard the ship and for the rest of her life she will not have any more human contact. This upsets Kirk who has had a past relationship with Rand, as he feels that not only her time in space alone is a bad idea but so is the fact that she is married to a alien with no body! After some words Kirk gives her his blessing on this mission that turns bad quick as the barrier drives the Phaetonians mad and now her once loving and logical husband Kadan is a madman who is controlling the starship that is now gone mad killing ships that get in its way, all the while Rand is now a prisoner! Rand during the impact with the barrier gains physic powers and sends a mind message for help to Spock and this causes Kirk to spring into action and try and save his one time woman and also the planet of the Phaetonians as Kadan plans on crashing the Icarus into it as he and the crew feel homesick! Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sulu beam aboard the Icarus and fight off traps and force fields until Spock is able to join minds with Kadan and save the planet and the Icarus crew from certain death. In the end the Phaetonians are taken to a mental asylum as they have gone mad, Janice Rand goes back to normal and is now safe and feels important as she helped Spock with Kadan’s mind meld as well as now she can divorce her husband and all ends well for Starfleet.

Captain Kirk has done it again as he on this mission not only saves a planet from destruction along with his crew but also hits on a married woman and by the end of the mission opens her mind up for a divorce! Kirk is a real ladies man as well as a great Captain and friend to those aboard his ship The Enterprise. Janice Rand is still hung up on Kirk and marries a alien who has no body, but does have a big brain and chooses to take on a mission that will have her dying in space with a ship with no human crew members! Her goal is to chart un-charted galaxies and to make an impact in her life time…but in the end does so as she truly does help Spock take control of her husbands mind who is the one controlling the out of control ship headed for impact with his home planet. Spock once more is the main man who saves the day as his mind meld technics is what allows them to take control of the ship and deliver it to a safe place. What really worked for his issue was the fact that the ships Enterprise and Icarus played cat and mouse games and the chase felt like a true episode of Star Trek! I also want to note that while Kirk and crew were on the Icarus the Enterprise was being commanded by Scotty who’s idea to save the planet was to wreck the two ships together killing everyone on board both ships, and the worst part is he was going through with the idea until Spock at the last moment was able to take control of the runaway starship! Over all while this issue is nothing to special it does have a great feel to it and I found myself enjoying reading the story as it unfolded. The cover is great and has Kadan in the center as well as an illusion of what his people use to look like above Kirk, Rand and Spock who are in pain over his power…very cool Marvel Comics stuff! The art inside is ok and is slightly sloppy in spots and is done by the team of Luke McDonnell and Tom Palmer and again while ok it does not have the appeal like the last issue did in the art department. Over all our 12 mission with the crew of the Enterprise and Marvel is well done and shows that comics based on Movies and TV Shows can be done right when in the hands of creators who care.

Marvel Star Trek 13

Star Trek # 13  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Hephaestus is a resort planet filled with peace, as it’s a neutral zone and important minerals wanted by the Federation so Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise is sent down to get permission form the planets president named Mukii and talks go well as he agrees for them to mine the minerals they need. But also on the planet is Klingon Commander Kagg and his crew who want to talk Mukii and his people out of helping the Federation and more allow them to protect them and act as their allies. As tension between Federation crew and Klingon crew heat up leaving Chekov in a fistfight with a very rude Klingon who was abusing a native of Hephaestus, this resort planet is slowly turning into a war zone. As Dr. McCoy enjoys a drink at the bar he is approached by his estranged daughter Joanna who lets out her rage on her father who in turn tries to defend is actions and even meets her ill Vulcan soon to be husband Suvak who during the argument passes out! The fight leaves the native Hephaestus dead and both the Klingon and Chekov in jail, with Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel having to perform an autopsy on the dead primate man learning that a chip is what gives them intelligence, and when Kagg shows up the plan is revealed that the Klingons want to take over the planet and want to know were the secret base that makes the chips that makes the Hephaestus people smart is and has found it and placed a bomb in the factory to blow it up and stop the only source for the chips to be made! In Kaggs escape he takes nurse Joanna McCoy hostage and this leaves to Spock and Kirk trying to track him down, as Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel stay with Suvak who is dying and shows true love and courage as he goes to his loves aid in the factory and holds Kagg at bay as Kirk and the rest of the crew are beamed aboard the Enterprise, but not before Kirk sends the blueprints of making the chips to his ship. The factory blows up killing Suvak and Kagg in the process. In the end the rift between Joanna and Dr. McCoy is even wider as her love is now dead, but words from Spock speak logic to Bones who ends up ending the issue beaming down to speak to his daughter and rebuild their relationship.

This is like classic Star Trek meets classic Planet Of The Apes as the natives of Hephaestus are smart ape people who look and dress a lot like the apes from that film series wrapped up into one classic Marvel Comic issue. The plot of this issue has the Enterprise having a showdown with Klingons on a natural planet that is run by smart primate people who are being targeted by the Klingons as they want to take over their planet and by the Federation who wants to have them as allies and use some of their land for mining. And throw is a couple of murders of the Hephaestus people as well as the drama of Dr. McCoy seeing his daughter after many years of being at odds as well as the fact she wants to marry a Vulcan who is dying and you have this action back issue wrapped up. While Kirk and Spock are the main focus of the hero part of the issue and both risk their lives to save the Hephaestus people, it’s Dr. McCoy who steals the show as his drama with his daughter and the raw emotions of hating the fact she is marring a Vulcan is what drives the issue into being more than just another space adventure and rescue comic. Joanna McCoy has followed in the footsteps of her father as she is a nurse, but her feelings toward her father are every bitter and she does not respect him nor want him in her life! The Klingons lead by Commander Kagg are as blood thirsty as ever and kill and bully their way into trying to conquer and take what they want, but as always they fail and end up one the bad end of the outcome. The Hephaestus is a race of Primate Aliens who have gotten their smarts from Aliens who visited their planet years back and gave them chips in the back of their necks that allowed them to become smart, I dig the fact that with smarts came the want to make money as they turned their planet into one giant spa! The cover is great and has Kagg holding a gun to Joanna McCoy’s head and Kirk and Spock about to spring into action to save her! The interior art is done once more by the team of Tom Palmer and Joe Brozowski and looks great! Over all another great issue and proved that Jim Shooter who was the Editor In-Chief during this time was one of the best things to happen to Marvel Comics, a great read about a fun mission from the crew of The Enterprise.

Marvel Star Trek 14

Star Trek # 14  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #14 of 18

The Enterprise has found a planet that looks like ancient Egypt and it’s about to be in the patch of a lethal meteor shower that will leave any living thing dead. Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov and many more crew members beam down to look for life and warn them of the coming doom from the sky while Scotty, Spock and a small handful of others stay aboard the Enterprise to monitor the approaching meteor storm. While on the planet Kirk is possessed by the spirit of Menteptah II a long dead pharaoh who watches as the Enterprise crew have to fight off a giant sphinx robot that they finally bring down by blowing its head off with their phasers, but the crew themselves are soon on the end of a phaser blast as the possessed Kirk blasts them and keeps them hostage. Kirk then takes his new prisoners communicators and destroys them as he thinks they can help him bring his long dead people back to life, but he missed one as McCoy had taken one off of a security officer that was killed during the battle with the giant robot. When caught using it McCoy is stunned and he and Sulu are taken to a primitive sick bay that has the hole crew getting iv’s filled with drugs that will make them slaves to the possessed Kirk who has already conned Uhura into thinking she was his queen. Spock beams down to the planet and snaps Kirk back into reality as McCoy escapes the sick bay and uses modern medicine to snap the crew out of their brainwashing. The mummies come alive as they were just normal men in a state of long slumber and are beamed off the planet to a safe location away from the meteors and harmful sun radiation that was effecting their planet. Kirk and Spock were also able to save Scotty and the Enterprise that was hit by a powerful shrinking ray fired off by one of the pyramids when they figure out the ancient computer system that controls the plants defense system. In the end everyone is back to normal and once more the crew of The Enterprise has saved the day.

“Captain Kirk and the Curse of the Space Pharaoh” is what I nicknamed this issue that has Kirk being possessed by a dead pharaoh and controlled by an Egyptian God statue who wants to use the Enterprise crew to wake up his followers that have been asleep for decades. When Captain Kirk first goes to the planet he is doing so with a noble cause as he wants to save anyone that may be on the planet from the approaching meteor shower of death, but once he gets possessed he becomes a madman with power who wants slaves and wants to please his God by doing what he commands. If not for Spock Kirk and most of the Enterprise crew would have been in a trance and no longer themselves forever! Spock for most the issue hangs out on the Enterprise with Scotty and a skeleton crew, but once he hears the message from McCoy he becomes a one man army as he beams down and rescues the day. I also like the side story of the Enterprise shrinking due to a pyramid laser ray as it adds even more adventure and drama as Scotty is in total danger. The cover is classic early 80’s Marvel and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and Gene Day and looks fantastic! Over all this is another solid and good issue and holds the magic of the TV Show and the Characters and is worth the read for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 15

Star Trek # 15  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #15 of 18

Captain Kirk calls a meeting in his room and when McCoy and Spock show up they are greeted by a monster who shocks them, but they soon learn that its just Kirk in a costume and that many of the crew will be wearing them as they are going undercover on a prison world! Their mission is for a four man team to act as guards and break into the death row section of the planet where prisoners are killed in brutal ways no matter the crime they committed, the second part of the mission will follow after the success or failure of the first part of the mission. The Enterprise captures the real guard ship and Spock uses mild melding to calm them and sends them back home as members of the Enterprise will be taking their place as the mission is now told as they are looking for a young man named Tak who went missing heading for the prison planet and they need to bring him back safe and find out why he went their in the first place. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Uhura put on the costumes and head for their mission were they run across just how brutal the planet and its executions really are. While sent out to find a missing prisoner Kirk and the crew find Tak as well as are busted by a guard they must knock out and leave in a ditch! Tak informs them that he wants to die on this planet as an accident he had while drunk left his true love dead! Tak once more runs away before he can be rescued and shape shifts into a prisoner about to be executed and is saved my Kirk and crew again only for they themselves to be saved by the guard they knocked out who kills the evil warden and takes over the prison and wants to run it way different. Kirk and crew along with Tak are beamed aboard the Enterprise and Tak is set to get the mental help he needs.

This fifteenth issue in this Marvel Comic series of Star Trek issues is a good read, but could be one of the weakest this far next to maybe issue ten. The issues plot has the Enterprise crew going on a top-secret mission in a territory that is hostile and must save a young alien man who has went missing on a planet that is the galaxies worst prison with the most brutal death row! Kirk tells his crew that this mission is one they can by no way connect to the federation so if they must die in order to protect their employer so be it! The crew is wearing goofy costumes most the issue, besides Kirk who’s mask is ripped off so the good old captains face is seen by not only the prison guards but also us readers. The Warden is super evil and gets pleasure in watching the killing of his prisoners as he finds that they do not deserve respect in life or death, but he meets his maker by the hands of his own guard who puts a phaser blast hole in his back as he wants to change the evil ways of the planet. The cover for this issue is pretty good as it makes it look as if Captain Kirk has turned into The Devil as the crew look on fearful! The interior art is pretty sloppy and weak and is done by Gil Kane, and that’s shocking as his work for the most part was pretty good in other Marvel and DC Comics. While this issue is not terrible and was an enjoyable read, I just found it to get semi generic and nothing special. I do like how it has a message of don’t drink or do drugs and drive as it could lead to death! To sum it up this issue is like a throw away episode of the TV series and while worth the read will be one that you would rate lower.

Marvel Star Trek 16

Star Trek # 16  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #16 of 18

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, a security guard and Themon (who is Chekov’s girlfriend) beam down to a federation planet for its annual check-up to its people but what they find instead is a tribe of trolls who attack them and kidnap Themon! Before the battle gets to fierce McCoy and an injured Troll are beamed aboard the Enterprise so they can study what they are! While Kirk and the crew fight on against the trolls they are saved by gnomes that are lead by Torval who informs them that the colony people of this planet they were looking for are dead and eaten by the trolls! Kirk and his crew are lead to a cave were the trolls live in order to try and save Themon, while aboard the Enterprise beamed up with the now un-needed supplies are two bat riding trolls who attack and are quickly captured when the crew learn they are powerless with out their hats on and once this happens they turn back into gnomes! When Kirk and crew find Themon she is trying to communicate to the trolls who are far less hostile now and seems to understand what they crew are saying! Meanwhile McCoy figures out the real trolls are in fact people and with some medicine they will turn back normal and he comes down to the planet and transforms the trolls back to normal. Kirk and Spock put two and two together and figure out Torval and his gnomes are the real bad guys who have set this whole thing up, in the end they defeat the gnomes who explain that only four of their race are alive and they just wanted a place to be left alone, and they get it as the leave them be and transport the colony away and all ends well.

This issue pits Kirk and the Enterprise against Trolls and Gnomes on a planet that was set for research and once the smoke clears they find that the gnomes whom they thought were allies are in fact the enemies who are using hat magic to destroy and trick those who stand in their way of living on the planet alone! Kirk in this issues is leading not only the ship but the landing party and seems to be is a world of disbelief as he jokes off the fact that they are being attacked and saved by creatures of Earth folklore. Not sure why he is acting like those who are stating and believe what they are seeing is real are crazy, he just does. Nice to see Chekov used more in this issue and even given a girlfriend in the blue skinned Themon who seems to be just as into Chekov as he is into her. The rest of the crew serve their purpose with McCoy being the real hero as he figures out the cure to make the trolls back to normal and saving them from a terrible life. The Gnomes who get their power from the their hats are few in numbers with only four being all that’s left of their race, but when their little minds are together they can kill and disrupt to get their way of wanting to live in peace. The Trolls are savages at first but once they can calm down and understand what the Enterprise crew is saying they become as gentle as babies. The threat in this issue while small still packs a great adventure feel to it as the gnomes try their best to even crush the crew and trolls alive with a cave in! The cover is eye catching and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and is ok but in some spots is really bad as one panel has Kirk looking like Sloth from the film The Goonies, as he eyes are weird and off center. Over all another fun Marvel Trek mission that was well worth the read and highly entertaining for fans of the TV Show and the movies.

Marvel Star Trek 17

Star Trek # 17  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel    #17 of 18

The Enterprise is called to a planet where a federation satellite crashed, and its fuel may cause the atmosphere to become toxic when coming in touch with the air. To see if the fuel has affected the air Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet that is very primitive in nature much like medieval times.  A young child witnesses them beaming down and believes they are angels. While in town McCoy heads to the town’s hospital that is a barbaric house of pain and suffering as the sick are not cured but left to heal by the hands of faith. While Kirk and Spock make the mistake of talking to a old man who studies the stars, the townspeople think they are evil so they are attacked and taken away, and when they discover Spock’s pointed ears they think he is a devil. McCoy finds that the air is poisoned and that the sick and elderly are being affected, but he as well is arrested and branded a devil worshiping evildoer.  The young child is also captured as they think she is mindlessly following the evil ones, and Gorman, who is the star researcher, saves her from being tortured and causes the holy warrior guards to give chase tricking them to leave and making it easier for Gorman and the young child visit Kirk and Spock in their cell and give them back their broken equipment that they use to free themselves, but sadly they must leave McCoy behind as he is in another cell and informs them that the air is turning toxic and they must get the Enterprise to drop the anti toxin into the atmosphere before it’s too late. In the end Kirk saves McCoy, who is about to be drowned by the Holy Warriors that think he is a witch, as Spock is able to contact the Enterprise by making a primitive radio that alerts them to drop the antidote right on time. In the end Kirk, Spock and McCoy return to the Enterprise, and Gorman and the young girl know that science is the way to cure and create things to better mankind.

This issue’s mission lands Kirk and select crew on a planet that is much like the medieval era where superstition runs wild and people still think witches and devil are out to get them.  In reality, the ones they target just understand science and want to use it to better mankind in its quest to evolve and cure illness and understand the world around them. This issue reminds me a lot of the third Evil Dead film “Army Of Darkness” as the future seems to clash with the past and by the end it all mashes together for the better. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put themselves in danger in order to find out if the planet’s people are in trouble from toxic air thanks once more to the federation who goofed up and wants the Enterprise to be the clean up crew in secret to protect its reputation. The people of the planet are so into superstition that they are on a witch hunt and are clueless that the air around them is slowly killing them. Gorman and the little girl are great side characters as they are clearly the only ones smart enough to figure out Kirk and crew are their to help and even are the key to how Spock and Kirk free themselves from the jail. The story feels like a classic 1960’s episode of the TV show, and once more, Marvel showed that they could do science fiction right when based on a popular franchise. The cover on this issue is okay and while not really showcasing what the issue was about, is eye catching to Trekkies for sure. The interior art this time around is being done by Ed Hannigan and looks pretty good like your typical B-Title art from Marvel. Over all this issue was great and a fun read that captured the silliness and epic nature of Star Trek missions.  So what I am saying is this issue was good stuff.

Marvel Star Trek 18

Star Trek # 18  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel   #18 of 18

The Enterprise is being blocked by a giant ship planet that sends over probes that allows it to beam aboard both Kirk and Spock.  They meet a giant robot named Sustainer who informs them that he wishes them no harm and needs their help, but this help will have one returning to the Enterprise and will leave the other dead. Before they can get answers, Kirk and Spock find themselves on opposing pirate ships.  Kirk dies saving Spock’s life when a piece of the ship falls and crushes him. As Spock carries his dead friend and Captain, the Sustainer informs him that he can bring Kirk back to life.  This confuses the pair even more as they escape the sick bay and find they are now in some sort of mechanical maze, that this time leaves Spock dead and resurrected. Sustainer brings Kirk and Spock to the bridge of his planet ship and shows them the Enterprise on the screen and starts to use his ships power to heat up the Enterprise, slowly cooking the crew alive! The only way he will stop this massacre is if Kirk or Spock give their life for them and this time the death will be final, Spock uses the nerve pinch on Kirk and volunteers death for the lives of his fellow crew members, but Kirk awakes just in time and once more saves Spock from death’s grip. Sustainer is happy this has happened as he never wanted to kill and was only stealing the emotion of friendship and doing great things for others as his creators are in sleep chambers on this ship.  They are greedy and self centered, and by stealing these emotions from Spock and Kirk, he can now install those feelings into his creators making them a better race. In the end Sustainer sends Kirk and Spock back to the Enterprise, and all ends well as the galaxy is shaping up to be a better place for all alien races.

The final Marvel Comic mission has a message about loyalty, sacrifice and helping others in need and is told between Kirk and Spock who are being tested by a giant robot who in turn is trying to use emotions to teach his creators a better way to live their lives instead of being selfish. Kirk and Spock have respect for each other as fellow Starfleet members but also are close friends as they clearly would risk their own lives to save each other from danger and death. The rest of the crew of the Enterprises sadly are just pawns in this game of stealing emotions and self sacrifice as they are trapped in a tracking beam and later are almost cooked to death like sardines in a can. Sustainer is a giant robot that is loyal to his creators and yet knows that they are flawed and that their own selfish nature is what has lead to their almost complete extinction. His plan for help is to trick Kirk and Spock into doing tests that always leave one person dead.  Each time the death comes from a selfless act in order to help the other, as Sustainer is taking that emotion and thought process and pumping it into the sleep chambers of his creators in hope it will make them better beings. It’s strange that this story is how they decided to end the Star Trek Marvel Comic series with a moral meaning issue and not a battle with the Klingons or some other alien race, as I would have liked to have seen maybe a few more aliens from the TV show make an appearance during this 18 issue run. While Marvel only ran Star Trek for 18, far less than the 107 made for Star Wars, it still was a fun and high quality science fiction comic adventure that took classic characters and allowed them to battle Klingons, fight gnomes and even find a haunted house planet to keep their mission going and act as a way to keep fans happy as they waited for the next movie to come out in the series. The cover is okay and informs you that this was the final issue in the series and showcases Kirk and Spock in a mind meld.  The final issue art duty went to Joe Brozowski, and you could tell he gave it time and respect. Being a long time fan of Star Trek I will say that while I highly enjoyed this comic series, it does have flaws like odd character attitude changes and cheesy missions, but if you like fun with your Trek I would say make sure to give this series a read. Below is some art from this series and yes it’s all taken from when they fought the monsters as it combined two things I really love lots: Star Trek and monsters!

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This month I covered things that I was a huge fan of in my youth and still am to this day including Horror Host show Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grampa, Sunday Funnies iconic character Dick Tracy and last but not least sci-fi mainstay TV and movie franchise Star Trek.  It was a blast going back to my past and re-visiting my past memories and joys that these media characters gave me and still do. Our next update will be our first in our countdown to Halloween and will take us out of the unknowns of space and into the deep blue ocean as we take a look at Jaws 2 and the Marvel Comic adaptation of the film.  So until then, make sure to take a few moments and give some thought to movies, TV shows, comics, music, books, video games, horror hosts and most importantly the people who have been impactful on your life and helped shape you into the person you are today. So read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, and I’ll see you on Amity Island for our next Jawsome update.

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The Next Generation Of The Final Frontier

First officer’s blog, Stardate 69885.3.  Greetings, Inkfleet cadets – Juliet once again reporting for blogging duty.  Today we’re heading to the final frontier to talk about a show (and the comics based on it) that is and was incredibly important to me, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I’ll henceforth be abbreviating as ST:TNG.  So why The Next Generation and not the original series?  As I’ll get into further along in this update, I adore the original series, but ST:TNG was such an important part of my childhood, for better or worse.  Matt, on the other hand, is a HUGE original series fan so it’s only appropriate that I handle this one while he takes on the original series at a later date.  So settle in with some tea – earl grey – hot and prepare to bolding go where no one has gone before.

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In 1986, 20 years after Star Trek’s debut and as Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner were demanding larger salaries during the production of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Paramount began to consider a new Star Trek television series.  This actually wasn’t the first first time they had toyed with the idea.  In 1977, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had announced that Star Trek Phase II would be coming to the small screen as part of the newly created Paramount Television Service.  The series was to feature a second five year mission for the original series crew, but when Paramount Television Services failed to launch, the plot for the pilot episode was rewritten and became Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced in October of 1986, the cast in the spring of 1987.   Originally Gene Roddenberry hadn’t planned on being involved in the production but came on as creator, working with Paramount exec Rick Berman, after he was unhappy with some of the original concept designs.  The show premiered in October, 1987 in what’s called first-run syndication, meaning that any TV station, regardless of network affiliation, could carry the show in the timeslot of its choosing – a fact that I actually just learned while researching this blog that clears up a lot of my own confusion as to whether I was viewing the episodes first-run or in syndicated re-runs (both, kind of).

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The first episode, “Encounter at Farpoint,” introduces us to the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D (Kirk’s Enterprise was the NCC-1701 in the show and then the NCC-1701-A beginning in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) roughly 70 years after Kirk and co’s original five year mission.  Captained by Jean-Luc Picard, the Enterprise’s ongoing mission is, like in the original series, to seek out new life and new civilizations.  This Enterprise, however, is home to more than officiers, and the presence of children and families on the ship becomes a subtle but important theme throughout the show’s run.  The Federation and the Klingons enjoy a relative peace, making it possible for a Klingon officer, Lt. Worf, to be head of security.  New threats, however, have emerged most notably with the Borg Collective joining other villainous races like the Romulans.  The Borg are a cybernetic race assimilated from other conquered species.  Their origins are a bit vague as they hail from the faraway Delta Quadrant (where Star Trek: Voyager takes place), but their story and the threat they pose is explored throughout ST:TNG and the subsequent movies and shows.  I’m actually really curious to see if they’ll be a part of either the forthcoming CBS Star Trek series slated for 2017 of which very few details have been revealed, or, if perhaps they’ll make an appearance in the Abrams-verse Star Trek films, which are simply an alternate timeline/universe split off from the original series – more on that in a moment.

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I would be remiss to mention the Borg without mentioning Q, as he both begins ST:TNG and introduces the Borg to the Enterprise crew and the viewers.  Q is an omnipotent being, one of many like him who form the Q Continuum.  Masterfully played by John de Lancie, Q serves as a both a framing device for the entire ST:TNG series and a recurring meddlesome presence who, although typically arriving humorously, often raises huge philosophical and ethical questions about the Enterprise’s mission to “seek out new life and new civilizations.”  So although he was a bit over the top, Q really helped add a whole new dimension to the stories of his episodes.  Speaking of dimensions (see what I did there?), Q was often (especially in the novels – again, stay tuned, we’re getting there) involved in stories that explored the concept of multiple dimensions and the space-time continuum.  Although The Original Series dealt with these concepts quite a bit, I feel like they really shone in ST:TNG, and the novels that centered around time were particularly interesting and well crafted. We’ll talk about those in a moment, but first a bit about my history with the show itself.

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I was four years old when ST:TNG premiered so unlike The X-Files, I don’t have a distinct memory of the first time I saw the show.  Rather, the show’s been ever-present in my life; much like public radio, ST:TNG was just always there.  By 1991, our local station had also started re-running episodes daily as I do have very clear memories of watching ST:TNG every night at 7pm after Little House on the Prairie in our then-new house (which is my parents’ house to this day).  Several year later, I think after the show had ended in 1994, they moved the reruns to 11pm, and I remember being completely upset because that was past my bedtime. Pretty quickly, however, my bedtime was changed to accommodate watching ST:TNG every night even though I had probably seen every episode five times over already – thanks, Mom and Dad!  That should be some indication of how much the show meant to me.  I’m going to get into that a bit further, but first let’s talk about some of the merchandise as this kind of all ties together.

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There was SO.MUCH merchandise for ST:TNG.  The variety of toys alone was rather staggering.  I can remember going to the Bookie Parlor (yes, the same comic store Matt’s spoken of fondly many times here on the blog) as a child and being rather amazed at how many ships and playsets were available, not to mention the posters, books, comics, t-shirts, lunchboxes, pogs and more.  In terms of action figures, the first set of ST:TNG action figures came out in 1988 from Galoob.  This set of 10 3.5 inch figures came out as a limited release and are pretty rare to find today.  The largest and popular assortment of ST:TNG figures were the 5” Playmates figures that were released in waves of 10-23 figures beginning in 1991.  Funny enough, I never had any of these as a kid.  I couldn’t even tell you why, but I only ever got a handful of the First Contact figures which were larger at 6 inches tall.  However, thanks to the heroic efforts of Matt, in my 30s I’m now the proud owner of a nearly complete set of the 3.5” ST:TNG figures.  Other notable merchandise that I actually owned includes a replica communicator that actually featured Patrick Stewart’s voice,  a giant poster with bios of each crew member and a more recent acquisition: a complete of set of PEZ dispensers of the whole ST:TNG crew (check out the photos below).  Though not exclusively ST:TNG, I also owned and proudly wore a Women of Star Trek t-shirt that featured the amazing ladies from the original series all the way through Deep Space 9 (my version of the shirt pre-dated Voyager’s premiere though I’ve seen later editions that included Captain Janeway).

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There were also VHS tapes, and lots of them.  Beginning in 1991, tapes of individual episodes were released and eventually every single episode made it onto VHS.  They also made it onto LaserDisc, released with two episodes per disc.  Again, a full run of the series was released in this format.  The first season of ST:TNG came out on DVD in 2002.  All seven seasons were eventually released, and in 2007, the full series was released in a 49 disc set.  The series was also released on Blu-Ray, remastered from original 35mm footage using a special technique that allowed for maximum picture quality.

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The the video game department, ST:TNG had lots of options for the PC gamer, from movie tie-ins for Generations and First Contact to highly specialized games such as Armada and Borg Assimilator.  On the home console front, NES, Gameboy and Gear Gamer players got Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1993.  Sega would follow in 1994 with Star Trek: The Next Generation – Echoes From the Past and Generations: Beyond the Nexus.  ST:TNG made it to the Playstation 2 with Encounters and Conquest (which was also available for the Wii), and was represented in the Xbox 360 and PC game Star Trek: Legacy.  Arcade fans got to experience the super cool Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machine.

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Of all the really cool pieces of Star Trek: The Next Generation merchandise that I either owned or coveted, by far the most important items to me were the paperback novels.  They began in 1988 with Ghost Ship, the first of the numbered series, which went all the way to 63.  I was the proud owner of all of the ST:TNG numbered paperbacks through #45 (at the time, that was the most recent release).  I got the majority of the early run at a library sale, and began seeking out others at the library and then buying them from Books & Co as I found them.  There were also one-shot novels outside of the numbered series including titles like Q-Squared, Vendetta, Imzadi and Kahless.  These books were hugely, hugely important to me as a young reader.  I had always been an advanced reader for my grade level, but because I was so excited about having more ST:TNG stories to consume beyond the seven seasons of the show, I devoured these books, sometimes reading one in a single evening.  From the age of 11 to 13, you typically didn’t see me without one or several ST:TNG paperbacks in my possession at all times.  My quest to find new ones to read meant I spent a lot of time looking through the sci-fantasy paperbacks at my local library and eventually I began picking up other titles, both by genre mainstays like Piers Anthony and Anne McCaffery and other random one-offs, some very good and other delightfully cheesy.  But it wasn’t all warm fuzzy scifi nerd joy for a young Juliet.  As I’m sure you can imagine, the other 11-13 year olds I went to school with didn’t quite think the ST:TNG novels were as cool as I did.  Pair that a teacher who required you to track the pages you’d read, out loud, in front of class each day (remember that sometimes I’d read a whole novel on a usual day), and you’ve got a lot of pre-teen mocking and accusations from  classmates and a teacher that I was lying about the reading.  Sigh. Pre-teen angst aside, I learned a lot from these books as I came to understand which of the regular authors tended toward which type of stories and who was stronger with certain characters.  It’s helped me as a writer think about my own strengths and the type of stories I both like to tell and am good at writing.  By far, my favorite ST:TNG novel writer was Peter David.  I absolutely loved his use of multiple timelines that could both stand on their own as interesting stories and intersected in interesting ways.  David’s Q-Squared more than likely laid the groundwork for me to fall in love with even more complex timelines in novels like The Man in the Empty Suit and even experimental work like House of Leaves.

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The novels weren’t the only books released around the ST:TNG franchise.  There was an episode guide called The Complete Guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation that was re-released several times as the show was renewed for additional seasons (and that at one point in my life, I had memorized – no joke).  There were also several technical manuals, books about the science of Star Trek, and a host of other random series tie-ins like Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek:  The Next Generation.

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This of course brings us to the comics.  There were several series of ST:TNG comics released by DC and later their Wildstorm imprint.  For our purposes, I’ll be covering the first ST:TNG six-issue miniseries, now called Volume 1, released in early 1988.  They were written by Mike Carlin, who was also group editor for Superman at the time and later served as DC’s executive editor from 1996 until 2002.  The artwork was by Pablo Marcos, who had previously made a name for himself doing horror comics for Marvel.  Marcos would stay on for a good portion of the second ST:TNG DC run (Volume 2), the bulk of which was written by Michael Jan Friedman.  Big thanks to Matt for tracking down the Volume 1 series for me via Lone Star Comics, and before we engage, remember that here on Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and look for how close the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s set a course for the DC six-issue mini-series of Star Trek: The Next Generation….Engage!

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Star Trek: The Next Generation  #1  *
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.50    DC    1 of 6

We begin with Captain Picard’s opening narration (the same one that opens the show), which leads into a monologue of his reflections on the Enterprise, its mission and the fact that unlike his prior command posts, this ship is carrying not just his crew, but their families including many children.   On the bridge, Picard’s crew, including Commander Riker, Lt. Worf, Lt. Yar, Counselor Troi, Lt. Commander Data and Lt. LaForge, are ready to proceed with their first mission as they conduct scans of a nearby planet and adjust to working together.  An alien race makes contact and expresses and interest in meeting the Enterprise crew.  As Picard begins to make plans for an away team, Dr Crusher and Wesley visit the bridge to ask for more medical supplies, but everything is interrupted when the supposedly peaceful aliens fire on the ship.  After consulting with Riker and Troi, Picard decides that the away team will go ahead as planned with Riker, Troi, Yar, LaForge and Data visiting the alien planet.  As soon as they arrive, they’re fired on again again and pursued by warriors in a large armored vehicle.  Meanwhile, back on the ship, Picard has to deal with young Wesley asking him about his plans for dealing with the potentially hostile aliens and a husband and wife bridge team who are bickering nonstop.  Back on the planet, Yar gets the hostile aliens under control for the moment, and Troi probes their minds to discover that their actions aren’t necessarily purely hostile but that they’re involved in some kind of war games.  The team is then transported elsewhere, by another set of aliens who apologize for the welcome the Enterprise crew has received to their planet thus far.  Out of concern for his crew, Picard has jumped into a transporter and ends up on the same ship as his away team to be greeted by the aliens, who appear to be children.

Huh.  So…that was….an issue that I read.  The beginning of this issue read almost like it was going to be a comic version of the first episode of ST:TNG, Encounter at Farpoint but ended up veering off to its own story. According to the editor’s notes in the back of the comic, DC began work on this ST:TNG mini-series in early 1987, right around the time the show began shooting its first season, which I think, explains a lot about why some of the characterizations feel just a bit off.  For example: in the show, Data rarely speaks with contractions, save for some very deliberate scripting choices and the occasion flub, but in this comic, he uses them nonstop.  It’s entirely possible that decision wasn’t made until Brent Spiner began shooting as the character so the DC folks had already started working on the comic and this wasn’t communicated to them.  The way the characters interact with one another, even the way they address each other (commonly by first names instead of by last name or title) also feels just a bit off from the show. Speaking of out of place, the biggest problem I had with this issue were the things that felt like DC trying to “comicfy” ST:TNG – as if the show itself didn’t have the right elements for a comic in the 1980s (come on guys, it’s in space!) so they added giant Mad-Max-esque armored vehicles, warriors who looked like your usual Conan-Krull-HeMan clones and gave the bickering bridge couple capes…just so you were sure you were reading a comic book  The art itself is okay – very much of its time and nothing to write home about.  The cover is pretty cool with a painted looking Enterprise in warp flight over the LCARS display.  Let’s see if they can iron out some of my complaints in the next issue, though it’s got Picard fighting aliens in front of a Christmas tree on the cover so I’m not exactly optimistic.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #2  *1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.00    DC    2 of 6

The Enterprise is en route to a Federation Starbase for standard maintenance, and the crew is preparing to celebrate Christmas on the holodeck.  The sensors pick up an alien vessel traveling at warp speed nearby so Riker proceeds with the usual diplomatic greetings, but when the communications channels are opened, the Enterprise’s instruments go berserk.  They recover quickly and finally reach the strange mummy-like aliens who are happy to accept the crew’s invitation to join them in their holiday celebrations.  The rest of the crew make merry on the holodeck, which is made up to look like ski slopes, but Picard and Yar excuse themselves to greet their alien visitors.  As they proceed to the holodeck, one of the aliens wanders off and catches Wesley, who’s also wandered away from the party, but says that he’s “not the one I’m looking for.”  Wesley tries to warn Picard and the rest of the crew, but when confronted, the aliens just say that there was an odd presence that they were chasing, which could also explain the earlier malfunctions on the Enterprise.  Picard doesn’t seem terribly concerned, so Wesley throws a tantrum and leaves the party.  Troi chases after him saying she believes him because she’s sensed something strange as well.  The aliens and the Enterprise crew clash as the presence once again wrecks havoc, materializing to look like Santa Claus (seriously).  When this happens, the aliens are unmasked and revealed to look suspiciously like a race of Grinches (again, seriously).  Finally the presence is freed out in space and the aliens agree to stay and celebrate Christmas with the Enterprise crew.

I spent the first few minutes of this comic extremely confused because I thought that this was going to be a continuation of the story from issue 1, but nope.  Instead we forge ahead into a rather ridiculous holiday story that ultimately results in the Enterprise crew and some aliens bonding over the spirit of Christmas.  It’s exactly as cheesy as it sounds, and I groaned loudly when the mysterious presence began to manifest itself in the shape of Santa Claus.  I won’t tell you what I said, when, upon flipping back through the pages to write this review, I realized that the aliens looked like the Grinch. Sigh. I suppose I should mentioned that I’m not a fan of holiday specials in general so the concept was already rather painful.  But even putting that aside, this just felt way too wacky to be ST:TNG – like bad fanfiction.  The art in this issue was slightly improved from the last – the characters are starting to look a bit more like themselves.  Let’s see if we can take a few more baby steps towards a good read in issue 3.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation  #3  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.35    DC    3 of 6

The Enterprise is beginning another mission when Picard catches Yar and Wesley running through the corridors playing a game.  He chastises them, and Yar tells Wesley a bit about her childhood on a rough colony planet before she’s summoned to the bridge.  The Enterprise has encountered a strange ship of unknown origin with no apparent lifeforms on board.  Yar volunteers to lead an away mission, saying that it’s best to investigate now that get caught in a trap later.  The mission, however, quickly goes awry as the team is attacked by invisible assailants, who seem to somehow know Tasha Yar.  Back on the Enterprise, Picard has to figure out whether or not to destroy this mysterious ship, and as he grapples with the ethics, Q appears on the bridge to throw his two cents in.  The alien ship begins firing on the Enterprise, and Picard makes the decision to protect the civilians onboard by separating the saucer section and commanding from the battle bridge.  Meanwhile, Wesley observes the transporters being used without anyone seemingly being beamed aboard the saucer section, while Deanna senses a psychic attack on Tasha Yar.  Q tries to bait Picard into destroying the alien ship, but then the Enterprise receives a hail of distress from the human-like creatures aboard who claim to have been abandoned by their leader.  While Q continues to argue with Picard, the aliens board the battle bridge and accuse Q of breaking his part of their deal.  While Picard tries to make sense of the arrangement that Q has made, Gordi informs him that the saucer section has vanished in space as our story is to be continued.

FINALLY, a comic that feels like ST: TNG and not some silly kids book (no offense if that’s what you’re into, it’s just not what I’m after in a Star Trek comic).  The story for this issue very much had the feel of a regular episode with moments of comedy, adventure and drama as well as Q meddling about as Picard tries to navigate the Prime Directive and captaining a ship with both commissioned crew and civilians onboard.  If that wasn’t enough, we got the ship separating, which always felt like a treat in the show (by treat, I mean thing that would cause a young Juliet to demand the attention of everyone around me: “Look! Look!  They’re going to the battle bridge which means THEY’RE GOING TO SEPARATE THE SHIP!!”).  The art’s still not fabulous, but for the most part, everyone looked remotely like themselves.  I’m actually a bit excited to see how this one wraps up so let’s move on to the next issue.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #4  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.35    DC    4 of 6

The saucer section is lost in space as Q argues with Picard’s crew on the battle bridge about his role in this situation claiming that there’s someone else controlling the situation that even he does not have influence over.  Meanwhile, the saucer section under Riker’s command is experiencing strange turbulence as it hurls through space.  In sick bay, Tasha Yar awakens to see a mysterious cloaked figure named Reglech, who she recognizes from her childhood on the colony planet.  While Picard discovers that Q has mysteriously lost his omnipotent power (and manages to get a good punch in), Wesley sneaks onto Riker’s bridge and manages to be in the right place at the right time when Riker relieves his helmsman of duty.  Tasha, meanwhile, has wandered away from sick bay with Reglech who taunts her about her childhood.  As a Q appears on Riker’s bridge, other Q’s watch as Tasha overpowers Reglech and observe that she shows promise.  Tasha brings “Reglech” (who’s now revealed to be another Q) to the bridge and the Q’s leave the saucer section, which finally stops shaking.  Meanwhile back on the battle bridge, Q finds himself abandoned on the Enterprise, powerless, and lashes out.  As the saucer section comes back into range, Q’s tantrum causes Gordi to be shot by a phaser, seemingly killing him….to be continued.

Interesting that this comic came out in May 1988 because almost exactly a year later, season two episode “Q Who” would air, the main plot of which is that Q is kicked out of the continuum for his meddlesome behavior.  That aspect of this issue is interesting, but feels kind of rushed in comparison to the way the story is told in the episode.  The bits about Tasha’s childhood are also interesting but rushed.  One thing that did annoy me was that the Bickley’s, the bickering husband and wife crew members from the first issue, are back and bickering in full force.  Seriously, who are these people and why are they necessary?  They aren’t even comic relief, they’re just annoying.  Another thing that’s more bothersome than outright annoying is Data’s reaction to Gordi’s apparent death.  I’m hoping they better explain his emotion-drive outburst in the next issue because this early in the show, it’s really not fitting for the character.  So is Gordi really dead?  Let’s find out!

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #5  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.00    DC    5 of 6

Gordi is seemingly dead, and Data is furious.  The Android attacks Q as the saucer section is re-attached to the ship.  Dr. Crusher arrives on the battle bridge and begins to tend to Gordi.  She takes him and Q (who’s still powerless and was pummeled by Data) to sick bay.  Worf and Picard discuss whether or not Q’s lack of power can result in him eventually changing and shedding his trickster nature, while Data worries over Gordi in sick bay.  Reglech has been confined to the detention deck with the aliens from the ship back in issue 3 (hey, remember those guys?) and manipulates them into facilitating his escape.  Tasha pursues the escaped Reglech, who goes to sick bay as Q is awakening.  Reglech is to kill Gordi, but Data jumps in the way, seemingly unhurt by his phaser blasts.  Then Q jumps in the way, sparing both Data and Gordi as he willingly sacrifices himself.  This puts Q back in the good graces of the continuum and he leaves the Enterprise unharmed as Gordi finally awakens.

All told, this isn’t a terrible arc, though really, I think the story would have been better served over a few more issues.  I seriously forgot about the aliens from the beginning of the story and was a bit shocked that for all of issue 4, they were apparently biding their time on the detention deck.  The Enterprise crew is once again all over the place.  It’s really interesting because for as well as they’ve got Picard down in this story arc, other characters just seem so off in terms of characterization.  Data is by far the worst offender.  Whereas others seem off, there are things about him in this story arc that are straight up canonically wrong.  As I mentioned in the prior issue’s write-up, I was hoping that his emotional outburst over Gordi’s attack was some kind of product of Q’s meddling, but apparently, it was just the product of bad writing -or- of the comics being written/produced prior to or concurrently with the beginning of the first few episodes so the characters weren’t really properly fleshed out.  And that’s the thing I have to remember, people reading these comics in 1988 only had a handful of ST:TNG episodes to compare the characterization to whereas I have multiple viewings of seven seasons under my belt, not to mention the novels.  So with that in mind, I’ll move on to the final comic in this six-issue mini-series.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation #6  ***
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.00    DC    6 of 6

The Enterprise is finally on its mission to the mystical planet Faltos (which is where they were headed before the great Q interruption that made for the last story arc).  As Picard gives the orders to set course, Data begins to argue with him about the coordinates, saying that Picard is wrong.  Just as Data is about to be relieved of duty, the crew figures out that he is telling the truth, Starfleet command has implanted secret information about Faltos into Data’s brain.  The Enterprise finds the mysterious planet and send an away team to meet with the Faltos world tribunal, made up of many different races of aliens. Deanna has a bad feeling about the mission, but Riker doesn’t want to keep the tribunal waiting so they proceed.  The tribunal treats them as welcome guests, so welcome, in fact, that they’re informed that the Enterprise’s crew will now be permanent residents of the planet as so many visitors have done before them.  Naturally, the away team and Picard are outraged, and as they try to figure out what to do, Data realizes that perhaps there’s additional information hidden inside him.  So Picard and Dr. Crusher beam down to the planet under the pretense of diplomacy and proceed to help Gordi tinker with Data.  they learned that Data’s creator, Dr. Soong, studied crystalline energy while trapped on Faltos and used that knowledge, now implanted in Data, to escape.  So Picard and his crew put their plan into action and escape in the Enterprise, but not before the leader of the world tribunal uses his powers to remove all knowledge of Faltos’ location from Data’s (and thus Star Fleet’s) memory.

Story-wise, this was actually a pretty good way to wrap up this six-issue run.  Of all these comics, this one felt the closest to an actual episode of the show, just adapted to the pacing needs of a single issue comic, and there’s a part of me that actually wonders if this story wasn’t somehow recycled for an early episode of Voyager that’s very similar.  I’d love to know a bit more about Faltos, and see more of the planet, but even that didn’t bother me as it was obviously the easiest thing to skip for page restraints without messing up the actual story.  The art, on the other hand, still wasn’t great.  There are panels where everyone looks good, like comic stylized version of their TV characters, but in others, the characters, Data in particular, just looked ridiculous.  Earlier in the series, I was really unsure as to whether I’d be interested in reading the volume two comics, but I think with this ending, I may give them a shot at some point.  Speaking of which, I have a few more comics to cover here on Rotten Ink, the two movie ST:TNG movie adaptation comics.

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Of course, there were actually four ST:TNG movies, or three and a half depending on how you classify Generations since it is technically both an original series and Next Generation movie.  Generations was released in 1994, and the tactic of having a film covering both shows was interesting.  On one hand, I get it – all of the Trek movies up to that point were based on characters from the original series, and only three years prior, while ST:TNG was still on the air, Star Trek VI came out in theaters.  The flipside of this is that ST:TNG ended a successful TV run only months before Generations was released in theaters so it kind of begs the question, what else did that property need to do to prove itself worthy of getting its own film.  But ultimately Generations was a good passing of the torch and paved the way well for First Contact, which to me is the best ST:TNG film.  I’ll leave the plots of both of these for a moment as we’ll get to them in the comic reviews below.  After First Contact in 1996, Insurrection followed in 1998. I have mixed feeling about that one.  I don’t think it was quite as bad as many people claim, but it reminds me a lot of X-Files: I Want To Believe in that it really wasn’t a film, just a two-part mid-season episode on the big screen.  And then we have Star Trek: Nemesis.  I’ll level with you, dear Rotten Ink readers, I’ve only seen once, in the theater, and even fourteen years later that still feels like enough.  I ought to be able to have the same attitude about Nemsis that I do about Insurrection because I think the logical side of my brain knows that’s the case.  However, because Nemsis was considered such a commercial flop and a mess of a movie, it ended up being the last Star Trek movie before the JJ Abrams films (which I actually don’t mind especially since they’re attempting to simply make them an alternate universe which keeps in the spirit of Star Trek), which just really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  But we aren’t talking about Nemesis as there wasn’t a comic adaptation of it.  So here with go with Star Trek Generations.

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Star Trek Generations # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.95    DC    1 of 1

Captain Kirk, Scotty and Chekov are in attendance for the high profile launch of the Enterprise B.  On the ship’s maiden voyage, it encounters a distress signal from the Laku, a transport ship of refugees.  The rescue effort, however, goes completely awry resulting in Captain Kirk’s death.  Years later, the crew of the Enterprise D is celebrating Worf’s promotion when news arrives both of a personal tragedy for Picard’s family and in the form a distress call from the Amagosa star observatory.  The crew meet Dr. Soran, who was once a refugee on board the Laku.  He’s in league with the Klingon Duras Sisters, stealing trilithium and kidnapping Gordi, all in an effort to return to something called the Nexus.  Picard agrees to a prisoner exchange, but tricks the Klingons and goes after Soran, entering the Nexus himself.  While the Enterprise battles the Duras Sisters, Picard meets up with Kirk, who’s been living inside in perfect fantasy in the Nexus since the launch of the Enterprise B all those years ago.  Together, the captains defeat Soran, but not without a price as Kirk truly dies this time around.  Picard returns to his own reality to find his crew safe, but the Enterprise D destroyed.

I should have known that with Michael Jan Friedman credited for the story adaptation, this would be a great comic.  As I mentioned above, Friedman wrote most of the ST:TNG Volume 2 comics as well as a good number of original Star Trek and ST:TNG novels.  So not only is the characterization spot-on, the plot follows the movie extremely closely with good pacing for a comic adaptation (pacing is one of those things that seems really tricky to nail when adapting a film into a single comic).  The only thing that didn’t quite work story-wise was the subplot of Data getting the emotion chip, and that’s really because so much of what makes that great in the movie is Brent Spiner’s acting, not the script itself.  Plus, a tricorder singing about “lovely little lifeforms” just doesn’t read with the same charm it has onscreen.  Gordon Purcell’s artwork is wonderful.  Everyone looks, not just like the actor that portrays them, but there’s a lot care to capture their facial expressions and mannerisms.  Also, (and I realize that this also has to do with age and changes in the way comics are printed) the colors are really rich.  This comic both does the film justice and is an interesting read on its own.

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Star Trek First Contact # 1   ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $5.95     Marvel     1 of 1

Picard still has nightmares about his time with the Borg, and because of his when they attack Earth, Star Fleet sends the Enterprise E (yes, they got a new ship) to patrol the Neutral Zone instead of into the action.  But when they learn that Star Fleet is losing, Picard disobeys orders takes the Enterprise into the thick of battle.  They’re able to destroy a Borg cube, but not before it launches a smaller sphere ship that creates a temporal vortex that sucks the Enterprise in.  Quickly the crew realize that they’ve been transported back in time, and that the Borg are trying to go back to assimilate Earth before First Contact (the first time humanity used warp engine technology triggers a visit from the Vulcans) and thus change the future.  The Enterprise destroys the sphere, but not before some surviving Borg beam onto the ship and begin assimilating it, including the Borg Queen who takes a special interest in Data.  Meanwhile on the ground, an away team attempt to aid Zefram Cochane and his assistant Lily in succeeding in their destiny of flying the first warp ship thus alerting the Vulcans to the fact that humanity has evolved in its intelligence.

Switching things up a bit, this adaptation was released by Marvel instead of DC.  Luckily, in the same vein as DC’s Generations adaptation, this was written by John Vornholt, who’s written a ton of Star Trek novels so it’s safe to say that like Michael Jan Friendman, he’s well versed in the universe and the characters.  The story fit the film nicely, but for me didn’t have the same impact as the movie.  To be fair, First Contact is by far my favorite ST:TNG movie, and to again draw an X-Files comparison, like Fight the Future, it’s one I still get excited about watching no matter how many times I’ve seen it (and I still get a little teary-eyed when First Contact happens).  So for most people, this comic will absolutely do the job and then some, but I still came away just a little underwhelmed.  The artwork by Terry Pallot and Rod Whigham is good.  Slightly more cartoony than the Generations artwork, but still great for the human characters.  Actually my super minor artwork complaint is more about the space scenes.  In panels where something is happening with the Enterprise, especially when it’s fighting the Borg cube, there are super cartoony sound effect words that for me ruined the mood of what otherwise would be a very dramatic moment.  The overall presentation of the book is nice – it’s thick with a cardstock cover as part of the Star Trek 30th anniversary line of products.  Again, this is certainly worth a read to get a taste of the film and for ST:TNG fans.  Earlier in this update, I showed you the Enterprise D, so check out the Enterprise E below….

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Alas, it’s time for me to set coordinates for another mission and return the helm to Matt for our next update.  We’ll be staying in space (sort of) and in the 90s for his next update, which is also (sort of) holiday themed. While I was crying over Vulcans in First Contact in 1996, earlier that year another space movie was released that also pitted hostile aliens against humanity for the fate of the future.  Since we’re two years too early for X-Files Fight the Fight, I’m obviously talk about Independence Day.  So join us next time as Matt dives into this film, its comic tie-ins and it’s sequel…20 years later.

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When Science Runs Amok! The Strange Case Of The Fly

Dang, Science you’re scary! Welcome to another countdown to Halloween update; this time around we are taking a look at a killer insect that will vomit on you and then eat you alive.  This creature is known as The Fly! Science is all around us and was one of my favorite subjects in school right behind history.  We are going to take a look at when science and horror clash and create an abomination to mankind. On July 23rd 2008, a group of friends were walking along Ditch Plains Beach in New York when they stumbled on the carcass of a deformed animal that had odd color skin, fur and a weird beak-like mouth. Many people thought that the creature was the body of a small dog, sea turtle, rodent or even a raccoon, but many believe that it was a freak of nature, something made at Plum Island, a place that is for science to contain and cure diseases that infect animals and could also infect people. This thing was called The Montauk Monster and made the rounds on all types of news sources making cryptozoology fans go crazy trying to figure out what this thing was! After this, more creatures were found washed up around New York, and the locals began talking about these Horrors of Plum Island! It was even reported that the body of a humanoid man had washed up on the beach and that it was one odd looking person with drill holes in its head and even had extra fingers. No one knows for sure if these creatures are real; only a few claim the story was true, but one thing’s for sure, cryptozoology is one fun thing to be a fan of!

The Montauk Monster

For my update for Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man and Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk, I wrote about horror hosts through the ages and talked about two 50- 60’s horror hosts I would love to see footage of.  One was The Great Zucchini of Supernatural Theatre, played by Bill Miller, and the second was an odd looking host named The Madman who hosted films in Des Moines, Iowa about whom very little is known. The update got some great attention, and I received lots of messages about the horror hosts I wrote about and praise for the quick history lessen on hosting.  A lot of people also commented about the sad passing of Don Paris, the actor who played The Shroud of Nightmare Theatre. But I didn’t get any responses about the two hosts above, and I would like to take a few moments once more to ask my readers for help to track down any footage of these two hosts! I am going to focus on The Madman for this one as he reminds me of a humanoid that could have been found on the Island of Dr. Moreau, and that ties into our subject of science running amuck. I have spent much time on the net using message boards, Facebook and Google to try and find out any information on The Madman and have come up nearly empty handed as all that’s out there is what’s on E-Gor’s Chamber Of Horror Hosts, amounting to very basic and not useful information and one little write up in an issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland that a fan of the show wrote many, many years back. Looking at the only known picture of this host makes me wonder what his style of hosting was like, did he try to scare viewers? Did he fill his show with puns and silly jokes? What did the character’s voice sound like? What was the name of his show? How many years did he last? What was his backstory? Who played him? Did he make public appearances? What station did he air on? So many questions with no answers on this host, and it’s heartbreaking that I may never find any of these answers as The Madman seems like a host that time forgot. The picture of Madman was summited by Don Hinson, who worked for a radio station in California at the time.  He had these words about his favorite host “Among the many Ghost Hosts of Terrorvision Films, such as Zacherley (natcherly), Vampira, ect., one that sticks out in my memory is The Madman of Des Moines, Iowa. I think your readers would appreciate a picture of him.” The issue of Famous Monsters this was in came out in 1960 and was issue # 6. So if you have any info, footage or press pics about The Madman, contact me. I would love to see them and share with my readers. Below is a picture of The Madman and here is hoping that footage will come to the light soon. On a side note, at work we ended up buying a bunch of horror and science fiction films with cut up front covers and some of the titles were good ones like Frankenstein’s Army, Toxic Avenger (Japanese Uncut Version) and Only Lovers Left Alive, to name a few. For some reason I decided to put them in a display box and call them “Madman’s Cheap As-Is DVDs” and used his only image on the sign I made for the box…man, I love the art of horror hosting.

The Mad Man of Des Moines Horror Host

It’s sad and shocking that so many of the world’s horror hosts are forgotten, and their footage and even press photos are just missing, tapped over and lost.  This is something that one day I hope I can help with and make a vault and library that is dedicated to hosts from all over the world to save their episodes and allow fans to relive and discover a horror host of their choosing. But that is just a dream for now as I am sure that I would need lots of help to pull this off and make this dream a reality. It’s time now to move away from horror hosting and take a look at the original Fly movies before we can get into the film series that sparked this comic mini series.

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In the 1950’s, horror films changed from Dracula to atomic age monsters, and in 1958, a movie was made called “The Fly” that was directed by Kurt Neumann and starred the likes of David Hedison, Patricia Owens and Vincent Price and follows a doctor who uses a teleportation device that backfires when a fly enters with him and changes him into a half human and half fly creature.  He must hurry to find a way to cure himself before his mind goes the way of the fly! The film sparked a sequel in 1959 called “Return of The Fly” that follows the original doctor’s son and brother trying to pick up the experiment when once more things go wrong and the son is turned into a Fly monster. In 1965, a third film was made called “Curse of The Fly” that follows yet another son and his sons making the same mistakes that were made in the past. These films are considered a great and fun trilogy of films, and the original is well respected and sparked that dreaded word “Remake.”  But as you soon will see, this time the remake is as good, if not better, than the original! I don’t want to spend too much time on these original films as they are not what this comic series is based on, but out of respect they should be talked about.

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In 1986, David Cronenberg made a remake of The Fly.  It was more terrifying and ramped up the special effects 100% to shock and terrify the viewing audience. The film follows Seth Brundle, a scientist who is trying to impress a sexy journalist named Veronica with his matter transportation experiment that uses pods to transport one thing to another pod.  When he uses it on himself, an accident happens when a fly enters the pod with him and their genes mix, and over time Seth becomes more and more like a human fly! In the end, Seth loses control, becoming a full Fly creature, and is killed before a cure can be found. The film stars Jeff Goldblum as Seth and Geena Davis as Veronica. This film has so much more to it, but I wanted to just whet your appetite because if you have not seen it, you should do so right after reading this update! In 1986, The Fly was # 23 at the US box office and brought in a total of $40,456,565.00 for Fox and beat out such films as Three Amigos, Little Shop Of Horrors, House, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Howard The Duck, Legend, Psycho III, Critters, Labyrinth, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Haunted Honeymoon and Big Trouble In Little China to name a few. While not a mega hit, The Fly remake made a impact on horror fans and showed that remakes could be great if done well.

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Fox couldn’t leave well enough alone, and in 1989 decided to make a sequel to The Fly simply called The Fly II. This film follows Martin, the son of Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaite, who is orphaned after birth.  He was born in a cocoon, which kills his mother who dies of shock. Anton Bartok, the man who financed the experiment that started this mess, decides that he wants to exploit Martin’s odd genes, and this leads to mayhem, backstabbing and murder! During this time Martin falls in love with Beth, and the two find a way to transfer the fly genes into Anton as Martin has become infected and is transforming like his father before him.  This was his only way to become normal. This film has lots more to the plot, but I wanted to sum it up so you at least get the basics. The film stars Eric Stoltz as Martin, Daphne Zuniga as Beth and Lee Richardson as Anton Bartok. In 1989, The Fly II was # 54 at the US Box Office and brought in a total of $20,021,322.00 for Fox beating out such films as Prancer, Shocker, No Holds Barred, Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Great Balls Of Fire, Halloween 5, Cyborg, UHF, Fright Night II, Toxic Avenger Part II and The Wizard, to name a few. This sequel slipped at the boxoffice and was not as well loved by horror fans.

A Fly

W.A.S.P. is a band I have followed for many years. I can remember being so annoyed when I was a teenager and was never able to just go into CD Connection (a one time local music chain) and pick up their new album without having to special order it. Or worse is when I was trying to find some of their older albums on cassette and it was as if none of the CD shops around here knew what band I was talking about.  None of them could get them in stock as they were out of print. But I must say I really loved shopping at CD Connection and almost all the staff knew me and my taste in music. I miss that place, and shopping for music just is not the same as almost all the music stores in Dayton have shut down or only deal in vinyl. W.A.S.P. is a hair metal band from the 80’s who captured my attention when, as a youngster, I got their self-titled album on vinyl form Renaissance Music.  The image on the front cover was of lead singer Blackie Lawless and the band sitting on a set that looked like a hell filled with torture! I popped that vinyl on the turntable and my head was blown by just how amazing the whole record was. I soon bought more of their stuff on vinyl, cassette and CD and also enjoyed them in the low budget film Dungeon Master as well as the song they did for Ghoulies II called “Scream Until You Like It.” W.A.S.P. quickly became on of my favorite bands alongside the likes of Motley Crue, Cinderella, Alice Cooper and Billy Idol. So when I heard they had a new CD coming out in 2015, I knew I had to hear it, as I have been a bad fan as of late and missed getting their last two releases…but I made up for it as I got them all now and decided to listen to them as I write this update!

W.A.S.P. band

So let me take a few moments and tell you about these rock n roll CD’s! First up is the 2007 release called Dominator that was an album based around the raw feelings of tragic events of September 11th and the war in Iraq that followed and shows that Blackie Lawless was watching the events with eyes wide open and wondering why bigger countries bully smaller ones. Tracks I liked off this CD include “Heaven’s Hung In Black,” a nice ballad with some rocking moments that has some powerful lyrics and has an epic W.A.S.P. song feel. Other tracks I really enjoyed were “Teacher” and “Heaven’s Hung In Black (Reprise);” both are at the top of the list of tracks on this release. I really enjoyed this CD as I feel like Blackie Lawless had something to say and he did so the only way he knew how and that’s make a album around his message.  It’s very cool album and was worth the listen and price I had to pay to get it. Next is 2009’s Babylon, a CD that for some reason went out of print pretty fast and by the time I got a copy it was $33.00! It shows if you’re a fan of a band, don’t wait to buy their CD as it could be here today and gone tomorrow when it comes to staying in print! This one was a pretty solid album and had some good tracks that showed Blackie still had some rock to share with listeners and at times it felt like classic W.A.S.P. and that is a great thing! Songs I liked included “Into The Fire,” a ballad of sorts that show cased Blackie’s writing and had a classic sound, and “Live To Die Another Day” is a really good track.  It’s heavy but not over done. On this CD they also cover the Chuck Berry song “Promised Land” and do a good job even if they do poke fun at Elvis at the end. While Babylon is nothing special and is a shadow of the stuff from the 80’s, it’s still a good CD with tracks that are worth rocking out to.  It’s also odd as it clearly shows the start of Blackie looking into religion as many songs are tied into Biblical events. For those who don’t know, he is now a born-again Christian, and that’s funny as this band was one of the most hated by Tipper Gore and her PMRC group who went on a witch hunt against music they felt was not acceptable. So these two were a nice way to wait for W.A.S.P.’s new CD, and once I get it, I will share my thoughts with you my friends and readers.  Until then, put on your favorite rock album and turn it up to 11 and bang your head!

W.A.S.P. Dominator cdW.A.S.P. Babylon CD

I am a huge fan of IDW Comics and have enjoyed many of their horror based comic series like Bigfoot, Motel Hell, Godzilla Legends and IT! Terror From Beyond Space, and I can’t tell you how hyped I was to hear about them making a mini series based on The Fly! So I am really looking forward to reading this series and seeing what they have come up with to continue the story of the Brindle curse and what gross murders will the Fly commit now that budget and special effects are not limited on the comic pages. I need to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics for pulling this series for my file, and I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get our safety goggles on, watch out for fly puke, and see what IDW has in store for us with this horror film inspired series.

The Fly Outbreak 1

The Fly: Outbreak # 1  **
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 1 of 5

Dr. Martin Brundle, the son of Seth Brindle who was transformed into a human fly, is trying his best to cure Anton Bartok, a man who is now a glob of flesh after he was dragged into a Telepod by Martin who, like his father, was cursed with the genes of a fly.  By using Anton to cure himself, Martin left his one time employer a freak of science, but despite all his efforts thus far, he has failed to cure Anton. Martin is still with Beth, but the two are having some issues as Martin refuses to touch his lady without having safe sex.  He does not want to have a child as he fears it will be cursed to have fly symptoms. At the lab Anton turns from a blob of flesh into a full fledged Fly humanoid and kills some workers.  Eventually he comes face to face with Martin and acts as if he is his own son! As Martin tries to get away from The Fly, security shows up, kills The Fly and then informs everyone that they are under quarantine until further notice and that includes Martin!

Sadly, I am not really impressed with this first issue of the comic as I feel that the story is bland and tied so much into The Fly 2 that you would have to know those characters inside and out to keep up with the who’s who and why’s that. That said, the plot of issue one follows Dr. Martin Brundle who is trying to help Anton Bartok be cured of the transformation that he is responsible for.  When Anton turns full fly and runs amuck in the research building, anyone who has made contact with it must be quarantined and that’s where it ends. Dr. Martin Brundle, who is the comic’s main focus, is a man who is plagued with a curse of his father’s past and is fearful of having children as he don’t want them born with traits of a fly. Anton Bartok starts the issue off as a blob of gooey flesh and is later turned into a fly that kills a few people and after his death makes it so all have to be tested for contamination. Beth Logan is Martin’s girlfriend who wants a child and to have affection shown to her, but she also shows understanding to Martin’s odd behavior. The comic has some bloodshed in it as The Bartok Fly pukes on a face of a fellow worker and eats him! But the over all gore in the comic is pretty tame and not nearly as gross as the films it’s based on.  That’s a little of a letdown as I was sure IDW would have delivered the red stuff like they did with Motel Hell. The art in this comic is done by Menton3, and while his humans look like the actors who played them in The Fly II, his fly creature and backgrounds are not very appealing to this comic reader and took me out of the feel of dread that I should have been having while reading. I am really hoping that the second issue gets better and The Fly becomes the terrible puke spewing menace that I was hoping for.

The Fly Outbreak 2

The Fly: Outbreak # 2  **
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 2 of 5

Martin Brundle is in quarantine and is chatting with his wife Beth via a work computer.  As they are talking, he hangs up on her quickly as he is visited by Major Vurvin and Dr. Mayweather, who are checking in on his progress to find a cure or to even see if he has been infected.  He chases them off and says he needs zero interruptions if he is to find a cure. Martin can hear all the people around him blaming him for being stuck with no outside contact to the world, and his only friend is his female lab assistant Noelani who believes that he can find a cure and asks him about the sickness, how it spreads and the symptoms that include being sexually ramped up and anger that is out of control and can be passed via having sex! In this quarantine zone, people are doing just that and some of his co-workers are clearly infected and are being beaten, tazzed and taken away by hazmat suited guards. In the end Martin is talking to Beth who wants to put on a one woman show for him when Noelani enters and tries to rape her boss as she is clearly infected. Martin uses all his wit and knocks her out and tells his wife that he can no longer chat with her as he must now buckle down and find the cure.

Did the second issue get any better?  Sadly, no. I feel that the second issue was slightly boring with very little going on besides Martin telling how the fly infection spreads and the effects it has on a person.  And he spends a lot of time chatting via webcam with his wife, Beth. The thin plot of this issue has Martin in quarantine working on a cure if any of them are infected.  His one time co-workers are super pissed off at him, and his assistant tries to rape him when her feelings and emotions are ramped up because she’s infected.  After beating her down, he tells his wife they can’t chat anymore because he needs to get cracking on the cure. The only action that happens in this issue is when a security guard who’s infected goes nuts and tries to smash Martin with a row of cafeteria tables, and for this violent outburst he is shocked with a tazer. This issue is bloodless and has really no thrills, chills or spills and for the most part, a pretty boring fill-in style issue. No blood and or Fly attacks are to be seen. In this issue, Martin seems like a blank emotionless slate who is cold and uncaring towards all the people his own mistake has infected and made it so they cannot speak to their own families as he sneaks and does so.  In other words, he’s kind of a jerk. Beth still loves her cold husband and for some reason is so sexually ramped up, even wanting to video chat while she puts on a show for him, that it makes you wonder if she is infected with the fly genes.  In fact, why are they turning her into a woman whose main thought is sex? Noelani is a good character who is loyal to her boss, even if he is the one who started the whole mess at the lab, but sadly in this issue they had to also turn her into a sex crazed infected freak who loves Martin. I just don’t get it; almost every female in this series is drooling over Martin! While I am sure that this issue was just a fill-in issue to build up the story, it just lacks anything interesting to make me really excited to see how it all plays out and drags a series that already I was lukewarm about even further down the must read list. Menton3 is once more doing the art, and once more his style is bland and lackluster with some of the humans looking good and his background weak and blank feeling. I can say that I am really not a fan of his art! So to sum it up, this issue is such a throwaway and forgettable so let’s waste no more time on it and move on to issue three.

The Fly Outbreak 3

The Fly: Outbreak # 3  *1/2
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 3 of 5

Martin is hard at work to try and find a cure for all his co-workers that he infected, and with the help of some medication, he is able to bring his assistant Noelani back to semi-normal. Days pass and increasingly the infected start to mutate and become more fly-like. The army is mad at Martin, and they view him as a mad scientist and a failure at life in general as his cure does not work and his research to find one is filled with impossible solutions and dead end trails. The army and fellow scientist, who wear hazmat suits, all begin to turn on Martin as they feel he has not come up with a cure itself nor a logical way to cure the people who are infected. By the end Noelani as well as all the others who are infected turn into full fledged fly monsters and attack the army, and Beth comes to the aid of Martin as she has been watching the building waiting to chat with her husband. The Fly Monsters are loose and heading away from the building as Martin and Beth look on scared and powerless.

Just when I thought this series could not get any worse, this third and boring issue proves me wrong! This issue’s plot follows Martin as he fails at finding a cure for people he has infected, all the while talking to himself like a mad man, coming up with boneheaded ideas and feeling sorry for himself. Martin is just not a likable character, and by this point in the series, I want to see bad things happen to him, but somehow he comes out injury free as many others die and transform…while he cries…I really dislike this character. Noelani, who comes back to normal for a short time, sadly by the end of the issue turns into a fly, and here is hoping she will target Martin and eat his face off by the last issue. For some reason by the end of this issue Beth has broken into the quarantine area with a giant gun and is there to rescue her husband.  Why is she Rambo all of a sudden? The army looks at Martin as a screw up and points out that he and his father have killed many innocent people by doing experiments that were not safely tested.  And that sums up Martin, a spoiled brat who wants to play scientist. This issue also has no bloodshed and by all accounts is pretty boring and only acts as mostly filer until the Flys break free at the very end. There’s not much more to say besides this issue is the worst so far, and besides Menton3’s artwork once more being bland, this issue’s write up is over.  Let’s move onto issue 4 and hope this series picks up!

The Fly Outbreak 4

The Fly: Outbreak # 4  **1/2
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 4 of 5

Beth and Martin are trying to escape the island as human flies and the army are at war, killing each other.  Beth even has to take a human fly life to prevent it from stealing their only escape a boat. Martin tells Beth that he cannot leave and has to stay behind to see if he can find a cure and stop all the killings.  She of course is not going to leave and is willing to help if she can. As the couple discuss what they are going to do, Noelani as a fly dressed as a solider appears and begs Martin to let her go or cure her and threatens both he and Beth with torture and murder. Finally Martin gives in and decides the only answer is for he and Noelani to use the pods so his human genes can transfer into her and cure her of this curse. Beth tries to rush the now human Noelani out of the room as Martin now emerges as The Fly!

Finally by the fourth issue, the series has a pretty good one that has 0% Horror, 1% action and the other 99% is drama, but weirdly, it works. The story of this issue has Beth and Martin coming to terms with how weird their relationship is and even if they don’t spend a bunch of time together, it works for them as they truly do love each other.  It then switches to Martin giving away his humanity to save his assistant Noelani’s life as he turns her human and he once more becomes the thing he fears worst, The Fly. The more I look at Martin and his Fly alter ego, I am starting to see a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde connection as the human side’s main fear is the monster it turns into. While Martin is still whiney, in this issue he does take a stand and puts others’ wellbeing before himself and that to me is a big step for the character as I felt he has been a selfish a-hole this far in this series. Beth, who is a loving woman, for some reason turns into Chuck Norris and is ready to kill human flies! Noelani, who turns into a fly, wants to become human again and points out just how lame and selfish Martin is.  This speech as well as a gun is what forces Martin to use himself to save her from a fly fate. While this issue is better than the others so far, it’s still by no means a great issue but does show that this series has the potential of being a good horror comic and could end on a high note with an amazing blow out in the final issue. The art is once more done by Menton3 and looks the same as always with his style being pretty to look at but not working for the nature of this series as his flies even look more alien-like and not housefly-like. Over all this is an okay issue, and I must say I am really happy we are at the final issue of this disappointing series.

The Fly Outbreak 5

The Fly: Outbreak # 5  **
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 5 of 5

The Fly Martin emerges and is very pissed off at Noelani for threatening Beth earlier and lets her know it, as he is about to kill her.  He snaps back to reality and goes outside and kills human and Fly spawn alike and returns with a plan to transform Beth into the Queen to his lord of the Flies. Beth tricks and locks Martin Fly in a pod and tries to sacrifice herself to save him life and turns into a Fly Goddess.  She is in turn shot in the head and killed by Noelani who enters the pod with Martin, who is back to being a man and tells her she is going to do great things. Flash forward a few years, Noelani is a head scientist now and it’s shown she in secret is keeping Martin Fly alive and well.

The first thing that came to mind when I finished this issue was “I waited five issues for this ending?!” It seemed like a rushed mess with a ho hum closing that was not a shocker nor entertaining.  What should have been an epic Fly moment turns into something bland and boring. The issue’s plot can be summed up like this: Martin as the fly goes and kills, comes back is tricked.  His girl Beth uses herself to try and cure him and dies.  He turns human kind of, and Noelani becomes a big deal in the world of science in the end. It was such a major letdown because when I heard about this series, I was so hyped as I love comic connected to horror films and also love the work IDW has done with similar titles like Motel Hell, IT! Terror From Beyond Space and Godzilla.  While those were good and had a charm to them, this one sadly didn’t and was a very slow and boring series. Martin Brundle for the most part is not a likable character as his self-centered and ego driven attitude makes him come off as a jerk and for the most part his needs and wants outweigh the good of others till the end. As The Fly, he seems to at least have a more level head.  Even when he is killing man and fellow flies, he seems more in touch with the situation. Throughout the series, Beth goes from loving horny spouse to a Rambo gun-caring tough girl, all the way to a Fly Goddess, and with all these changes I think she is one of my favorite characters as she grows and does everything for love. Noelani is pretty cool and does her best to try and stay positive even when her boss is the jackass who infected her and co-workers by being careless. In the end Noelani is also the only one who gets a happy ending as she goes on to be a successful scientist. Anton Bartok starts off as a glob of flesh and grows into a fly and is the start of the sickness as his blood and vomit is what infects everyone.  It’s funny that in the films he was a terrible person and even in this comic series he’s just as bad, even as a mutated freak he still causes issues. The artwork for the whole series was done by Menton3, and while it would be pretty to look at if it was just a single piece of art, as a comic it’s bland and not fitting for a series based on a sci-fi film that’s special effects were a major draw.  I mean The Fly in the film is scary and well detailed…in the comic, not so much, as it looks as generic and bland as possible. To sum up this series, I would have to say that I was really disappointed in it from story to art and while it was bad, I still enjoyed reading it and hoping that it would get better or at least have some wicked Fly kills…that’s another thing it lacked is blood and gore. While it had some, it was far and few. Check out this art from the series that shows what The Flies look like, and see if you agree that it looks more like an alien than the sci-fi icon the comic’s based on.

The Fly Outbreak art 1

While The Fly: Outbreak might not have been my cup of tea, it’s still very cool to see IDW take a chance with a mini series like this, and I hope they do more classic horror and science fiction comic crossovers in the future as films like It Follows and The Town That Dreaded Sundown are just waiting to have mini series based around them. Our next update gets us a step closer to October and even closer to our big Halloween update that should be a custom comic made by my friend Eric Shonborn just for Rotten Ink! But before we get into all that, our next update will trade in the giant Martin Fly for an unknown real life serial killer known as The Axeman of New Orleans.  So make sure to come back for that one. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a classic sci-fi film or two, and as always, support your local horror host.

The Axeman Of New Orleans logo