15 September 2011

"Star Trek: Infestation" #1-2 by Scott Tipton & David Tipton

Issue #1, cover A
Star Trek: Infestation #1-2
Written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton
Pencil Finishes and Inks by Gary Erskine
Pencil Layouts by Casey Maloney
Colors by Luis Antonio Delgado
Lettered by Chris Mowry
Edited by Tom Waltz
Assistant Editor: Bobby Curnow

Cover A
Art by John K. Snyder, III
Colors by Jason Wright

Issue #1 Published 9 February 2011
Issue #2 Published 23 February 2011
$3.99 cover price, 32 pages (each  issue)

Star Trek with zombies?  Hell, yeah, I wanted to read this!  Had this been any of the other Trek series, I would have rejected it out of hand, but there's something about the original series that makes something like this seem reasonable.  One of my favorite original series stories was actually a paperback called Bloodthirst, written by J.M. Dillard in which the Enterprise unwittingly takes on a vampire.  The highlight of the entire thing was when Chekov gloomily says to Sulu, "Starfleet Security can do nothing about...wampires."  Seriously, someone should make a time machine just to go back to the 1960s and get that book made as an episode.
One of the few Trekpaperbacks I recommend.
Anyway, Infestation was a crossover mini-series IDW ran in the Spring that connected Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe, Transformers and Star Trek as they all had to contend with the spread of a zombie contagion.  Don't fret; despite each series combating the same nemesis, there's no co-mingling of universes.  You don't have to endure seeing Peter Venkmen riding around inside Optimus Prime or anything on that level of fan fiction.  In fact, you're free to disregard any and all parts of Infestation that don't appeal to you.  I wanted to buy these two issues in February when they went on sale, but I missed 'em and they were long gone by the time I got to The Great Escape.  Lo and behold, however, they surfaced at Half Price Books recently on a night I had taken in two boxes of books and with my store credit I indulged myself.  Take a look at those covers; how could I not?  (Plus, they were priced at $2.00 apiece, a 50% markdown from cover price!)

Allow me to say first and foremost that those covers were deceptive and IDW ought to be ashamed of themselves.  Those covers clearly depict the original characters as they appeared in the iconic TV series.  My mind was all a-tingle with the prospect of a group of ill-fated red shirts being overrun by zombies.  Yet, when I opened issue #1 I discovered that this little story takes place after Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Admiral Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy are arriving at a planet for McCoy to receive some kind of medal, and they're quickly welcomed by a mob of zombies.  Quickly enough, they discover that the cause can be transmitted through bites as three security officers go down in succession.  Outnumbered by zombies and on the run for safe ground, the classic triumvirate eventually do what they do best: save the day.

I would love to know whose bright idea it was to choose this specific era for the story.  The Motion Picture uniforms aren't terribly interesting, and in any event, the aesthetic of the TV series would have been much better suited for this little one-off zombie story.  Still, I tip my hat to artists Casey Maloney, Gary Erskine and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado: just about every panel looks terrific.  The likenesses to William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley are spot-on, the lines are clean without being too simplistic and it's easy to follow everything that's happening.  It's a shame these talented guys weren't given the chance to depict the old school uniforms and younger Shatner, and yes, I intend to gripe about this any chance I get until I die.

The story itself was fairly straightforward.  I thought issue #1 was stronger, largely because it got down to business quickly--we see our first zombie on page 5, and it's pure action from then on.  Not much in the way of story content, but that's okay.  I like seeing Kirk, Spock and Bones bicker while being pursued by a mob of zombies.  It's what I expected when I bought the issue.  The dialog was fairly well written, though there were more than a few instances of quoting or paraphrasing cliches that I found a little uninspired.  For the most part, however, it was pretty easy to hear Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley narrating their characters' lines and that's always a good thing in licensed comic book.

The second half (issue #2) was a bit disappointing, I have to say.  Our intrepid trio run into a sentient robot who explains that a woman calling herself "Britt" arrived on the planet some time ago and manipulated a cybernetic developer into experimenting with combining human DNA with robots.  This is just a ruse to introduce the zombie contagion to the population of the planet to thereby establish a zombie army to serve "Britt."  Ostensibly, her motivations and objectives are spelled out in the bookend issues, Infestation #1 and #2 but there's no more explained in these two issues than what I just conveyed.  It feels more rushed than the first half, and the conclusion is entirely too neat and obvious--though I might have cut it more slack if it had been set during the original five year mission (I told you I wasn't going to give up on this).

I'd give issue #1 four stars out of five, and issue #2 three stars.  It's a fun little diversion, and frankly I think it could have benefited from a third issue--though, again, I haven't read the bookend issues so maybe they satisfactorily address my concerns.  I think I would have been harsher toward these two issues if I had paid cover price; there's just no way I could have felt this was an $8 story but in fairness, I'm an older reader and I have a hard time with the psychological barrier of $3.99 for a standard format issue.

No comments:

Post a Comment