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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
In the mid-1990s, Marvel Comics got the license to produce Star Trek comics. The inaugural project of this venture was a crossover between the original series and the X-Men. Two more crossovers followed. With the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past coming out, I thought it would be fun to look at each of these Star Trek/X-Men adventures.
The first, written by then X-Men scribe Scott Lobdell, featured the X-Men (mostly comprised of the group as seen on the then-popular cartoon) sneaking onboard the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain Kirk. Apparently, they crossed over into the Star Trek universe while trying to track down an enemy, Proteus. Turns out that Proteus merged his consciousness with Gary Mitchell (from “Where No Man Has Gone Before”). Together they plan to rule the galaxy with the help of the Shi’ar Empire (who also crossed over with the X-Men). Now, the crew of the Enterprise and the X-Men must team up to defeat this threat.
This special gets a lot of grief today – much of which is uncalled for. Yes, it’s silly and kind of dumb, but it never takes itself all that seriously. That’s where the charm is. The story is simple, but works rather well and it integrates the two worlds of Star Trek and the X-Men together well enough. It is more about seeing these two groups of people interact than anything else. Lobdell didn’t over-reach with his story, and the comic is better for it. I remember reading this when I was a kid and loving every minute of it.
You could tell that the book was considered a big thing when it was released given the number of artists asked to contribute to the project, several pin-ups/promotional pieces, and the lack of outside ads. In fact, the only advertising featured were previews of the upcoming Star Trek comics Marvel was making.
It is perplexing how online reviews sort of bash this crossover when we get as silly (and over-long) Star Trek comic crossovers today (Dr. Who; Legion of Superheroes) and fans gush over it. I don’t know. Maybe it is symptom of the Marvel-bashing (popular in the 1990s) or just 1990s comics basing in general. I guess it doesn’t make much of a difference today. I liked it, and it is good for what it is.
If you are a Star Trek and X-Men fan, this should be required reading. It is a curious comic with some really cool and some so-dumb-its-awesome moments (Gladiator literally punches the Enterprise). In the end, it’s fun – and that’s what a thing like this should be.