Sunday, May 29, 2016

Star Trek The Next Generation #36 - Comics From The Basement



Hello Dwellers and Welcome To Comics From The Basement…

Comic Books that act as an expanded universe for a franchise seen only on TV, Video Games or Movies are pretty cool in my book.

They get to either bring back characters and concepts that were one and done, which provides familiarity and acts like a gateway to get non-comic readers a reason to pick up a comic. Which is the case of this weeks comic: Star Trek The Next Generation #36…

And yeah, I’ve had this copy for years since I don’t have the back cover any more and am Iucky to still have the front cover.

But as you can tell from the cover, it features the return of Ardra.

For those of you who may not know: Ardra was the antagonist in the season four episode, ‘Devil’s Due’, where the Enterprise-D responds to a distress call from a planet that was being tormented by a person claiming to be their Devil. Ardra in actuality is a con-woman who uses her knowledge of the planet’s culture along with devices like transporters, holograms and tractor beams to appear and disappear, transform and cause earthquakes. The episode ends with Picard exposing her fraud, and ending with her proclaiming, that Picard would have had a lot more fun if he’d lost and ‘until we meet again’… leaving the possibility of a sequel… which we never got on the show.


Still the episode itself was pretty decent and certainly put a spin on the ‘Enterprise faces a god-like creature’ trope, and since DC comics had the rights to the comics, they took advantage, publishing Ardra’s return just over a year and a half after ‘Devil’s Due’ first aired.

Which brings us full circle back to this comic, The Enterprise has arrived the planet Shanzibar against Picard’s better judgment… because he’s going on Shore Leave… and our dear Captain hates going on vacation. I guess even in the 24th Century luggage can still get lost. Actually it’s because the planet’s main city (named Sahnzibar City… great imagination there), has a great reputation for being a vacation spot, but is also know as being extremely dangerous.

To add to Picard’s dismay, Ardra’s ship is in orbit. Concluding that she escaped from the planet she was tormenting, Picard leads a team down to the planet, consisting of Deanna Troi, Geordi La Forge and Ro Laren, who has been to the planet before. Taking a break to also relax, they stop inside a theater where   a bar brawl breaks out because one of the locals doesn’t take to kindly to comments made by Ro, which sees the team being arrested and put in a jail cell where Ardra is also residing.

This comic is a nice bit of fun,  since this is well into DC’s run with the Star Trek license the art work is faithful, so everyone mostly looks like how they should, there are a few hiccups. The story itself is actually part 1 of 3, and it does everything right, it gives the reason for the characters to be where they are, reminding the reader of Ardra by explaining her history, and also ending on a cliff-hanger that sees her in the same situation as our heroes. Also because it is part of a then monthly-series, it references recent events where Q turned everyone on the ship into Klingons, making you want to find out what happened there

A big thing to note is that while the cover has Picard in his uniform and Ardra wearing an outfit similar to what she wore in Devil’s Due, in the story it self, they are dressed in local attire, looking something like out of Arabian Knights.

So what is the verdict here?

Well considering it serves as a follow up to an actual episode, it sets up everything nicely so that when you get to the meat of the story in the second chapter, everything makes sense. It hits the notes it needs to and hits them well.

So I saw this, if you’re a Star Trek fan and don’t have it, track it down. And there are a number of different ways to do so. One, is to track down the Star Trek: The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD-ROM, and the other is check sites like MyComicShop.com

Next week, we won’t be going over part two of this story, we’ll save that for down the road (Give you some time to track down this week’s comic!) instead… I think perhaps something involving a Hedgehog in red sneakers…

Till then!

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