Saturday, June 16, 2012


It should go without saying, but interesting characters are the key. The best TV shows (BSG, The Wire, The Shield) knew how to do great character work. It's not just giving your main characters progressive arcs, but it's also building an interesting supporting cast. That's often where Trek has fallen short. They've favored huge regular casts where almost none of the characters get real depth (Enterprise and Voyager, I'm looking at you), they lacked good supporting characters (TNG and Original series), or both (Voyager).

Trek creator Gene Roddenberry allegedly was pretty picky about which flaws and foibles his heroes could show, given that the Federation is pretty much a utopia. Captain Picard said that humanity has moved beyond greed and is pretty much interested only in enlightened pursuits, like charting gas giants and using the Holodeck to recreate 17th century sailing ships. The trick is to strike a balance. Humanity as a whole should be doing much better than us, with poverty and racism pretty much wiped out by the 23rd century, much less the 24th and 25th. But individual humans should still have their flaws.

But humanity's just the beginning. Since Mr. Spock, we've had aliens as main characters. Most of the series have been human heavy, with a couple of non-human regulars (who often look human, IE, the EMH on Voyager and Troi on TNG) sprinkled in. I say, f that noise. Build on the various aliens we've seen. Why not have an Andorian Captain? A Vulcan who doesn't share the same Vulcan mono-culture that we've seen in 5 series and 11 movies? Aliens who, by virtue of living in the Federation, aren't all that alien?

So here's what I picture. 5 or so regular cast members. A BUNCH of supporting characters that pop up in a goodly number of episodes, but not all the time. If you have a story to tell with them, great, use them in as many episodes as you want. If you don't have any thing to do with them, just don't use them for a while. Instead of having filler episodes where we watch Geordi try to fuck a hologram, maybe just let him sit out this week, and have LeVar shoot an extra episode or two of Reading Rainbow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Idea #1 - setting

Casual Trek fans may not know this, but as we true disciples of Trekdom can tell you, there are multiple eras and locations where Trek has taken place. The Kirk/Spock stories are set in the 23rd century, Next Gen and DS9 are in the 24th century Alpha Quadrant (mostly) and Voyager was in the 24th century, but in the Delta Quadrant (mostly). That's without getting to the prequel Enterprise series, which was set in the 22nd century, and the currently-being-made J.J. Abrams films, which are set in the 23rd century, but in an alternate reality, allowing Kirk and Spock's lives to unfold differently from what we saw in the 60's tv show. So with all those options, when and where should a proposed Trek series take place?

The answer, is of course, none of the above. We should break new ground. The 23rd century is well covered, the 24th century even more so. And we should give wide berth to the 23rd era Abrams Trek, which is ongoing. The 22nd century has some wiggle room, but I think it's limiting to go backwards.

Thusly (definitely a word), I propose that the next Trek series take place in the early 25th century. It's far enough that we get a clean break and don't have to follow up on plotlines from TNG/DS9/VOY, but not so far as to make the future unrecognizable. We can keep the same societies, but see how they've changed. We can use new characters, but occasionally see what older ones are up to. Hint: Picard is definitely head of the Federation Diplomatic Corps.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Star Trek Idea Blog

So, in light of the fact that this blog has been neglected worse than America's need for renewable energy sources, I'm going to be shifting formats. I did all my reviews of the new 52, though my drunken layabout cousin didn't do his. If you don't like that he didn't hold up his end of the bargain, contact him at, he responds pretty promptly and he loves threats.

The new format? In thoughtful discussions bursts of nerdy gchats with my friend Mike (who has an awesome site call, we realized that we were both hungry for a new Star Trek series. The JJ Abrams Trek series is excellent, but Trek started on TV, and surely there's room for both film and TV trek to coexist. The only problem is that I don't own my own Hollywood studio, and I'm not independently wealthy. Okay, I am independently wealthy, but my investments are all tied up in my alpaca farm, Zach's Famous Alpacas. Please note that my alpacas are famous for their quality, they are not famous in the sense of being celebrities. I do not have Christian Bale-ish alpacas or anything.

But yeah, so in light of not having the liquid capital to finance my own new Trek series, I'm going to post ideas about what I'd like to see, what i think would work, what to avoid, in a new Trek series.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Superman #1

Since Action Comics #1 is set in Superman's past, Superman #1 represents our first look at the character's new status quo. Parents say that the first time they lay eyes on their newborn children, they instantly love them. Hopefully writer George Perez and artist Jesus Marino feel that way about their little labor of love. Cause to the rest of us, this is just an ugly, unimportant mess that I wish was actually covered in afterbirth, so I'd have an excuse to not read it.

I wish I could say this was a basic Superman story. Clark pines for Lois, there's a couple scenes at the Daily Planet, Superman fights a big monster, etc. I mean, all that stuff is there, and if that's all this comic was, it'd merely be bland instead of horrible. Ah, the new DC, where bland would be a pleasant surprise. But I suppose horrible is pretty much pre-destined when you take a comic where an artist (Perez) handles the script and an inker (Merino) pencils the damn thing. What does DC have against letting people do the jobs they're good at? DC comics was a hospital, they'd have doctors waxing the floors and janitors giving gynecological exams. Hmmm...note to self, get DC Comics to buy a hospital, apply for job as janitor.

Anyways, Perez sucks as a writer. He uses flashbacks and voiceover narration to tell a story about how the Daily Planet was bought out by a media company. This is the first frigging issue, why not just start the story there? But Perez's writing sins are not forgiven just yet. He uses an article about Clark Kent as a framing device for the issue. Clark's supposed to be a pretty good writer, what with the winning prizes, working for a major paper and having a novel published. So why is Clark busting out prose like "Superman assumed that the thieves were not from Metropolis. No local criminals would dare do this. Not in Metrpolis. Not on Superman's turf." Jesus. It's like Superman doesn't even give a shit about pretending that he's not Clark Kent. He might as well have typed "Hey, Superman's well-hung and handsome and he's me."

The art side of things isn't quite as bad. Merino used to ink an artist named Carlos Pacheco, who is legit awesome. When he signed with Marvel comics, someone at DC (presumably someone with macular degeneration) decided that Merino was ready to fly solo. Merino's art is super-wrinkled looking, like everything on the page is in need of a good ironing board. He also draws Superman looking like Harry Potter. Which I, as a Potter fan, am all about. But presumably there are people out there that don't want Clark Kent to look like the Boy Who Lived.

Buy Again: Yeah, as long as they replace all the talent, concepts, and editors involved, I'm in.

New Reader Friendly: No, Perez's weird techniques made this comic not at all new reader friendly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

As I mentioned, the Green Lantern books have been mostly spared from the reboots and re-imaginings that the rest of the DC lineup got. Hell, most of the Lanterns didn't even get the eye-cancer-inducing new outfits that every other superhero got. So this book, featuring Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, picks up in the middle of everything that was going on last month. Which is good news if you like having 6 other types of Lantern Corps, each with their own color and emotion. But it's bad news if you don't like ideas that Geoff Johns came up with after losing a bet or after he realized he needed royalties from more GL-related books to pay off his coke dealer or whatever the situation may be.

The GL books, when done right, should be a good blend of sci-fi, superheroes, and police procedural. Writer Tony Bedard has a couple of really great science fiction comics, some of them even at DC, using superheroes, so he really has no excuse for not writing a great comic. What we got instead was an okay comic with some real structural flaws. Simple stuff like, indicating that a flashback is indeed a flashback, doesn't get done. There's a retard-tacular scene where our hero explains to a little kid that he's not the Hal Jordan Green Lantern. A) Why would this kid care B) Why would Kyle bother explaining anything? C) Why even make the comparison between the two GLs? Let each GL shine in their own book.

Tyler Kirkham's pencils are pretty good. The color work, which is pretty important in any book called GREEN Lantern, is mostly solid. It is weird that he colors Kyle's hair, which should be black, as gray. Is Kyle now a silver fox, in the grand tradition of George Clooney and Anderson Cooper? Here's hoping.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Batman: The Dark Knight #1

"Fear is a cannibal that feeds upon itself. It lives in every dark shadow -- waits around every corner. It can be in two places at once...on the path ahead, yet somehow always behind you. Fear hides in every decision, questioning your every move. And it's your fault. You're the one who gives it life. You are the parent of your own fear."

Deep thoughts, courtesy of Batman's narration boxes. Those poetic and mind-blowing ruminations, combined with images of Batman jumping out of an airplane, make up the first three pages of this comic. Out of a total of twenty pages. I get that David Finch is both drawing and plotting this comic. I know that artists-as-writers are a mixed bag at best. But he has a co-writer and editors here. How the fuck did someone not point out that he was wasting 15% of the first issue on total fucking filler bullshit?

So a couple pages later, we see Bruce Wayne making a speech to some rich assholes, using that same text from before. Doesn't anyone wonder why a goddamn CEO is lecturing them about fear. At the reception following the speech, a Gotham City cop confronts Bruce about his financing of Batman. The cop insists that Bruce MUST have an ally in the department that helps facilitate all this. Hey, Lieutenant fuckface, look for the cop who shines a giant frigging bat-shaped spotlight in the sky. Jesus, this guy won't be getting promoted soon.

Following that dramatic/developmentally disabled scene. Batman goes to stop a breakout at Arkham Asylum. What's that you say, last week's issue of "Batman"featured that exact same plot? That can't be correct, let me double-check. Oh wait, it did. Again, Finch and his co-writer may've crafted a story we've seen a million times, but they're just freelancers. There are editors whose fucking job is to make sure dumb shit like this isn't happening. I've seen better structure and leadership at Libertarian relay races.

But the homage to bad writing doesn't stop there. The last page is Batman confronting a gigantic and musclebound Two-Face. Two-Face tells Batman "You can call me One-Face now." Now, it's possible I suffered a debilitating stroke while reading this comic. But unless that happened, it looks to me like Two-Face still has two fucking faces.

Buy Again: No, "fear is questioning my every move", and I fear I can't buy a comic this bad again.

New Reader Friendly: Well enough, it requires only basic bat-knowledge going in.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Voodoo #1

I'm gonna put this out there right at the start: If you want to see an alien/monster/demon stripper murder an FBI agent in the middle of a lap dance, you'll be pleased with Voodoo #1. If that's not your particular fetish, better luck next time.

This part would usually have a summary, but that first sentence really covers everything.

So, jumping ahead. Writer Ron Marz has, up to this point, made somewhat of a career making scantily-clad-female-lead cheesecake comics into stories that actually have some content in them. He's written dozens and dozens of issues of Witchblade over at Top Cow. This be Witchblade:
So, as you can see, alien stripper monster should be totally in his wheelhouse. And to Marz's credit, he tries to elevate the material. He tries to give the characters some depth, and does attempt to justify Voodoo (that'd be the demon dancer) a reason for working at a gentlemen's club. But it doesn't work. The art is good, as Sam Basri's previous assignment was Power Girl, so it's safe to assume he can draw some boobies. His art's wasted on a pointless comic, but it is pretty.

Buy again: Nah

New reader friendly: Friendly enough, Marz gets how to craft an intact comic, but there's just no real quality material to be found