Some crossover ideas just don’t work even when you hear them. Like combining Final Fantasy with random Disney worlds or having The Looney Tunes, Muppet Babies, Ninja Turtles, Smurfs, Winnie The Poo, Chipmunks, Garfield and Alf all combine forces to talk about Marijuana or having Archie meet the Ninja Turtles. On the surface, this seems slightly better than those but not like something that could work well. I love Star Trek: Next Gen and I have a great fondness for the X-men. The book was brilliant for that decade when Chris Claremont was writing it. However, they just don’t seem like they’d mesh well. But let’s take a look, maybe it’s better than it sounds.
We open with the Enterprise crew returning to their time after the events of First Contact. But something goes askew and they end up in the past. They detect Shi’ar technology and realise that, not only shouldn’t it be there, but it’s their only hope of repairing their ship and returning home. This leads them to the X-men who happen to recognise the Enterprise name from that time they met the original series crew.
The two groups are approached by Kang who warns them that there are anomalies thanks to the Enterprise crossing over from another time and universe. They decide that even though he’s known to be evil, they can’t take the risk and set out to fix things.
Therein lies the first big problem with this crossover, Kang is lying. Yeah, that’s perfectly in keeping with his character but the Enterprise crew has Counsellor Deanna Troi on it. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Next Gen, Counsellor Troi is half Betazoid. They’re an alien species that can read the minds of most species. As a half blood, she can’t read minds properly but she is an empath and she can sense things like, say, when someone’s deceiving her. There are several episodes where that comes up as an important plot point and she should sense immediately that Kang is lying to them but she doesn’t cause the whole plot of them travelling to Wolf 359 from Star Trek and the X-men’s Days of the Future Past wouldn’t happen if her abilities were working as they should. Shadowcat gets the same kind of treatment. At one point she phases through a Sentinel and they forget that she short-circuits machinery when she phases through it.
Another issue is just that the whole situation is a bit boring. They meet, decide to work together, fight some threats that should be kind of menacing but come across as kind of weak given how easily they’re dispatched. It all comes across as more than a little rushed. Although I will give them some credit for trying to give both teams equal time in the spotlight.
Both of these casts should be great, in theory. Unfortunately, the writing from Abnett and Edgington doesn’t do them justice. They come across as pretty bland. And some characters, like Angel, don’t get to do or say anything. I’m not even kidding. Angel is there, but he seems to spend all his time in the background just standing around. I don’t recall him even getting a line of dialogue. Doctor Crusher doesn’t fare much better. They also don’t do much with the characters interacting. They go on missions together, sure, but they don’t talk much beyond very strict, business stuff. If I were someone who really wanted to read this crossover thinking it might be good, I would be very disappointed.
The artwork has its moments. The characters in general look decent enough. As do the backgrounds and action sequences. One issue with it is that the dialogue balloon placement isn’t the best and it can be challenging to figure out who’s supposed to be talking in large group shots. Maybe that’s where all of Angel’s dialogue is. There’s also a big artwork fail in a panel with Banshee and Commander Riker. To put it simply, they’re exchanging some dialogue while Banshee is clearly using his powers. For those who don’t know, Banshee’s power is a sonic scream. He literally can’t use it and talk at the same time. It would be like Cyclops shooting his optic blasts while reading.
Areas of Improvement:
This one is going to be a challenge, because I honestly don’t know how to make this a good crossover using what’s presented as a base. If I was writing something completely on my own, maybe I could manage it. So, I’ll kind of have to settle for suggestions that might have made it somewhat passable.
- Reworking Kang’s Villainy. Honestly, I would have him use a combined force of Sentinels and Borg drones to steal the Shi’ar tech. You could keep the same villains, give both teams a reason to go after him and you wouldn’t need to drag a bunch of extra characters in just so they could have a cameo.
- Let the Teams Chat. This comic could be way more interesting if the X-men and Enterprise crew had some real banter. Wolverine and Worf could talk about what it means to be a warrior. Storm and Captain Picard could talk about what his future’s stance on mutants might be. Shadowcat could talk tech with Geordi, or at least try to because I doubt he’d give her any real information even though she’s an enthusiastic nerd when it comes to technology. Having more banter would really liven the story up.
- Give Angel and Doctor Crusher something to do. Seriously, if you’re going to be bothered putting them in, let them do something.
Second Contact isn’t dreadful. It has pretty decent art, mostly. And there’s clearly effort put into making it an equal crossover. Unfortunately, the details are off, which puts in some pretty significant plot holes. The teams have weak interactions which, in turn, makes the characterisation come across as weak. But hey, maybe the actual novel they advertise at the end as a continuation is better. This comic is pretty bad though. I give it a 3/10.