Strange New Worlds: 7 times Star Trek met other franchises in comic books

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Apr 6, 2016, 1:17 PM EDT

If you’ve ever wondered what the Doctor might say to Captain Picard or how the crew of the Enterprise would handle arriving at the Planet of the Apes or what would happen if the worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars ever met, then thanks to comic books, you can at least experience the answer to two of those!

While Han Solo and Captain Kirk have yet to cross paths in a comic book, from the ‘90s to the present day Star Trek comics have spun adventures featuring our intrepid crews meeting entirely different franchises that include superheroes and a certain Time Lord. Sometimes these crossovers give us a thrilling, if odd, story, while other times they stumble quite a bit along the way. Here’s a closer look at seven Star Trek crossover comics.

1. Star Trek/X-Men (1996)


This single-issue adventure starts with the original series Enterprise investigating an anomaly that turns out to be a psionic rift. Through the rift, two ships appear and one explodes, while aboard the other is Deathbird. It turns out the X-Men were on the ship that was destroyed, but made it over to the Enterprise just in time. As Storm and Beast search for medical help for Gambit, Cyclops, Wolverine, Phoenix, and Bishop head over to steal a shuttlecraft, only to encounter Spock, who sensed Phoenix’s abilities. As the Enterprise crew meets the X-Men, it leads to some hilarious moments as Bones finds the mutants in his sickbay and he and Beast both answer to Dr. McCoy while Spock uses the Vulcan nerve pinch on Wolverine! Ultimately, they must work together to stop Deathbird and Proteus, who has taken over the body of Gary Mitchell.

The comic is ridiculous, but also quite entertaining. There are some fun moments as the characters work together, which even made me think the two worlds could almost combine rather well after a while.


2. Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men: Second Contact (1998)


Two years later, Star Trek and the X-Men would meet again in this single comic. Second Contact took place right after the feature film First Contact as The Next Generation crew is returning to their century. Unfortunately they end up in the universe of the X-Men, instead. When an away team sneaks into the mansion, Wolverine finds them and this time is thrown across the room by Data — since Spock isn’t around to try nerve pinching him! Wolverine ends up recognizing the name Enterprise, and the two groups meet to discuss what’s going on and how to get the crew home. Then Kang shows up to inform them their arrival has caused two anomalies in their universes and they split into two teams, traveling to the setting of “Days of Future Past” and the Battle of Wolf 359 during the episode “The Best of Both Worlds” to fix things. Of course, Kang is up to no good, and it’s only when Wesley and the Traveler show up that they realize what’s really going on and come up with a plan to stop him.

It’s cool to see these classic enemies, the Borg and the Sentinels, faced by teams including characters from both universes. It almost makes you forget for a minute the strangeness of the crossover! Unlike its predecessor, however, this comic ends on a cliffhanger and received a sequel novel called Planet X, giving us even more of this unique mix of franchises.


3. Star Trek: Infestation (2011)


This crossover was part of a larger event at IDW Publishing that involved a number of their other comics including Transformers, Ghostbusters, and G.I. Joe. Star Trek had two issues in the event, which saw a zombie-like plague intelligence called the Undermind using infected agent Britt from Covert Vampiric Operations to spread it to these other universes. The Star Trek comics take place after The Motion Picture and begin with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy heading to a colony where the doctor will receive a medal. When they arrive, they discover everyone has been turned into zombies as a result of Britt’s actions. They end up having to fight this version of Britt as McCoy tries to launch a serum to help the colonists.

This is more of a subtle crossover, with just a version of Britt and the virus, itself, interacting with the world of Star Trek. As a result, it’s not as jarring as multiple characters from another franchise showing up. Unfortunately — or fortunately — Kirk does not get to meet Optimus Prime here. However, it is interesting to see the characters deal with this kind of zombie situation, and how the impact of an event from another universe ripples into theirs.


4. Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes (2011 2012)


At the start of this mini-series, the Legion of Super-Heroes and the original series crew both arrive on an Earth ruled by a terrible empire in a different universe from each of theirs. Eventually these two groups meet and, as has happened in other crossovers before, they split into teams featuring members of each to try and find out what’s going on. As one group goes back in time, another goes to see who is in charge in the present. The trips reveals some rather interesting characters from both universes are involved, and there is even a fun nod to more franchises in one part as the heroes learn what’s going on.

The series offers an interesting combination of the DC Comics and Star Trek universes that sees the crossover take a unique spin by having the characters meet not in one of their worlds, but in a different one entirely.


5. Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 (2012)


Things become more than a little wibbly wobbly, timey wimey in this eight-issue crossover between the classic BBC series and The Next Generation. The comic opens by showing the Borg and the Cybermen working together to attack a planet. After receiving a vision of the two enemies fighting together, Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, along with Amy Pond and Rory Williams, ends up landing the TARDIS on the Enterprise holodeck. The three end up meeting Captain Picard and the crew before heading to investigate the distress call from the planet and discovering the combined fleets of their enemies. It turns out the Enterprise has a record of the Cybermen and the Doctor suddenly remembers meeting the original series crew when he was the Fourth Doctor. When the Cybermen turn against the Borg, the Borg asks for the Enterprise’s help, and they form an uncomfortable alliance. At some point, the Doctor has to go back to the Battle of Wolf 359, apparently a favorite place to return to in these crossover comics, and the crew uses gold against the Cybermen they attack.

There are a couple of enjoyable moments in this comic, though I thought parts of it made less sense than some of the other crossovers. My favorite part was probably seeing the Fourth Doctor interact briefly with the original series characters. I almost wish they would make that a comic!


6. Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive (2014  2015)


This five-issue series found the original series crew investigating the Klingons, who built a portal that leads to the Planet of the Apes universe. There, the Klingons are trying to overthrow the government by supplying the gorillas with weapons. Of course, once the crew goes through it, they eventually meet George Taylor, who asks for their help, but they won’t interfere. This leads Kirk dealing with Taylor as well as the Klingon supported uprising on this version of Earth.

This is an odd but entertaining crossover and is certainly one of the more interesting franchise meetings I think we never knew we needed! It feels weird to say that it does come off as a bit more of a stretch than the superhero crossovers where something odd like crossing dimensions always seems to happen in those universes, but that’s what makes this unique. Plus they’re both such classic franchises, it’s hard not to be sucked in and want to know what happens next!


7. Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War (2015)


The latest crossover was held in 2015 and saw the J.J. Abrams reboot Enterprise crew meet the Green Lantern Corps in a six-issue series. While investigating a dead world, the away team discovers the skeleton of Ganthet surrounded by a number of rings. It turns out he activated Last Light as his universe was destroyed by Nekron, bringing the surviving lanterns to this parallel universe, which is home to the Enterprise. The discovered rings end up predictably choosing characters from Star Trek such as Uhura, Chekov, McCoy, and enemies among the Klingons, Gorn, and Romulans. Eventually, they run into Hal Jordan, who helps protect the ship from attack and, together, they work out what’s happening and what to do next. This all leads to two big battles that are frankly a bit of a mess between multiple fleets, the undead, and lots of characters running around with rings of power.

The most interesting part of this comic to me was frankly the ending, which seemed to leave a permanent change in the Star Trek universe. It might actually be more fascinating to see a continuation of this series and what happens next than this initial meeting of the two universes.