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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. gatchamandave
    May 16, 2014 @ 12:26 am

    Actually Josh, there were 17 issues or so of Marvel's 1979-81 spin off from The Motion Picture. It was crippled by being limited solely to the concepts that appeared in TMP, and from constantly changing creative teams and, alas, a sterility of approach that matches that of the film. Put it this way – I know I have a complete set somewhere in the attic, but I haven't seen it since 1983 when the far superior DC version came along.

    Which brings us to Mike W Barr. He's an odd cove, isn't he ? He seems to work best when he's got a strong editor or collaborator – his late 80s run on Detective Comic with Alan Davis was a thing of beauty, but when Davis leaves Barr produces The Night of the Reaper, which might be the most flat out insane Batman story ever told, and I've read the ones where he dresses up in a differentcouloured bat suit every night. Keep your eye on Mike Barr and you get Son of the Demon, look away and you get Looker. So here we get Bearclaw as an arrogant, petty minded asshole, which is pretty much how he remains, but the intriguing idea of a Klingon with a conscience, which is a positive step forward.

    I like this series but, as you say, every time it takes a couple of steps forward – particularly when Peter David takes over the writing – along comes a movie to kick the feet out from under it.


  2. Josh Marsfelder
    May 16, 2014 @ 8:59 am

    I remember that movie adaptation: I even mention it in my post on "The Final Voyage", I don't know why I neglected to make that clear here…

    Barr certainly is interesting. It is true that most of the work of his I like the most (and I'm only familiar with his Star Trek stuff I have to say) does tend to be when he's working with somebody else. "The Legendary Crossover" is flat-out one of my favourite Trek stories ever, but this one doesn't do anything for me and while I enjoyed "The Final Voyage" and felt it filled a niche (I mean I think it's about as good as a story that's trying to bridge the gap between the Original Series and Phase II/The Motion Picture can possibly be and was perfectly timed) it's not something I'm going to revisit over and over again.

    I am definitely a fan of DC's Trek line overall though, both this one, its successor and it's flatly unbelievably amazing run on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Some of my favourite expanded universe work of all. If nothing else, this particular line is sort of an early draft of where DC will eventually go.


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