The Art Of The Franchise Crossover
What are the two biggest names in science fiction? (And bear in mind that I am British as I ask this.) One perpetuates an idealistic view of the future, where mankind can rise above its differences and work together in harmony, while the other promotes the heroism of the individual, the anti-establishment icon that can correct a society gone wrong.
I speak of course about Star Trek and Doctor Who respectively. (And no apologies, Star Wars fans, but I’m afraid for me, George Lucas’ masterpiece only comes in third.) Now IDW have announced a Star Trek / Doctor Who team up, which is a geeks dream come true, but also sounds like a recipe for disaster. It would take only the slightest misstep for it all to go horribly wrong.
Case in point; I recently acquired a copy of War Of The Independents #1, a title I was greatly looking forward to, and was greatly disappointed by. I thought I knew my independent characters, but I was obviously wrong, I needed a scorecard for this issue, and one was not provided. No key, no little narration boxes, nothing; but too many characters to learn anything about any of them. The marvellous Shi/Cyblade crossover of the Nineties, this is not.
In contrast, IDW’s Star Trek/Legion Of Super-Heroes six-issue mini-series is delivered in a well-paced form, giving me an introduction to characters that I don’t really need, but it is nice to see. I am sure that there are many Trekkies out there that are unfamiliar with our favorite Legionnaires, and this title provides ample information, and allows each character enough of the spotlight that we can see their personality shine through.
Franchise crossover can be logical or bizarre. In the latter category, I present as evidence Archie Meets The Punisher which I would list as a failure, or the surprisingly enjoyable Superman/Bugs Bunny, which was more of a Justice League/Looney Tunes team up, but you can see why DC chose the title it did.
Star Trek/Doctor Who is a logical crossover. The Borg and the Cybermen? I would like to see why they don’t try to convert each other, but it is a logical threat. I hope (and trust) that IDW will handle this expertly.