Give the People What They Want
(book assigned by Admiral Fartmore)
Editor’s note: For years Beau has been calling the bathroom the “holodeck” where he goes on his special adventures. Lately he can’t seem to go without his “four interchangeable sets hands” wolverine doll, which is all fine and dandy except the hands never come back and they are getting expensive to replace.
Everybody loves a good crossover, like when Freddy met Jason, when Alien met Predator, or when Harry met Sally. Crossovers can be amazing and entertaining. We all remember that episode of the Simpsons where the cast of the X-Files visits Springfield, if only for the scene with Moe the bartender trying to hide a whale from the feds. And who could possibly forget when Steve Urkel appeared on Full House? What an age to be alive. Some people say that with Trump elected and ISIS terrorizing the Middle East that we live in a terrible time for humankind. Those people don’t remember when both Family Matters and Full House were on the television and we only had 4 channels, so we had to watch both.
And what about the greatest crossover of all time? In probably the most amazing event in television history, U.S. President George H.W. Bush teamed up with Alf and the Smurfs to fight drugs in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. No seriously; this really happened. The Ninja Turtles even showed up to help. If you haven’t seen already seen it, you need to watch this immediately. There is nothing more 90s than George H.W. Bush and Garfield chatting to kids about the dangers of marijuana.
Wait, did I say everyone loves crossovers? Well, what I really meant was that everyone hates crossovers because they almost always suck. Which is why I felt particularly aggrieved when I was assigned a crossover book. This week’s Piece of Shit™ is the clumsily titled Star Trek: The Next Generation – X: Men – Planet X by Michael Jan Friedman. In this book, the characters from the X-Men comics inexplicably end up in the Star Trek universe. Sounds shit, no? Mostly, but extra tantalizing thing about this the prospect of some hot Stewart on Stewart action.
Some of that hot Stewart on Stewart action.
For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last thirty years, Patrick Stewart is the British Shakespearian actor who plays Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek, as well as Mr X-Man himself – Charles Xavier – in the X-Men film series. Although this book is pretty much guaranteed to be shit, we may get ourselves a double-Stewart scene, which would probably contain some of the most amazing acting Star Trek has seen since Captain Kirk fought the Gorn.
So what is the plot of this crossover book that no one either asked for or wanted? Well, one day, the X-Men suddenly teleport onto the USS Enterprise without explanation. All your favourite X-Men are there; the blue one, the one with lasers for eyes, the girl who is magic or something. And of course the one who makes sassy comments about frogs. I think her name is Storm. Captain Picard already knows them though we aren’t really told why. And he really wants to bang Storm, which is strange because I always thought that Captain Picard was non-sexual.
They realize that there is some planet where there are kids going through changes and getting magic powers… just like the X-Men did! But there’s some aliens called the Draa’kons who are suspicious of the new mutants, so the Enterprise and the X-Men fight them. And they win, and everyone agrees to accept one another. And they all learn an important lesson: that everyone belongs, even if they are different. And that’s pretty much it.
Everyone belongs, even if they are different. Except that Asian kid, what’s he doing there?
As for the writing it’s… not great. For example, when Chapter 24 begins with “Captain’s Log, Supplemental…” followed by a first person narrative from Picard, it’s hard not to laugh. And it’s quite lazy for the author to never explain why the X-Men know Captain Picard, why they are jumping dimensions, and why they are also travelling in time.
But picking books like this apart isn’t fair. This book wasn’t written for me, it was written for that subset of the population that are both X-Men fans and Star Trek fans. No one ever said this book was for lovers of literature, it is clearly for people who want an excuse to imagine Worf fighting alongside Wolverine, or Data helping Nightcrawler, or to imagine Captain Picard fucking a mutant the way James Tiberius would have if given half the chance.
James Tiberius didn’t fuck about. Actually, wait… I guess he did…
But there is one thing you can criticize this book for, and that is for not giving the people what they want. And what do the people want? Some hot Stewart on Stewart action, and this book has none of that. Somewhat implausibly, the character of Charles Xavier is left completely out of this crossover. Michael Jan Friedman, I implore you to think of the possibilities you missed. Sure, you thought of Picard banging Storm, but what about a hot threeway way with Storm and two Stewarts?
If Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue taught us anything about crossovers, its that you can’t just force the message you want. It can’t just be George H.W. Bush talking about the dangers of “puffing grass.” You have to sell you crossover by giving the people what they want, whether its Alf teaming up with the Smurfs, or Steve Urkel hanging with Uncle Jesse, or two versions of Patrick Stewart banging the same person.
You gotta give the people what they want.