Welcome to the Comic Archive! There have been so many amazing stories, characters, and series produced from comic book publishers for almost 100 years now; this column will serve to celebrate some of the tales you may or may not know about. Each week, we’ll take a story arc or trade paperback/collected story from a non-new comic (three years old or further back), and discuss the details with you.
In an entertainment world filled with reboots, remakes, re-imaginings, and the like, fans are sometimes left scratching their heads as to why truly good and entertaining properties are sometimes left untouched and further unexplored. Such is the case with ‘Galaxy Quest,’ the 1999 film that was a brilliant comedic satirical homage to Star Trek and the sci-fi pop-culture fandom in general. Rumors and ideas have been swirling about a potential movie sequel, or maybe a TV series, but nothing has come to fruition, although things got as close as they could in 2017: writer/comedian Paul Scheer had written an outline for a ‘Galaxy Quest’ TV series, but the reorganization of Paramount Pictures coupled with the then-recent death of one of the stars of the film, Alan Rickman, meant that the “next chapter” was, unfortunately, returning to limbo.
There is one medium, however, where properties can find new life, even if it isn’t always seen as an “official” extension: comic books! In 2008, IDW Publishing released a five-issue mini-series titled ‘Galaxy Quest: Global Warning!,’ and the series accomplished what no one else had been able to do: give fans the further adventures of the thespian crew of the fictitious starship NSEA Protector.
The series picks up the action pretty much right where the film has left things off. The climax of ‘Galaxy Quest’ featured our main characters, the actors who had performed their roles in the titular 1970s sci-fi TV show: Captain Peter Quincy Taggart, aka Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), Dr. Lazarus aka Sir Alexander Dane (Rickman), Lieutenant Tawny Madison aka Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), Tech Sergeant Chen aka Fred Kwan (Tony Shaloub), Security Chief “Roc” Ingersoll aka Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell), and Lieutenant Laredo aka Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell), all coming back from their intergalactic journey when a race of aliens mistook the ‘Galaxy Quest’ TV show broadcasts as “historical documents” and asked the actors to save their species.
Now, the crew has reunited on Earth in the wake of the reignited interest in the franchise to star in ‘Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues,’ the continuation of the TV franchise. Wouldn’t you know it, though, right before the show’s big premiere episode is set to air, a massive alien ship appears over Earth, its very presence wreaking havoc on the planet’s ecosystem. The government calls upon Nesmith and friends, as they are the only ones that the alien ship they originally arrived back to Earth in will respond to. The Thermians are too far away to assist; once again, the fictional crew of the imaginary Protector must come together to save a species – their own.
The story contained in the mini-series is entertaining and engaging, but the question has to be asked: as a fan of ‘Galaxy Quest’ as a whole, am I finding this mini-series entertaining on its own right, or simply because I’m jazzed to be getting anything new from this franchise? The answer, I think, falls in a gray in-between area. The tale is written by Scott Lobdell and features artwork by Ilias Kyriazis; the artwork is bright and clear, but it is always a challenge to have the majority of your main characters be based on people in real life – most folks are instantly recognizable, but some characters do end up looking a bit more “generic” than you might want them to, especially when they are not the focal point of certain panels. Lobdell does a pretty good job with the story, and there are several spots where the kitschy humor and individual characters’ personalities really shine through. Much exposition is spent on the characters themselves – what they’ve been up to, how they are doing now, etc. – and as a result, the “big threat” of the aliens and their Judgement Ship does feel a bit rushed, unfortunately.
All in all, this is a fun way to keep the ‘Galaxy Quest’ franchise alive, and apart from the 2015 4-issue mini-series that followed this one, ‘Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues,’ your options to get new content for the crew of the NSEA Protector is a bit limited. You can check your local comic shop or the online retailers for this series, either as the five individual issues or as the collected trade paperback.
Got a comic, character, or story arc that you’d like to see covered by the Comic Archive? Feel free to list it in the Comments below or send your recommendation directly to me at email@example.com – see you in the funny papers!