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SFX Issue 41 review


August 1998

Book Review:

Star Trek The Next Generation/The X-Men: Planet X

Author: Michael Jan Friedman
Publisher: Pocket Books paperback
Price/page count: £4.99, 265pp
ISBN: 0-671-01916-3
Reviewer: Nick Setchfield

Where does a brazen sales gimmick end and a fine piece of yarn-spinning begin? Some considerable distance from the pages of Planet X , a book that, with its blatant sideshow meshing of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Men , positively shouts “greedy cross-promotional marketing opportunities” and then sniggers as it prepares to count your cash.

Blame the ’70s, the decade that first brought us such reality-troubling team-ups as Superman Vs Spider-Man , not to mention all those improbable occasions when Scooby-Doo crossed paths with The Addams Family . The Hanna-Barbera comparison is apt, for this book serves up a frustratingly one-dimensional take on a fan-tickling scenario, cursed with perfunctory storytelling and flatlining characterisation. Want an insight into the complex psyche of Jean-Luc Picard? Try this – “Nothing gives me more pleasure than travelling from star to star, seeing what no one has seen before.” The mutants come a little more alive by virtue of having been already painted in such broad, comic book strokes.

A sequel of sorts to their recent comic book crossover, the first half of Planet X is crammed with all the obvious incongruity of the Marvel and Paramount worlds colliding, from Worf and Wolverine’s male bonding to Nightcrawler getting a diagnostic from Geordi La Forge. The rest is a skinny plot about a planet of mutants being menaced by some non-descript villains. It all feels like a piece of fannish wish-fulfilment, or the scribblings of a first former keen to cram his two favourite hobbies into the literary Moulinex.

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