Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Horror Of...Star Trek: Infestation - Taking A Bite Out Of Trek

This is a bit of a switch for me. I had intended to include other media in the annals of The Horror Of..., but it's taken awhile. So, finally, horror of the four color fright variety!

So much has been done over the decades from crypts, Dracula's reign, to the dread of the comic code, to the resurgence of gory fun. Where is the best and most obvious place to start?

Star Trek, obvious! It is the 50th anniversary. And Trek has had it's horror moments.

The horror.


The horror!


The horror!!



...Wait? That is horror? The hell?!

I should be reviewing that. That looks awesome! Shatner versus Dracula. Why is that not this review? And why hasn't Linkara already reviewed this?! (What the hell, man.)

I'm feeling a little dispirited suddenly.

But wait! I must have something fun to review. Something fun and horrible. A mix of Trekness with the Macabre.

Oh what terror we have.

Star Trek: Infestation. Shatner versus Zombies.

"Ugh! Ha ha, 'He's dead, Jim.' I swear if  Bones says that
one more time..."

This adventure of the starship Enterprise arose during the time IDW was producing Trek comics (As of 2016 they are still producing an ongoing series.). In 2011 they had events spiral out of Zombies vs. Robots. The infection spreads from that book out into 4 other universes/books. G.I. Joe. Star Trek. Transformers. Ghostbusters.

Across all the books avatars of the character Britt attacked, spreading.

In each universe the book's characters were called on to prevent a zombie apocalypse from arising. I didn't read them all, but if you are interested you can check how your favorites fair.

But here and now you can see what Admiral Kirk comes up to save the 23rd century. Or is it too late?

The story is written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton. The artists on the issues were Casey Maloney, Gary Erskine, Luis Antonio Delgado, and Chris Mowry.

The story opens, like many a zombie tale, as Kirk and company are heading down a lonely country road, or off in a shuttlecraft to visit and isolated world.

"Captain's Log. Me and the boys are heading out for a wild weekend. This is gonna be the best time of our lives.
Spring Break!"

Along for the ride are Kirk (back when he was an admiral), Spock, McCoy, Zombie Chow 1, Zombie Chow 2, and Zombie Chow 3.

"But, Jim! It's zombies. Are you sure we have enough Red Shirts?"

They reach the planet, Calibus VII, and find it seemingly deserted. And this is part of the fun of melding of Trek and zombies. Landing or beaming onto a Federation world where things are eerily quiet or odd is pretty common for Kirk. We all remember the evil flying pancakes, right? The planet where everyone is rapidly aging to death?

"Hey, everybody! Let's split up."

This time it's something new. Zombie horde.

"Look out! He's slowly ambling towards us!"

And as this is Trek, and a galaxy of advanced medicine and hope, they aren't willing to believe that this is it for the victims. So, phasers on stun!

And of course we get...


But that's too simple an answer. He's not all the way dead. No one on the planet is.

Mr. Spock doesn't work to your schedule.

Unsurprisingly, the security team don't last long.

For a long stretch they look at this as just a disease, and work quite hard not to kill. But as the danger grows, they are pressured. And when the security officers are turned they realize that they are moving towards the shuttlecraft. So they have to destroy the shuttlecraft. (But the security team aren't killed during this.) And they keep retreating, so they don't have to set phasers to kill.

Now there is no way off the planet. And the Enterprise is 5 days away. Kirk transmits orders to the Enterprise as well. If anyone tries to leave the planet, destroy them.

Moving from building to building in the colony, they come across the one facility with power running. There they discover what happen to the planet's inhabitants.

The android 37 (the love child of a tryst between an iPod, a DS, and BMO) tells them of the events that lead to this day.

"Uploading Exposition.mp3"

37's creator was working on a more human AI, and was contacted by a mysterious woman.

Britt was among them. Before long, the planetary population were zombie, thanks to modifications to the androids that caused them to spread the infection. Even the good creator quickly fell ill, and was locked away by his androids.

With some safety, for a little while, Kirk has Bones tech tech up some solution. You know, cure zombies. Easy.

Bones struggled for the right, "Dammit, Jim. I'm a doctor not a...", but found himself wanting.

Still, we are talking Star Trek AND Dr. Leonard H. McCoy. Plus he has access to the source of the zombie infection. So we do see a solution. Finally a zombie solution not based around running to guns and...

"...Jim. Don't tempt we to test this thing on you."
No. He's worked out at least a partial cure. They can at least restore the zombie's higher functions. They will look like zombies, but they won't be driven to attack. Unfortunately they will likely still be a carrier of the infection, so they can never leave. Still, swings and roundabouts. It's a step in the right direction.

But they still have another problem. Britt.

From 37 they learn she regularly returns to the facility to check the status of the infections progress. (She's also transmitting some of it out of the universe. But that's a story for another book.) So Kirk and the gang ready to take her on.

:"Your the infection, and I'm the tech tech cure of the future."
They hit her with the gun, but she's not stopped. Kirk gets into some fisticuffs with Britt. In the end, she is thrown into the vat of cure, and dissolves away.

The remainder of the colony is cured of their zombie shamble, but are still left with the reality they must stay put. But McCoy promises to work to cure them all.

General Order Seven is ordered for the planet, and it is off limits until it can be made safe once again.


The story, for me, is quite fun. It places our Trek Trinity into a zombie tale. And in the process it doesn't strip them of the truth of their characters. It would be easy to fall into the temptation of fitting them into zombie apocalypse tropes. But, as I noted at the start. If you serve on the Enterprise you run into weird stuff regularly.

Usually it's larger scale. Borg Assimilation. Godlike beings experimenting on them.

But then you have had the somewhat more manageable. Like Redjac. Like much of good horror this is all a way to give us of test of character and ingenuity, Can they hold it together? Can they find away to last the night?

The fact they did cure this may annoy some people. Some do love the hopelessness of a zombie story.There are many good ones. But I don't mind a tale where the zombie threat gets contained. It's like the occasional Lovecraftian tale where THEY are kept from returning.

The Federation and the galaxy got lucky. This time.

A fun Star Trek tale that won't leave you despondent at the end.

As to the writing and art, I find in combination to be fine. The characters are distinct enough, in voice and design. And that's a good thing since this is the Trek era where everyone was largely dressed alike. So Trek comic drawing of the past could leave you in these situation confused about who was Kirk and who was McCoy.

They art helped keep the classic Trek feel at the start, and moved into the creepy desolation as the story progresses.

It makes for a fun weekend read.

I have seen they did do a sequel to Infestation. No Star Trek that time around. But I did see that there is a Dungeons and Dragon one. Interesting. I may have to see about getting a copy of that part of the overall story.

The next comic I should be covering for Halloween will be Victorian Undead. Because zombies aren't dead for me.

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