Star Trek: The Next Generation #2
DC Comics (March, 1988)
“Spirit In The Sky”
WRITER: Michael Carlin
PENCILER: Pablo Marcos
INKERS: Carlos Garzon & Arne Starr
COLORIST: Carl Gafford
LETTERER: Bob Pinaha
EDITOR: Robert Greenberger
It’s Christmastime (or variations thereof) all over Federation space it seems as everyone is celebrating some kind of holiday. However, festivities are interrupted when a spirit-like being enters the Enterprise-D followed by energy-absorbing aliens known as the Creeg. They want to absorb the spirit’s energy, but Data and the Creeg captain make contact with it and learn it feeds off the holiday spirit. (In Geordi’s visor it even looks a bit like Santa Claus.) Filling it with their love it gives love back in return, as the two ships spend the holidays together.
What they got right: The story layout could work as an episode. Not a very good one and I’ll get back to that, but not necessarily a terrible episode…for a Christmas story during season one TNG anyway. Conceptually I find it cute for a Christmas special and whatever else they get wrong the voices and character models are pretty close. The “holiday spirit” resembling Santa and the Creeg relatively close to the Grinch (Santa is public domain, the Grinch is not so a few fudges had to be made) were nice touches.
What they got wrong: Is every race on this ship having a holiday on the same day? Even Worf is taking time away from his own worship to get extra time at his station. (I don’t know what for, we know they aren’t getting paid because “money is obsolete”, as if that makes sense.) They do get details wrong, like the holodeck sometimes being called a “holo-chamber” and looking like a building within the ship rather than a hallway with a bunch of doors. Then there’s the bickering Bickley couple. Around this time DC had created their own characters for the original series comics–Konom, Bearclaw, and Bryce. They actually add something to the proceedings and we see this new generation (Konom is also a Klingon if you don’t recall from the reviews I did from this period, beating Worf by a century and Worf’s appearance on the show by a number of years–though Worf is actually canon) working well alongside the classic crew. The Bickley’s on the other hand are a bickering married couple and that’s it. It seems out of place compared to Roddenberry’s vision of everyone holding hands and getting along, as we saw in the story bible, and contribute nothing to the stories they’re in.
Recommendation: A fun little Christmas story but not much else. If you’re looking for a good TNG story it isn’t here, but if you want a Star Trek Christmas Special it’s serviceable.