"Spirit in the Sky!"
Merry Christmas, everyone, and have I got quite a treat for you this year. Actually, you can thank Michael Davis for this wonderful gift I'm about to bestow upon you, as he introduced me to this comic quite some time ago and I'm finally getting around to using it. It's bad enough that there was a Star Trek: The Next Generation comic mini-series back in 1988, but they felt like they had to really step up their game and produce an incredibly cheesy Christmas issue which I am about to share with you.
So throw a yule log on the fire, grab your pipe and smoking jacket, and pour yourself a nice glass of eggnog, because we're about to get this motherfucking party started. I hope you're ready for an angry fist full of HOLIDAY CHEER. I'm going to assume that most of you are familiar with the Next Generation crew and that I don't need to bother explaining who they all are; if you're reading an article on the internet that I wrote about a comic book, I feel like that's probably a safe bet.
"Sorry Lieutenant Yar, you're on your own! They're trying to knock all the ornaments off our tree!"
The cover is slightly misleading, because it contains more excitement and action than you will actually find inside the issue. Fortunately, there's more than enough unintentional humor to make up for the lack of any scene where Picard nobly sacrifices his life for the well-being of a Christmas tree.
Our first scene: Space. The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of a large fiery comet, and some mysterious alien ship in hot pursuit.
"Mama mia! We've got to catcha that spicy meataball!"
Meanwhile, on board the Enterprise, the command crew (minus Riker and Worf--they can't just leave a bunch of extras on the bridge, after all) are getting ready to attend a Christmas party in the Holodeck. While the rest of the crew look forward to the festivities, Picard makes it very clear that he has no desire to attend such foolishness.
"For God's sake, Number One, you've got a giant booger hanging from your nose."
Suddenly the Enterprise picks up an unknown alien vessel approaching! And Lieutenant Commander Data randomly asks "Humor?" in response to...well, take your pick, really. None of the available options make any sense.
Who is this alien guy with the bad combover at the helm and why have we never seen him before?
Ah-ha! First contact with an unknown alien species! The perfect excuse for Picard to skip out on the party and remain on the bridge where he wants to stay (not to mention that there are undoubtedly Starfleet regulations in place regarding first contact situations). But no, Picard skips out on this and continues on the the party. The crew expects him to make his "appearance", after all!
"Number One, try not to get us into any wars while I'm off getting drunk."
So the Enterprise, under the command of Riker (who amazingly doesn't immediately call a "red alert" because something happened), hails the alien vessel. Because it's Christmas time, they expect the aliens to be of a cheerful and friendly disposition.
"Of course they celebrate Christmas, Ensign Skooch. Don't make me come up there and slap the stupid out of you."
Suddenly, the giant ball of fiery energy comes out of nowhere and makes contact with the Enterprise!
"Commander, there's a giant fireball that appears to be hailing us."
This giant blast of energy causes a power disruption across the ship, and Picard calls the bridge from the elevator asking if everything is okay. Riker determines this power surge is no threat at all and tells Picard that everything is alright, he can go on to the party, and Riker will keep his seat warm for him while he's gone.
"Uh, everything's fine, Captain. No need to come back up and take your chair back yet. Chaaaair. My precioussssss."
As Picard and the others get off the elevator, he mentions that he doesn't like this situation and that he's thinking of going back to the bridge, but Counselor Troi tells him that there's no cause for alarm and it could cause much greater panic on the ship if he doesn't show up at the party. Yes, I can totally see the crew going all "Event Horizon" if the Captain isn't there. They'll be gouging out their eyes and tossing each other out of airlocks.
So Riker hails the alien vessel and talks to their Captain Bronder. After Worf scans their vessel and determines that they're harmless (and loudly announces that while Riker is on the phone with them), Riker invites them onboard to join in their Christmas celebration. The aliens gladly accept.
"Hello Commander, I am Captain Bronder. We are peaceful and in no way evil at all.
I reiterate, we are not evil. Please allow us aboard to enjoy some 'nutmeg' with you."
Meanwhile we're treated to some wonderful scenes of the command crew getting ready for the party. Here we see Deanna Troi using her combo perfume bottle microphone.
Jem is truly outrageous, truly truly truly outrageous! Woah-oh-oh! Jem!
While Picard is getting ready for the party, Worf calls him to the transporter room to welcome the delegation of evil looking mummy aliens (who are called the Creeg).
Ever since that one Halloween party three years ago, Captain Picard
has worn his "Sgt. Peppers" costume jacket to every social function.
We then oddly cut to a random married couple of nobodies on the ship, and witness their bickering before the party. This is truly bizarre, because this little "subplot" goes nowhere, and is quickly dropped as you will soon see. Maybe these characters were in the first season or two of the show and I just don't remember them, because they're just that forgettable.
Is that guy supposed to be dressed up like a "Christmas Jester" or something?
We also see Tasha Yar dressing up as if she's going to a fetish party, and Wesley Crusher whines to his mom about how he doesn't want to go to the party as they are getting ready. Finally, though it's not acknowledged in any way in the text, I think it's pretty clear that Geordi has played a prank on Data and gotten him to dress in the gayest outfit possible.
"Seriously Data, you look great, man! *snicker*"
After everyone gets ready, they all (minus Picard and Tasha Yar) just happen to arrive at the Holodeck at the same time. Note the bickering couple of "extras" hanging around in the background.
"It's a good thing we found all these great costumes lying around from the 1960s 'Star Trek' days!"
Inside the Holodeck is a winter wonderland complete with ski slopes, a frozen lake to ice skate on, and many decorated Christmas trees. There is also mistletoe hanging around. Remember that bickering couple that you last saw waaaay back one panel ago? Well, here is the culmination of their subplot. They argue, they share a romantic kiss under the mistletoe, and then they continue their arguing without missing a beat. And that's their entire contribution to the comic. Seriously, I have shown you every panel they appear in. Was this argue-kiss-argue-some-more "joke" really worth all that? You tell me. Are your sides "splitting"?
Becky always did have a love/hate relationship with Ronald McDonald.
Meanwhile Picard and Tasha Yar go to the transporter room to welcome the aliens. Picard is taken aback by their disinterest in shaking his hand! Lieutenant Yar narrowly avoids an intergalactic incident by pointing out that must just be how they roll, and then she asks the aliens to follow her on a tour of the ship. Picard hangs around in the back nursing the grievous wounds to his pride. You can almost see him thinking "next time, aliens...next time" in that right hand panel below.
"Oh, shit! Looks like you just got dissed, Captain! HARD!"
As they're going on their tour of the ship, Wesley Crusher decides to sneak out of the lame holiday party and head to the bridge, where he hopes Riker will let him sit at the op post. Back on the tour, one of the aliens senses the presence of the glowing energy ball they were chasing and slips away from the tour group unnoticed as he goes off looking for it, making a mockery of security on the ship. A mockery, I say.
"And here you'll see the room where the milkmaids churn the butter,
which is then processed and scarfed down by the fat kids in the school cafeteria."
The alien runs into Wesley Crusher in the hallway and loudly declares that he's not the one he was after, and that he must have misread his "force-aura". This arouses Wesley's suspicion, so he follows him back to the Holodeck, in hopes to involve himself in the plot in some annoying way.
"Bah! Begone, boy. You're not the droids I was looking for."
Wesley comes back to the party, and starts trying to tell the Captain what he saw. Picard immediately looks incredibly annoyed and tells Wesley to fuck off, but Wesley keeps talking, and after Picard finally starts paying attention, he is surprised to hear that his alien guests are "looking for" someone.
"God dammit. The child is speaking to me again. Someone? Security!"
Captain Bronder makes a bumbling attempt at trying to brush off the claims, but saying that they're looking for...uhhh...someone that inspires them. Yes, that's it!
"Yes, well enough about that, Bronder. What do you think of my spiffy jacket?"
Counselor Troi sees through the aliens' bullshit though, and finally gets them to admit that they were tracking a mysterious alien "force", which led them to the Enterprise. So Picard has Geordi and Data scan the ship and they come up with nothing, so everybody figures it was all a mistake and they return to their business.
Data: "Sorry Captain, the only thing I'm detecting is how fabulous I look in this sweet vest."
In a melodramatic outburst, Wesley storms out of the party, complaining that nobody believes him. Dr. Crusher gets ready to rush off after him, but Counselor Troi stops her, advising her that she may continue to "booze it up" and that she will go after her son and calm him down.
Wesley mimics about a dozen different Spider-Man covers with his melodramatic exit.
Counselor Troi catches up to Wesley and tells him that she knows he's not lying, because she sensed an amazingly powerful "force" on the ship herself, and instead of telling the Captain who might be able to do something about it, she is confiding this important security information to a child. Unfortunately one of the aliens has snuck out of the party and followed them, where he overheard Troi's words. Now he knows for a fact that the entity they were chasing is on the Enterprise, and the Creeg are determined to steal it away.
"NO! Space ninja! RUN, WESLEY!!! RUN!!!"
At that moment the Creeg ship attacks, draining all the power on the Enterprise and turning out the lights. Wesley and Troi use the distraction to attack the alien. Troi tries to extract information from him psychically, but he breaks away and runs back to his companions at the party.
"Now, quickly, Wesley, while I've got him pinned, go into his pockets and search for his wallet."
The Creeg makes it back to the party and quickly warns his captain that he was attacked by the woman and the child, and that these people cannot be trusted.
"Tried to 'drain' him? Deanna, you slut!"
Suddenly the Creeg beam weapons over from their ship and try to take over the party by force! But Tasha and Geordi quickly disarm them, and then Picard points out that his people outnumber the Creeg 100-to-1, at which point they become very agreeable. They then reveal that they were in fact chasing after a mysterious energy force, which they tracked to the Enterprise, and they mean to capture it and take it back to their ship.
The Creeg are known and feared through the galaxy for their deadly "keytar guns".
Geordi asks where this so-called powerful entity is just as it reveals that it was inside Data all along, flying out of his chest and moving out of the room. Geordi is the only one who can see the energy with his special visor, and he notes that it looks like a bearded old man.
Be warned: when you look as fabulous as Data, you risk a FASHION EXPLOSION.
The Creeg decide that this is a good time to reveal themselves, so they begin disrobing, which shows us that they are very clearly modeled on the Grinch who stole Christmas! Are you fucking kidding me?
"Alright boys, this party has officially started! Let's get naked!"
Geordi is the only one who can see the energy being, so they rely on him to tell them where it is, and what it looks like. He tells them that it's gaining mass, and starting to look like a fat, bearded old man!
That's right, kids. Santa is an eyeless alien horror that will possess you if you've been bad. Live in fear.
The entity suddenly flies back around and goes into Captain Bronder, but it only stays in him a few moments before flying back out again.
You know that your life really kind of sucks when you get sucker punched by fire.
Picard orders Geordi to take Yar and Troi and chase after it, but Data stops him, telling him that the entity means no harm and only wants to spread a feeling of goodness and cheer around. One of the Creeg, Frolag, decides to go chase after it on his own and runs out of the room. Captain Bronder then tells them that the spirit filled him with a feeling of extreme joy and that he no longer wishes it any harm.
"Dude, is my sideburn crazy or what? It goes all the way up my head!"
Bronder agrees to restore power to the Enterprise, and then they all go chasing after the entity, with Geordi following its energy signature with his special sight. They end up arriving to several different Holodeck parties just moments after the entity has apparently left, but they are having a rollicking good time in its wake. At these parties you see lots of species of alien crew that you never saw on the show.
One of the most celebrated traditions of the Marciak Christmas festival is the group anvil handstand.
They finally trace the thing to the bridge, where Riker was just considering calling the Captain to see if the blackout impacted the party in a negative way.
"Wha? Captain! It's not what it looks like! I definitely was not stroking myself in your chair!"
Frolag tries to absorb the energy spirit, and sucks it into his chest, but it somehow gets away. It appears to be dying and malnourished, but Data and Bronder suggest that everyone give it their love, in return for the good feelings of joy that it has spread around. This appears to fatten up the spirit, and it flies around the room causing everyone to make very strange noises, before it flies away and out of the ship altogether.
If you squint your eyes just right, the comet looks just like a sled and eight reindeer.
It then flies over to the Creeg ship where it spreads good will and joy, and shortly the Enterprise is hailed by the Creeg ship. It seems the rest of them suddenly want to come over to celebrate with the Enterprise, and that's not all--they want to come bearing gifts!
"So then I said 'transport her?' I hardly know her! LOLS"
This is the point where, if this was an animated series, the episode would end with the image shrinking into a circle which closes around the characters as they all share a hearty laugh, focusing on Lt. Commander Data as he says something unintentionally funny about how he just doesn't understand human behavior before finally closing completely. As it stands, we see one final panel with the two ships flying side by side through space, and a narration of Captain Picard's log talking about how he wishes this good will and joyous feeling will last into the new year.
So now you know that Santa Claus is not a fat guy from the North Pole, but actually a fat alien energy spirit who flies around the cosmos making people feel good, not entirely unlike a drug. I hope you have found this whole experience as educational about the holiday as I have. Thanks again for Michael Davis for providing this year's holiday Longbox fodder!
Found any weird, bizarre, stupid or funny comics that
should appear in a future "Tales From the Longbox" column?
Email Protoclown and let him know!
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
|HowardC: Why? Because star trek revolves around an evolved human race. In other words ridiculous nonsense like religion is all but extinct not by force, but by choice.|
|Who is this alien guy with the bad combover at the helm and why have we never seen him before?|
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