Even though ghosts begins with G, this is not my A-Z post. For that, please scroll down or try the link here.
Title: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ghosts
Writer: Zander Cannon
Artist: Javier Aranda
Image via TrekMovie.com
Full disclosure: I went to college with Zander Cannon and am therefore predisposed to enjoy his work. I have written about him previously here. As I wrote in that post, most of his high-profile comics work has been as an artist but he has many writing credits as well - unusual for the industry. I thoroughly enjoyed this collected five-issue story and encourage you to give it a try as well. In hopes that you will, I'll save my spoilers for the end of the post. In the meantime, I have broader Star Trek matters to consider.
I've never called myself a Trekkie. In science fiction, my highest devotion is to Star Wars while I merely dabble in other idioms. That said, I've grown to admire Gene Roddenberry's magnificent creation over the years. It is the most thoroughly explored universe in American science fiction (still can't compete with Doctor Who worldwide). There is also, I have to admit, a lot more hard science in Star Trek than there is in Star Wars. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells would have been Trekkies.
I have devoted a fair amount of time to the Star Trek universe. I've watched every Next Generation episode and knocked off decent portions of the other series as well. I'd like to continue exploring but I'm not sure comic books are the likely avenue - at least, not yet. As much as I enjoyed Ghosts and appreciate the further development of characters I already know and like, I'd prefer to keep chipping away at the 726 television episodes between the six different series. All of them, including the old animated series, are currently available for instant viewing on Netflix so they're easier to watch than ever.
The resolution of the story is dependent on the realization that the non-terrestrial race in question, the inhabitants of Allios IV, have six fingers on each hand and therefore use a base-12 number system. I love alternate number systems and was admittedly a sucker for this one but I still think it's exceedingly clever. I even checked back to panels earlier in the series to be sure the number of fingers was correct - they were, of course.
Zander's stories tend to be big on mythology - invented and otherwise. At one point, one of the Allios IV natives refer to the "gods below" as opposed to above. Why wouldn't a culture worship underground deities? Crops grow in soil. Water flows at ground level and below. Gravity's pretty cool. Why couldn't spiritual thinking be oriented down rather than up?