The summer movie battle officially begins today as the newly released "Star Trek" film fires its photon torpedoes at last week's adamantium-laced "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." But whether the J.J. Abrams-directed science fiction blockbuster sets a course for the top of the box office, there's no denying one place it's boldly going -- towards comic books!
Rumors, fact and history-in-the-making collide both in the new "Star Trek" film and also amongst its talented cast and filmmakers. And since the members of the film's roster have had their fair share of baggage when it comes to the superhero and comic book worlds -- we've compiled a list of some of the paneled-page properties that the "Star Trek" crew members have beamed aboard for!
CHRIS PINE: Taking over an iconic role played brilliantly by William Shatner is no easy task, but relative newcomer Chris Pine has done so with ease. His reported excellence as the cocky James Kirk in "Star Trek" has brought the spotlight on the young actor for other roles, too.
For months now, rumors have escalated that Pine could be Warner Brothers' man to slip on the power ring and become the lead in "Green Lantern," though recent reports have indicated other frontrunners for the role. Regardless, today's opening of "Star Trek" will prove to comic book lovers whether Pine has the chops required to play Hal Jordan.
ZACHARY QUINTO: While Pine's job is certainly daunting, at least he doesn't have to act against the man who made his role famous! In "Star Trek," Zachary Quinto shares the screen with Leonard Nimoy as they both portray young and old versions of the beloved Mr. Spock.
But for Quinto's television alter-ego, the nefarious Sylar on "Heroes," the actor would merely need to bloodily examine Nimoy's brain in order to imitate Spock with perfection. Even in light of "Heroes'" degrading quality, Quinto's Sylar remains one of TV's most delightfully watchable villains in recent memory.
KARL URBAN: Many a Trekkie "oohed" and "ughed" at "Lord of the Rings" star Karl Urban's casting as Dr. Bones McCoy, but early buzz indicates that the actor perfectly evokes the spirit of DeForest Kelly's original interpretation.
Still, given Urban's performance in 2007's "Pathfinder" -- based on the Dark Horse graphic novel, mind you -- it's hard to imagine the young Viking warrior ever uttering a "Dammit, Jim!" when he could simply lop off your head with a single sword stroke.
ZOE SALDANA: The beautiful and talented Zoe Saldana -- who plays the equally gifted Uhura in "Star Trek" -- has come a long way since her bit role as Johnny Depp's ex-girlfriend in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."
With roles in science fiction epics like "Star Trek" and the hotly anticipated "Avatar," Saldana's star is glowing ever-brighter with each passing role -- which is why Warner Bros. was smart to snatch Saldana up for their DC/Vertigo adaptation of "The Losers" now before her desired paycheck got too big! She'll play Aisha, the lone female member of the vengeful black ops squad led by "Watchmen's" Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
ERIC BANA: As the latest in a long line of memorable "Star Trek" villains, Eric Bana's portrayal of Nero, a time-traveling Romulan hellbent on vengeance against young Spock, has been touted as one of the strongest and most subtle bad guys in the long-running science-fiction property's history.
But is this reputedly awesome performance enough to wash away his tragic involvement in Ang Lee's "Hulk" adaptation from our minds? Given that Marvel gave us a very good movie starring the Jade Giant just last year, it's probably safe to let bygones be bygones.
SIMON PEGG: From "Shaun of the Dead" to cameos in "Grindhouse" and "Mission: Impossible III," there's no shortage of geek-friendly properties that Simon Pegg has involved himself with.
However, the actor, who plays Scotty in the latest "Trek" adventure, will make his first foray into comic book cinema with "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn" in 2010. And with Pegg's longtime pal and collaborator Edgar Wright set to helm an "Ant-Man" adaptation for Marvel, maybe we'll one day see the "Hot Fuzz" star shrink down for the role of Hank Pym.
J.J. ABRAMS: The gifted director of the latest "Star Trek" movie has been knee-deep in popular culture for several decades now. From bringing us lauded television shows such as "Alias," "Lost" and "Fringe" to producing decade-defining films such as "Cloverfield," Abrams is quickly becoming the Judd Apatow of genre fare.
That position will be further cemented when Abrams and "Lost" collaborator Damon Lindelof take on Stephen King's "The Dark Tower," the beloved novel series that Marvel Comics has turned into a franchise.
What other comic book connections can you find in the new "Star Trek" movie? Beam yourself into the movie theater today to check out the flick, then come back to the comments section with your findings!