Due to various shipping and other issues, TrekInk has some catching up to do. As such, we’re going to do a quick review and summary on each of four recent Trek comics: the second "Assignment Earth", then the third "New Frontier", the second "Enterprise Experiment", and closing it all out with the final issue in the "Intelligence Gathering" series.
Review- Assignment Earth #2
The second issue of John Byrne’s "Assignment Earth" is set during the "Tomorrow is Yesterday" episode of the Original Series. You might recall that this episode originally aired before the first Gary Seven episode. That little tidbit is taken into account in the story, which is a time travel tale. Of sorts. It ties in closely to the television episode, but veers off in a somewhat odd tangent, until you, as the reader, realize what is happening. I don’t want to go into too much more detail than that. In short, Isis plays a much larger role than in the first issue, the Enterprise crew make an appearance (but we never see their faces, thus avoiding the problem Byrne appeared to have in the first issue when showing Spock and Kirk), and the Beta 5 transporter is proven to be more versatile than ever, allowing for a trip up to the Enterprise itself, reminiscent of Seven of Nine’s visit to Voyager before her launch in Relativity.
Byrne has really taken to this series and tells another good story. This has quickly become my favorite series since the Blood Will Tell one. His artwork is the same style as the prior issue, and he gives a look very similar to the old television series. Tom Smith’s colors continue to keep that 1960s feel alive, even making the Enterprise look like it fell right off of the television screen and onto the printed page. Again, if I haven’t made it clear how much I’m enjoying this series, I haven’t done my job well.
ST: Assignment Earth #2 Cover
Review – New Frontier #3
I think that I’ve also made it clear that I was not the biggest fan of the New Frontier stuff from Peter David, but that was also at least partly due to my lack of familiarity with the subject matter. Now for the good news and the bad news as relates to the third issue of his "Turnaround" series. The bad news? I’m still kinda lost. The good news… I think that’s the intent at this point in time. In this issue, David starts to pull the story threads taut and gives us the second big twist of the series (you may recall that the first was Jellico stealing the prototype starship in the first issue… if you don’t remember that bit, you may want to read that issue again, since the entire series is predicated on that theft in the first few pages!). The story in this issue focuses on Jellico and Soleta, but has a small side trip to visit Robin Lefler, in a thread that seems to be setting something up for some event in the final issue of the story. At least, that’s my best guess on the matter.
Steven Thompson’s art is pretty top notch, as it has been for the prior two issues, bringing characters from a novel to life, and trying to make things feel like we’re watching it on screen, rather than just reading it. So far, I know two things about this series. First, New Frontier fans will continue to eat this up like manna from the heavens. Second, I’m still ambivalent about it, but it’s like reading a novel or watching a movie that you’re not entirely certain how much you’re enjoying, you just really want to find out "whodunit" and in this case, I’m pretty much certain that it wasn’t the butler.
ST: New Frontier #3 Cover
Review – Star Trek Year 4 – Enterprise Experiment #2
DC Fontana and Derek Chester present us with the second issue in their "Enterprise Experiment", and it starts off with a terribly confusing bang. Well, more of a flashback than a bang. It took me a couple of readings before I realized that the pages were not in the wrong order, and it it was, indeed, a flashback to a time before the series began. Once I had that figured out, the rest of the issue suddenly made a whole lot more sense than it had before. The story "concludes" the main story left over from the first issue, managing to drop in Sarek and introduce Section 31 all at the same time. Along with some anti-gravity combat (as seen on the cover) and a shuttle crash, this issue reads like the last fifteen or twenty minutes of an action episode from the original series.
Gordon Purcell and Terry Pallot continue to provide the artwork for the series, harkening back to their days on the old DC Comics and Malibu runs. They have a strong feel for the likenesses of the characters and achieve a good look for the action scenes, of which there are a number. My only beef with this issue is that it seems to wrap up the storyline a bit sooner than I was anticipating. Seeing that there are three more issues to come, it feels a bit like the next event will consist of something coming from left field, since no major plot threads are left hanging by the end of the issue. Well, we’ll see what pans out in a couple of weeks.
ST: Year 4 Enterprise Experiment #2 Cover
Review – Star Trek TNG: Intelligence Gathering #5
Finally, onto the final issue of "Intelligence Gathering". This issue features more of Tomalek and his Romulan friends and unfortunately, for me, features the biggest let down in an IDW comic series since the end of "The Space Between". This was a series that the Tiptons and Messina were carrying along very well, setting up a lot of tension, preparing us for the worst… and then we end up with a denouement seen a mile away. Any time a reader can piece together clues over the course of a story and figure out the ending along with the protagonists, the writer is doing well. "Murder She Wrote" was the prime example of this on television. Any time the reader can piece together the clues and still have clues left over but correctly identify the ending, the writer may not be doing so well. For me, this feels like the latter.
Messina’s art is, as usual, very good. The cover is fantastic, and fits with the other five covers quite nicely. One thing I can say in favour of the Tiptons writing more comics for IDW is that they really have a grasp for writing dialogue for Star Trek, television style. Most of the time when characters are speaking on the page, I can hear the actors acting out those lines on screen. If a new Trek television series ever comes back to air, these guys would be a good choice to try their hands out on a script, whether an original, or a screenplay of someone else’s story. In the case of this issue, out of the even dozen issues they’ve done thus far (five "Blood Will Tell", five of this series, and the two "Alien Spotlight" issues), this is the only one that has let me down to date. That’s a pretty good record by my count, and I look forward to their upcoming "Mirror Images" series.
ST:TNG Intelligence Gathering #5 Cover
COMING UP NEXT
We are pretty close to caught up. But in the next week we will cover Enterprise Experiment #3 and New Frontier #4, plus some new previews and comics news. IDW are really ramping up so we should be back to new issues (and reviews) almost every week.