It has been while but TrekInk is back with reviews for the three IDW Trek comics from July. We have the return of Kor as the Enterprise continues to experiment, the origin story of the Mirror Kirk and Spock, and more of John Byrne’s take on the adventures of Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln. We got Klingons, cloaks, combat, assassination, supersoldiers, and so much more…
Review: Star Trek Year Four – The Enterprise Experiment #3
The writing team of D.C. Fontana and Derek Chester has returned, bringing us another episode of their Enterprise Experiment series. This issue is the hump issue, so to speak, and takes what appears to be a bit of an abrupt turn away from the events of the last two issues. We open with a visit to a Klingon cruiser and Kor, making a reappearance three years after his house’s glory was taken due to the events on Organa (last visited in “Errand of Mercy” and the IDW comic “Against Their Nature”). When news of a major dilithium find on Loren 5 comes through, he sets off there to begin his vendetta against the Federation and test the Organian Treaty. In the meantime, the Enterprise finds herself docked at K-12, a station of the same design as K-7 from “The Trouble With Tribbles”, under repair from the previous events with the stolen cloaking device. Kirk is undergoing a physical, and despite his peak condition, McCoy recommends some shore leave. As usual, just as he takes some time to contemplate his situation, new orders come in, sending the Enterprise to Loren 5.
Fontana and Chester, as they have done in the prior two issues, sprinkle references throughout the issue to other original series episodes, with occasional nods to events that made appearances in episodes of the newer series. The writing carries well for the length of this issue, but introduces a few confusing bits at the tail end of the story as it leaves us on a cliffhanger. I’m relatively certain that the confusing bits will sort themselves out in the next issue, including the preview of the cover that features an image of Sulu dressed as a Klingon standing over a prone Captain Kirk. Unusual, to say the least!
The artwork for this issue is pretty decent, but Gordon Purcell and Terry Pallott seem to have focused their efforts on the look of the Klingons and their environment to the detriment of our regulars. There’s something that looks not quite right about Kirk’s visage, but I cannot put my finger on exactly what it is. Likewise, Spock looks a bit too angular and harsh for my tastes. Having said that, I know that a number of the regular readers here enjoy the style of these two artists, and the art in this issue seems to be in their same regular style, just a bit below their average for me.
The color work for this issue was done by John Hunt with Jason Jenson and Mario Boon. One question I have is “why so many involved?” With most other IDW issues, we have one color artist. Regardless, the colours stand out, as space has a very strong blue feel to it, the Klingon environments tend toward red and brown, and the sections focusing on the crew tend to be rather vibrant, with the same kind of feel as the old television shows, something to make your new color TV look good!
Overall, this is a good issue, picking up a new plot thread as the storyline appeared to end after the second issue. I’m interested to see where this is going next and how it is expected to tie into the first two issues of the series. I will be (and I expect others will to) disappointed if there is no connection between the two segments of the mini-series.
Review: Star Trek Mirror Images #1
This month, the first issue of “Mirror Images” was released. This series focuses on the universe introduced in the original “Mirror, Mirror”, but is set well before the events of that episode. The Tiptons return to tell the story of how James Kirk became the captain of the mirror Enterprise. They preface the story with a quick two page introduction, giving us the setting, and showing how different it is from the regular universe that we’re most used to. This ends with Captain Pike killing an alien and narrowly escaping a trap set for him in the guise of an exploding shuttlecraft. He beams up to the Enterprise where he is tended to by his loyal physician, Dr. McCoy. Pike has his suspicions as to the culprit, and shares them with McCoy.
As expected, this is a story of betrayals, double-agents, lying, and plots within plots within plots — something as complex as seen in the Dune stories from Frank Herbert. It’s a bit of a confusing story thus far, but with three more issues ahead (including the second, out today), the story promises to be an entertaining one, leading us to the events of “Mirror, Mirror”. David Messina returns to do the artwork, as he has done on every issue with the Tipton brothers to date. His style is, as before, an interesting mix of approaching real life and pure comics. I personally quite like his style — heavy shading and simple facial lines, without too much detail, almost like he’s letting the color artist’s work help the reader fill in the details. As per usual on Messina’s art, Ilaria Traversi does a good job of getting the feel across.
Review: Star Trek Assignment Earth #3
Leaving the best until last, the new “Assignment Earth” series from John Byrne has rapidly become my favorite of the current batch of releases. This is coming from the guy who actually disliked the original TV episode and was pretty certain that this storyline just would not be able to fulfill expectations, despite Byrne’s excellent storytelling abilities. Byrne’s obvious interest in the material at hand has managed to make this an engrossing series, in terms of both story and looks.
In this issue, we jump forward another year to 1970 and find ourselves on the campus of the Illinois State University of Science and Technology. Gary Seven has taken the on the role of a visiting professor, and Roberta is acting as an anti-war hippie student. Yet another hair style and color for Roberta, just as promised in the pre-release press! This time around, Gary and Roberta are investigating some strange events that Beta Five has picked up around the campus. In other news, Isis makes another human appearance, this time taking the name of Tanya Neal. As usual, Roberta finds her familiar, but cannot put a finger on how she might know her. The story gets a touch predictable at times, but that is not intended as a knock, as Byrne does throw in some good plot twists along the way, including a sentimental epilogue at the end of the issue.
Having said lots about Byrne’s art and situational writing over the few issues that he’s done, I’m not sure what else need be said, but let’s hit the highlights:
- late-1960s, early-1970s clothes and hairstyles? Check.
- period technology and weapons? Check.
- period political attitudes? Check.
- nice twists on what we expect? Check.
So, all in all, right on par with his other work on the Star Trek books. which is to say, if you like it, you’re in for another treat. If you don’t like Byrne’s stuff, and have given the other issues a try and still found them lacking, this one’s right in the same kind of style.
All of the above comics are available now at your local Comics store.
Coming up next
TrekInk is now back on its regular schedule and we should have more reviews, news and previews from Star Trek comics, including the new Manga, for you soon.