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Library Computer: Review – “Star Trek Countdown” Trade Paperback April 7, 2009

by Robert Lyons , Filed under: Books,Comics,Review,Star Trek (2009 film),TNG , trackback

Today is the official release date of the of the trade paperback for the comic series, "Star Trek Countdown," the prequel for the new Star Trek movie. Many fans held off from reading the individual issues (reviewed here at TrekMovie), awaiting the TPB. So this week the Library Computer takes a bit of a side-trip to review the graphic novel and find out if it was worth the wait.

 


REVIEW – Star Trek: Countdown (Trade Paperback Edition)

 

[Warning: This review contains spoilers]

To appreciate the storyline of Countdown, one must first be able to accept the format in which it is told. Unlike a novel, the graphic format relies as much on still-imagery as words to convey the tale. Countdown is largely successful, with strong, recognizable art permeating the pages. A far cry from IDW’s first TNG comic book, Countdown shows outstanding graphic composition and a storyline to match. The story, while brief and very contained in scope, depends on the art to bring it to life. David Messina has done an outstanding job of developing an artistic vision for the series, and the color palate of Giovanno Niro gives a moody edge to the entire series. Looking from page to page the message seems clear: this isn’t your father’s Star Trek (comic).

From a production standpoint, Countdown features an impressive matte/glossy cover on sturdy stock, with heavy-weight interior pages. Each cover is reprinted within the book, with  the comic art cover on the ‘external’ page and ‘photo cover’ on the reverse. Also included in the comic is a thoughtful afterword from Orci and Kurtzman (which in and of itself is worth the price of admission!) as well as samples of concept art from Messina.


Messina’s art is very moody – and incorporates elements of the new movie

As noted in the afterword, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman became fans of Star Trek through the adventures of the Next Generation cast. Thus, it is fitting that even though this book is presented as a prequel to the Star Trek movie, the TNG cast are central to the unfolding of the story. While setting the stage for the new film is first and foremost on their minds, their outline, as given flesh by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones does an outstanding job of catching us up – perhaps for the last time – with the Next Generation crew before handing off (in the person of Spock) to a new plane of Trek-existence. Picard, Data, Worf and Geordi all play key roles in the story and are not just cameos.

The book leaves many stories waiting to be told are so many stories waiting to be told in the latter-half of the twenty-fourth century: What happened with Data? How did Worf become a general in the Klingon military? When did Jean-Luc become an ambassador? We may never get the answers to any of these questions, but the attention offered to the Next Generation crew was positive, and for this fan, the final pane of the story was the most fitting sendoff that the TNG crew could ever hope to receive. That being said, the book leaves the door open for more adventures for the TNG crew, so perhaps IDW will pick up on that storyline in a future series.

Even though the TNG sequel element is a major part of Countdown, the stated goal of the series is to tell the story of Nero, the villain played by Eric Bana in the new Star Trek movie. In Countdown we learn he is a mining captain who (at first) befriends Spock (still on Romulus decades after "Unification") when the elder Vulcan tries to warn of an impending danger to the Empire. Through the series we find out how that went wrong, why Nero is angry at Spock, how he tricked out his ship the Narada, and even why he has that crazy tattoo. But even with all that, Nero still comes off a bit like just another psychopathic, revenge motivated killer…one who will stop at nothing to pay back anyone and everyone who he believes stands in his way. His story sounds a lot like Khan’s in the wake of the death of Marla McGivers. Nothing wrong with TWOK, but hopefully Star Trek doesn’t turn in to another copy of Wrath of Khan.


‘Countdown’ dives into the back story for Nero

Of particular note is Spock and his arc throughout the story. Although some of the other dialog in the book is a bit awkward, with Spock, Johnson and Jones do an outstanding job of providing words that ripple with a Nimoy-esque undercurrent. In the latter portions of the book, Spock is very reminiscent of those audio-books that Leonard Nimoy read back in the early 1980’s. Messina also does well with Spock. His visage is done incredible justice, and everything about Countdown leads you to a deeper appreciation of the Spock character, and a more intense anticipation of seeing Nimoy in the new film. On element of note regarding Spock’s back story, the trade paperback corrects an error in the individual volumes concerning Spock – instead of a forty-year resident, he has now been a resident of Romulus for only twenty years.

In the end, Star Trek: Countdown is a must for any fan. There are not enough spoilers for the film to make much of a difference, and the background it provides more than makes up for any sense of loss that one might have of not learning some of these things in the theater. Also the trade paperback resolves the weakest link of the comic series, with each book feeling short. As a single volume, the story feels much more complete and those who waited, will be rewarded. Plus the TPB has those extra features (covers, concept art & Orci & Kurtzman afterward), enhancing the experience even more.

 
"Countdown (trade paperback)" is available at Amazon

NEXT TIME…
Coming up next (in a week or so) we will be reviewing "Star Trek: Vanguard: Open Secrets", the upcoming TOS era book set on board Starbase 47 by Dayton Ward (based on a story by Ward and Kevin Dilmore). Following that, in early May, we be reviewing Alan Dean Foster’s adaptation of the new "Star Trek" movie. Keep an eye out for Anthony’s exclusive interview with Foster, which should be up within a week. 

  
Our next books to review: "Vanguard: Open Secrets" [late April] and "Star Trek (movie novelization)" [early May]

Comments

1. George - April 7, 2009

This movie is going to rock a friend of mine in Austin was there last night (damm him) and saw the movie. He can’t wait to see it again.

2. Yammer - April 7, 2009

I have it on order at Golden Age Collectables in my home town of Vancouver, BC.

Four weeks and change to go. But may wait a week to let the crowd thin — want to see in IMAX.

Hopefully I get to review it — have begged film editor of Georgia Straight.

3. jotin - April 7, 2009

i want to buy it in the store for some reason…

4. Chris Dawson - April 7, 2009

Go get it!

5. Newman - April 7, 2009

I got my copy of Countdown last week. I accidentally ordered two.

(COUNTDOWN SPOILERS)

Although its a good story, I thought it was a bit of a stretch for Data to go from a dead lieutenant commander to a living Captain in only what…8 years? And Picard, an Ambassador? And Worf a General in the Klingon Defense Force? I have mixed feelings about those two new posts. I also have mixed feelings about the uniforms. I am still pretty attached to the First Contact uniforms. And if these STO uniforms are still in use in 2408…it just seems a bit soon to introduce them, since we have already seen late 24th century uniforms on screen in All Good Things and End Game. (To be fair, both of these episodes take place in alternate futures that unhappened.)

Anyway, I enjoyed it. It’s worth a read. My favourite part is near the end, just before the Narada and the Jellyfish become trapped by the singularity when Nero yells “You used me Spock!!!”

6. garen - April 7, 2009

though i wasnt too worried about the “40 years on Romulus” stuff…its cool that they decided to fix the 40 into a 20.

7. jas_montreal - April 7, 2009

BUY IT SO.

8. JustBob - April 7, 2009

I enjoyed the individual “Countdown” issues very much and I will grab the TPB as well.

I have read a few posts from various forums that indicate a bit of confusion regarding Nero’s drive for revenge after viewing the Austin premiere. I think a few fans failed to acquire “Countdown” and missed the back-story element.

9. Orin - April 7, 2009

The thing I found a “stretch” was related to the supernova. Supernova don’t explode faster than the speed of light – so there would have been years before a star that exploded outside the romulan system had any effect on Romulus. In the comic they have a star light years from Romulus explode and take out Romulus shortly after. Seriously. WTF?

They even had Spock looking through a telescope at the star from Romulus – as if the speed of light didn’t really matter. What Spock would have seen through the telescope was the star as it appeared years before.

Then there was a lot of stuff about how the exploding star was going to destroy the universe. No explanation. How does that work? It would have been decades before a supernova near Romulus would have been seen near Vulcan – yet in the comic it is a mad dash to get the maguffin into the supernova before it expands to consume what I guess is the entire alpha quadrant.

10. JustBob - April 7, 2009

RE:Orin

Within the realm of fiction sometimes plot overdrives logic.

11. Jim - April 7, 2009

@#5, everything data was before be died is now him again in the B4, so even though 8 years passed, data still had decades of experiences

12. HotStove - April 7, 2009

The afterword by Kurtzman and Orci is priceless. That wonderful, pre-internet summer of 1990, spent watching “Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1″ over and over and over again… maybe not the best episode ever, but it was a cliffhanger for the ages.

13. Carlos Teran - April 8, 2009

The only thing that bothers me in Countdown, is the supernova… and unless someone had a backup there… how in heaven’s name B4 rises in the ranks so fast??… I rest my case.

14. Valar1 - April 8, 2009

I’ve been critical of the characterization of Nero based on what I read here and other sites. I thought his motivations were thin to hang a movie on, but after having read the comic I think I got a better handle on him.

Apparently Spock’s scheme to neutralize the supernova is refused by the Romulan Senate and by the Vulcan government and the only help the Federation provides is in the form of Medical ships sent to evac Romulus. So of course, Nero blames all of these governments/planets for his world’s demise. And he blames Spock because he feels Spock only achieves the solution when Vulcan is threatened, rather than when Romulus was on the line. Good stuff. It’s certainly a bit more motivation than Khan had- he only lost his wife, here Orci et al seems to have said, ” I see your wife and I raise you your whole planet.”

Still, I don’t see Nero as the genius tactician that Khan was made out to be. I don’t see preKirk having any trouble outthinking Nero.

15. Alf, in pog form - April 8, 2009

Off topic, but if it isn’t already posted here somewhere, here is a link to the first australian review:

http://media.theage.com.au/entertainment/pick-of-the-flicks/first-star-trek-review-467193.html

(I didn’t pick up any spoilers in the review)

16. Paulaner - April 8, 2009

#6 “though i wasnt too worried about the “40 years on Romulus” stuff…its cool that they decided to fix the 40 into a 20.”

Fixing canon and continuity errors is a very nice touch. The actual writers care about Trek and fans.

17. Chris Pike - April 8, 2009

9. Orin – April 7, 2009

Agreed, sadly I suspect the adherence to science and astrophysics, both theory and fact, is not seen as important in this new breed of Trek. A great pity. The Nasa advisor seems to have been brought on board to help render visual depictions of outer space more accurate only, unlike TMP where Jesco Von Puttkamer contributed ideas including postulating the theory of warp drive mechanics. I read everything possible back then that he had written for Trek’s science, absolutely fascinating. I always felt previous Trek’s exploration of possible future science a vital strong backbone supporting some great stories and should be kept intact. I can’t see how it could detract from the drama (for the mainstream audience) if used properly.

18. Selor - April 8, 2009

@9

Possibly that is not refering to a simple Supernova but to an theoretical Hypernova, where the core of a star collapses instantly into a blackhole… and as far as I know it “could” lead to an devastating outburst of increasing matter and simply exotic matter and could lead to a shift of spacetime which could travel faster than light in relation to other regions of spacetime… so just add a bit more scientific technobabble and it works ;)

19. Valar1 - April 8, 2009

When Spock first raises the alarm about the supernova he is laughed at by the Romulan senate who rightly ask “how can a supernova threaten our entire empire”? To which Spock replies “this is unlike any previously known supernova”. I think that’s how they justify getting away from the hard science.

20. trekboi - April 8, 2009

i got the individual issues- read 3 1/2 of them- will leave the cliffhanger for the night b4 when i re read countdown and read the end.
i liked the story- but i dont know why the writers made picard an ambasador- this destroys any future voyages of the Enterprise E with picard as the captain- and undoes the open ending of Nemisis.
everything else was good- the art was spectacular.
everyone must have a copy!

21. Steve Roby - April 8, 2009

Countdown looks really good, but the story is nothing but technobabble and fanwank. It’s like one of Brannon Braga’s anomaly of the week episodes of Voyager on steroids. Not what I expected from a fresh new start for the franchise.

22. Jarod - April 8, 2009

Funny:
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SPOILERS!!!!!!!
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In the countdown comics, Romulus is destroyed by the Hobus star turning into a supernova. And that supernova for some reason threatens the entire galaxy. And Spock stops the supernova using “Red Matter”, created by Vulcan scientists on Vulcan. Something nobody else but the VULCANS could have done.

So now in the new movie, alternate timeline but still connected to the “canon” universe, Vulcan gets irreversibly destroyed by Nero. But that supernova will still threaten the entire galaxy, despite of all timeline violations Nero caused.

So that new fresh alternate reboot universe is doomed from the start.
*
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SPOILERS END
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23. Jarod - April 8, 2009

Having said that, I’m wondering if there’s actually an adverb to “irreversible” or if I made that up.

24. Mr. Fanboy - April 8, 2009

“Red Matter” WTF? The story made no sense whatsoever. Just a lot of Trek references and Trek-like situations thrown together to hopefully make an entertaining backstory for Nero. They even pulled out “Borg technology” from their limited bag of tricks! Didn’t work for me, hopefully it won’t matter insofar as the movie is concerned. The Spock in this story was praticaly unrecognizable as Spock to me. The closest it came was when he makes an indavertant joke in to the Romulan senate. That reminded me of ST:V’s “marshmellons” joke. And that’s not a good thing… Probably the best thing about the story was how it pretty much ignored (or atleast side-stepped) what happened to Data in Nemesis, which is totally fine with me.

Certainly it was presented well, Nice illustrations and glossy coloring. But,a gain, the story just was poor and I expected more from such talented writers. There appeared to be no regard whatsoever for science or a sence of scientific reality. My guess is they figured if Trek fans could buy the “genesis-wave” technology, why not red-matter (a black hole in a bottle?) but that was a bridge too far for me…

25. deleted - April 8, 2009

deleted by admin

26. HardCore Trekkie - April 8, 2009

#7 Buy it So….LOL

27. deleted - April 8, 2009

deleted by admin

28. AdamTrek - April 8, 2009

#22

You forget something. The Hobus star could be destroyed by a red-matter-induced-singularity in the alternate 23rd century to preempt the supernova in the 24th century, no?

Hence, Romulus is never destroyed to begin with, so Nero never goes back in time, Spock never goes back in time, and never messes with the timeline to begin with. Reset. But the quantum mechanics allows the alternate movie-verse to continue to exist for sequels.

It’s too darn confusing.

29. Jarod - April 8, 2009

The Hobus star is Romulus sun, as far as I know. So if you create a black hole in that star, Romulus is still destroyed.

30. RAMA - April 8, 2009

this may be the first novelization I ever bought

31. WhatInBlueBlazes?! - April 8, 2009

#9, #18-

I also reckoned that it was not an ordinary, vanilla-flavored supernova. In one early episode of TNG, it was mentioned that the huge and technologically advanced Tkon Empire, with its trillions of citizens, was wiped out by a supernova. I would imagine that the supernova that destroyed the Tkon was something along the lines of a Hobus supernova event.

32. Pragmaticus - April 8, 2009

I got it in the mail a few days ago. I thought it was very good.

33. Shat Hands - April 8, 2009

Fantastic!

My copy is winging it’s way from the States as I write this.

I can’t wait.

34. hmich176 - April 8, 2009

It’s a grandfather paradox.

Seriously, #28, you’re over thinking it. When Nero goes back in time, he creates an alternate universe. Once it’s created, it doesn’t go away.

Yesterday’s Enterprise merely showed us how the universe changed because the Enterprise-C moved into the future, and when it went back, it went back to normal. But, the universe still exists. It never went away; it just exists elsewhere.

35. Randy H. - April 8, 2009

#9

SPOILERS

REALLY, SPOILERS

I have the same issues you do with speed of light and physics in the comic. The shows and movies – by and large – have done a pretty good job with that over time. The novels and comics – not so much. This continues that trend. However . . . if you assume that the Hobus nova propogated a subspace wave that both converts matter into its own energy and travels at superluminial velocities, the distance to Romulus takes on less of a science strain. (Subspace has been used and abused for years in that regard, but it works to shore up the fictional universe.) The telescope however? Simply stupid if it is a real telescope as it appears. As was pointed out, Spock would be looking at the star years in the past. You have to assume that it is a viewer, tied into a sensor unit that is communicating via subspace (much like ship sensors) for it to make sense. It could work, but you need to assume some pretty illogical designs that Spock would use to scan a star that he feels is imminently dangerous.

In short, with some creativity you can get around these obvious mistakes made by people who really don’t care about the actual universe and how it works. But why should we have to work so hard? The beauty of Trek has been its love of science, and how – in the context of a fictional universe – it respects it. This comic – not so much. So A for effort, C- for results as to science.

(And that’s without getting to the non-science point where Spock makes a joke on Romulus based on the audience’s familiarity with Shakespeare’s Julius Caeser! Talk about illogic and stupidity for a cheap gag!)

36. Selor - April 8, 2009

@31 Ah yeah… I remember… I thin it is obvious that this had been an Inspiration for the Hobus Hypernova

37. brady - April 8, 2009

34# you forget that Sela is still in their timeline so therefore there wasn’t an alternate timeline.

38. falcon - April 8, 2009

#24 – If the writers of Star Trek adhered to known science every step of the way, there wouldn’t have *been* a Star Trek to write.

This is why it’s called “science-fiction.” There’s just enough science (or postulated science) to make it relatively believeable. If you don’t have that, it becomes fantasy.

39. falcon - April 8, 2009

@35 – Well, perhaps it’s called a “telescope” in the 25th century in much the same way a cellular communications device/internet appliance/messaging device is called a “phone” today. The basic function remains the same (looking at a star, voice-to-voice communication) but the method and technology are vastly different.

40. falcon - April 8, 2009

@37 – I think Sela was just a cheap trick to bring Denise Crosby back to the show. If the current theories of parallel/alternate universes holds, then when Enterprise-C went back 22 years to Narendra III to complete the battle with the Romulans, Tasha Yar might still have been captured, Sela might still have been born, but it would have been in someone else’s alternate universe. If sending the Enterprise-C back through the rift “corrected” the main timeline, Sela would be nowhere to be found, Yar would still have died on Armus’ planet, and (as shown in the episode) the Enterprise-D would simply have catalogued another momentary spatial anomaly and continued on her merry way.

Didn’t you pay attention to Doc Brown’s illustration in “Back To The Future II?” :-)

41. Joe_Cocolo - April 8, 2009

Hey I thought Romulans bleed green? Go back and see when Nero takes down the head of the Senate.

42. CJS - April 8, 2009

The supernova stuff is bad science, but Star Trek is littered with bad science, that’s what got Spock resurrected in the first place (Genesis Device, Protomatter) and killed Kirk in the second (Nexus), so I’m not expecting anything scientifically brilliant (or even accurate) out of this film.

43. New Horizon - April 8, 2009

40. falcon – April 8, 2009

Just means there hasn’t been a ‘main’ timeline for quite awhile. I guess everything we saw on Next Gen after that moment was a splintered off timeline, in order for Sela to appear.

44. Crusade2267 - April 8, 2009

I got it last week from Amazon. It rocked! Even my wife, who has spent the last two years being sick of me talking about the new movie, found it really good. Nero seems like a great villian. The art is great, they really capture the likenesses of the charicters. Geordi is particularly well done. Also, the relationship between Data and Geordi, which was missing from Nemesis, is done very well here!

45. RAMA - April 8, 2009

A simple story in Countdown, but I loved it…right from the presentation of the 24th century (and the E-E’s holographic displays) to the finale that leads into the movie. Its all done on a dynamic and large scale, as the movie appears to be. It should be a seamless intro.

46. Andrew C - April 8, 2009

It is hard for me to believe that Starfleet would promote Data to Captain.

If they acknowledged him in his original incarnation as sentient and not merely a machine, then when he died, he died. Would they not regard, rightfully or not, the rebooted Data in another physical body as a Xerox?

47. Andrew C - April 8, 2009

Then again, if we’re playing that game, Kirk would have been court martialed about 90 times and removed from command for the s#@t he pulled in TOS, and Picard would never have been allowed to command a ship after being Locutus.

48. Selor - April 8, 2009

@46 The same is for Spock… he died and was resurrected… and he still hold his rank of Captain… so that is nothing to worry about Data being resurrected and later being Captain of the Enterprise…

49. Michael Foote - April 8, 2009

Thats funny, I picked it up at Barnes & Noble on the 6th. Sounds like they sold it a day early.

50. Chadwick - April 8, 2009

The comics were great, probably going, no I am going to swing by the comics shop today to pick this up.

@7. jas_montreal. Indeed.

@14. Valar1, meh I liked Khan but he too was over hyped and was made out to be better then he seemed, I don’t think the character was all that great, superior intellect, and a tactician and he could not find the damn override! Khan was just way too dramatic for my taste, still a good movie, I still like Khan but he is NOT the apex of what a villain is.

@5. Newman. Yea I was going to say the (First Contact) uniforms with the new insignia with the two vertical bars, were never seen in the real time line only in alternate timelines, Voyager finally, Harry and Chakote go back to save Voyager. The First Contact uniforms were my favorite to but dark, I like the color they added to the top and the shapes of the shoulders, the Voyger/DS9 uniforms never did it for me until they were grey tops, but I like these. To be fare Data was lieutenant commander, Riker had his own ship, Picard became an ambassador, by the time Data was completely imprinted on B4 Picard could have requested Data be put in charge of the Enterprise.

@6. garen. Paulaner. What is wrong with 40 years on Romulus, that makes sense. We have no idea what Spock did after Undiscovered Country unless it is written that he taught at the academy or something, but go back 15 almost 20 years and the 1701 D is arriving at Farpoint, so to go back another 20 years from there does not seem unfathomable that Spock went to live on Romulus at that time. By the time Picard talked to Spock he was in the underground movement for a LONG time.

@17. Chris Pike. No doubt, being a Canadian I also LOVE how after TOS Star Treks used the PROPER system of measurement THE METRIC SYSTEM! Just like NASA!

@20. trekboi. Meh I am happy with Picard as an ambassador, Jainway became an admiral when she returned, and if you read the history captain Archer becomes ambassador to Andoria and also becomes one of the UFP presidents! So picard as an ambassador, I can live with that.

@24. Mr. Fanboy. I liked the comics but I will admit that I was missing a few things, ok many things that made it feel like Trek.

@28. AdamTrek. Yes but it was not the star Spock was trying to destroy it was the super nova. Which means if they had time Spock could have intercepted the nova way before it reached Romulus and had it sucked into the black hole nowhere near Romulus, which means Romulus would have been safe. Man all they had to do was time travel back one month and stopped all this lol. Where are the federation temporal agents, I thought they were watching lol.

@31. WhatInBlueBlazes?! That’s right, what was it, the age of Makto?

@34. hmich176. Yea no doubt, just the (evil) parallel universe, just because they are not in it does not mean it vanished into nothingness.

@ 42. CJS no doubt, its also littered with inconsistencies (Romulans have green blood not red) and too many canon breaches to name, which is why I am not making a big deal about what I might find wrong with this movie.

I am way too excited to nitpick this movie.

51. Ensign Ricky - April 8, 2009

My paperback arrived last Saturday. Was pretty cool.

52. WhatInBlueBlazes?! - April 8, 2009

@42 –

I think that was just an oversight or a trick of the light in the Narada transporter room, as the other Romulans in Countdown definitely bleed green.

53. Mike Ten - April 8, 2009

How do we know that the New Trek isn’t a mirror universe? In the Enterprise episode “A Mirror Darkly” the TOS era Defiant not only went into a mirror universe but back in time as well.

For all we know our “original” Trek universe is alive and well and ready for some direct to DVD adventures!

54. Closettrekker - April 8, 2009

#50—”What is wrong with 40 years on Romulus, that makes sense.”

Not if the goal is, as stated by Orci and Kurtzman, to set this period as 8 years after the events depicted in Nemesis.

“By the time Picard talked to Spock he was in the underground movement for a LONG time.”

Well—-”long time” is a relative term, but I don’t think the writers mean to suggest that Spock had been on Romulus for that long (nearly 2 decades) before being reported missing.

Spock is a well-known figure, and Picard seems genuinely surprised when Fleet Admiral Brackett informs him of his disappearance. And since Picard plays investigator of sorts with Perrin, it wouldn’t make any sense that he had been missing all that long. Perrin tells the captain that Spock tidied up all his affairs before leaving, ruling out the possibility of abduction.

The events depicted in “Unification” take place in 2368. 40 years later would place the events depicted in Countdown in the 25th Century—and not the 24th.

Nemesis takes place in 2379. Add 8 years to that, and it is 2386. If Spock has “made Romulus his home” for (roughly) 20 years, then that’s about right.

I think it was a prudent correction.

55. OneBuckFilms - April 8, 2009

I still haven’t gotten Countdown #4, and I ordered it via Subscription from IDWs web site.

I guess they are having issues due to demand?

56. MARA (I'M NOT KLINGON) - April 8, 2009

Hi everybody!
I’m in Italy and I received this morning the paperback.
I’m planning to read it this evening.
Unfortunately, here there is any preview of the movie planned, not even a “10 minutes” or so.
I hope to see the movie not later than may.
(Sorry for possible mispelling)
A big hug

57. LCDR T'Pau - April 8, 2009

Re: Orin

It isn’t just “poetic” or “editorial” license to use as fact science that is NOT scientific fact. One of the best things about any of the Star Trek iterations was that the science was always checked — and in many cases, what appeared was theoretical but therefore possible. Many of the devices created by props and special effects for the series have become or are becoming real — and the ideas based on theoretical science are being researched with some success by universities all over the world. The speed of light and other principals of physics and astro-physics are facts — they affect how things react and function in the vacuum of space. If these have been ignored for the sake of plot or movie-making — not good.

58. Anthony Pascale - April 8, 2009

yes some people did get their TPB before yesterday, but yesterday was the official release and we agreed to do our review on the official day.

59. Closettrekker - April 8, 2009

#57—-Like using the “slingshot effect” around the sun to travel back in time?

Upon what theory of science was that one based?

I think you’re putting Star Trek’s adherence to science on a pedestal that’s a little too high, IMO.

It always comes down to this—-it’s just a movie. Star Trek was always “loose” science fiction—with emphasis on the “fiction” part.

60. Darkowski - April 8, 2009

I received the paperback last Thursday (april 2).
It`s a beautiful piece of art :-D

61. Davina - April 8, 2009

I want to throw this out there: anyone who is looking to see the movie in IMAX will need to do so in the first two weeks the movie is out for general release … it’s going to be FREAKIN’ amazing in that format!!!

62. starfleetmom - April 8, 2009

I love mine. I got it a couple of weeks ago because I pre-ordered from Amazon.com. It’s my first comic book and I love it.

63. Randy H. - April 8, 2009

#59 – The “slingshot effect” is a theory of time based on warp technology (unknown basis) and gravity (not fully understood). It does not have an exact scientific basis as neither are fully known to 21st century people. Is it made up for effect? Absolutely. Is it scientifically impossible? Maybe . . . but given what we do know about gravity and time a relationship (when you throw warp into it) that results in time travel is not so outlandish. Trek is not as loose with science as you may think – although it has its issues here and there it is much more respected by actual scientists than some other so-called science fiction shows (I’m looking at you, Star Wars and BSG!)

64. Shadowcat - April 8, 2009

I received my copy of the Countdown TPD in the mail from Amazon yesterday. I am a huge fan of graphic novels and this is my favorite. The art and the story were excellent in my opinion. This book paves the way for crucial events the movie. I really enjoyed the relationships and obvious affection between Picard and his former shipmates. It was well worth the wait! I am so looking forward to May 8th.

65. Phil 123 - April 8, 2009

Booked my Ticket to see this in the BFI IMAX today, I’ve seen both full length trailers there (Dark Knight re-release and Watchmen), and Star Trek is deffinatly meant to be 26 metres wide!!

can’t wait for 7th of May!! and so annoyed that the bar clip is not availible in UK (the youtube upload is too crappy to really tell whats happening)

66. Mike Stivic - April 8, 2009

Countdown has been in the top 100 at Amazon for most of the week. I noticed it at #62 today. This is probably one of the best-selling Star Trek books in a long time.

I hope that the new movie causes both IDW and Pocket Books to see a big increase in sales for all of their Star Trek titles.

67. Capt Mike Of The Terran Empire - April 8, 2009

I did talk to a frend of mine who got to see the Movie here in Austin and he told me that the Movie will Blow you away and that canon will be taken care of. Would not tell me more then that and of corse i would not let him. I was in line to see what i thought was Trek 2 and the 10 minutes i heard about. But when i heard the next day it was the entire movie i was deeply depresed that i was right there and could not get in. Oh well. I just put my self in stasis till May the 8th.

68. Mr. Fanboy - April 8, 2009

Has anyone mentioned that there’s also a short Start Trek comic tie-in in the May issue of Wired magazine? It’s titled “When Worlds Collide” by Paul Pope & K/O. It’s pretty short, (only 6 pages: 112-117) but I almost like lt more than Countdown, if only because it had a much more interesting and believable portrayal of Spock in those 6 pages than in all of Countdown.

SPOILERS…

Countdown definitely falls into the category of “science-fantasy” for me, and I don’t like that flavor of Trek. Sure, there’s tons of examples of good Trek stories that have little or no contemporary scientific basis. My guess is that the authors were trying to partially ape the success of TWOK by including some fantastical scientific MacGuffin technology: for “Genesis Wave” subsitute (ick) “Red Matter”. But it just doesn’t work. And beyond that, whereas TWOK worked because of it’s incredible focus on character and motivation, Countdown just didn’t have anything beyond the surface fanboy details.

I find Nero’s entire motivation arc very difficult to swallow. He want’s to destroy Vulcan because Spock said he’d be able to save Romulus using Red Matter from Vulcan, and failed? Really, that’s his motivation?! He wants to kill someone that tried to help, and failed? I suppose that could actually work in the hands of better writers, but the stage was not set properly and it played out as pure plot contrivance.

Oh, and I also bought my copy at Barnes & Noble early last week. So much for release dates…

69. Sam Belil - April 8, 2009

I bought the trade paper back last week at my local Barnes & Noble, read it four times. I LOVED it, thought it was a great great “backstory to the story”. Very well written. And for those of you who read it and were caught off-guard (as I was) by a certain shocking scene — we can only assume that “changes” after the TOS timeline (now that there is no question) is altered.

70. Nero=Bitch - April 8, 2009

#9 Orin… NORMALLY Supernovae don’t proliferate at or faster than the speed of light to the extent the Hobus supernova did in Countdown..but in Countdown #3 Spock mentioned that it was behaving in a most-peculiar manner… leading me to believe that an external force drove the supernova’s expansion…in Voyager, during that Q civil war, explosions in the Continuum manifested as fast-moving supernovae…additionally, given the red matter curve, and we have no idea what red matter is, for all we know red matter might be the result of a botched Section 31 attempt to breed Pah-Wraiths, and the unusual activity of the Hobus supernova could be the Pah-Wraiths getting pissed off and wreaking revenge

71. Valar1 - April 8, 2009

68

“I find Nero’s entire motivation arc very difficult to swallow. He want’s to destroy Vulcan because Spock said he’d be able to save Romulus using Red Matter from Vulcan, and failed? Really, that’s his motivation?! He wants to kill someone that tried to help, and failed? I suppose that could actually work in the hands of better writers, but the stage was not set properly and it played out as pure plot contrivance.”

I felt the same way before I read the book, but afterwards I saw how there’s a lot of mistrust floating around Spock. The Romulan Senate distrusts his loyalties- they think he’s acting as a Vulcan agent to take their Decalithium and destabilize the Romulan government financially. The Vulcans distrust him because he’s a legal Romulan citizen now, and believe he just wants the Red matter refinement process to build better weapons for Romulus.

Another suspicious move, from a Romulan viewpoint, is when the Vulcans refuse to give the Red matter refinement process to Spock, he asks Nero for the decalithium anyway. Nero gives it up, but later, after Romulus is gone, he sees how Spock magically has Red matter ready and is using it now that Vulcan is threatened. If you add all that up, it’s easy for a suspicious mind to jump to the conclusion that Spock was only trying to protect Vulcan, not Romulus, and that Nero was used towards this goal. I think it’s the assumption of being used by Spock that makes him so furious.

I really wish the comic writer had more space, or more skill to flesh that out, but that’s what I got out of it, using some imagination and extrapolation based on what little was on the page.

72. Chadwick - April 8, 2009

Lol I just picked it up and have the countdown trade paperback in my hands, and she looks nice, just with a quick flip through the extra little bits are cool. Going to have a nice cup of java, (smoke em if you got em,) and read this beauty countdown.

Since I have read the comics, and comented there is not much more to say that has not already been said. The story is acceptable, a nice tie in to the movie (I’m not expecting anything from the comics to be in the movie.) The drawing and inking great, colouring is exceptional (that is what impressed me the most,) character development is somewhat lacking but thats just because this is a short comic and they have been developed on TV and in the movie. With the exception of Nero the characters were not really developed, just a quick updated, in a nutshell.
Overall prequel tie-in A-
Overall presentation A+

@54. Closettrekker. True enough, I forgot about that little tidbit in the reunification episodes where Perrin mentions Spock taking care of his affairs. Yea 20 years sounds right, I was just thinking Vulcan life spans, all of Spock’s accomplishments, that 40 years on Romulus would be a short time for a Vulcan and not seem out of place, but Perrin shuts it down, she just shuts it down.

On that note:

Star Trek is replete with inconsistencies, we push them to the back of our minds as to not let it diminish our pleasure and joy, to let the story proceed that is, until we want to debate them. So I say let this movie pass, push the inconsistencies to the back of our minds, debate it for another day, and just have fun when you see this movie. I know I will, ill be a 25 year old who feels like he is 8.

73. Jorg Sacul - April 8, 2009

ok, I’m going to Downtown Comics right now to get this… brb… ;-)

74. Jorg Sacul - April 8, 2009

wow.. Hurry up May 8th! I wonder how many times I’ll re-read this? 10? 20?

75. ServantWarrior - April 8, 2009

Just bought and read it. I’ve never read graphics novels before, at least in my adult life, but thoroughly enjoyed Countdown. I know I’ll revisit it as the Star Trek release date approaches. It was a great read with wonderful artwork. It definitely gets my recommendation (for what that’s worth. :-) )

76. BaronByng - April 8, 2009

Chronological note, the century that begins with the year 2400 is the 25th century; the 24th century is 2300—2399, just as the 20th century was 1900-1999.

77. Okie Trekker - April 8, 2009

Is there going to be a comics adaptation of the movie itself? It would sure be nice to be able to read the whole story, prequel and adaptation, back-to-back.

78. sean - April 8, 2009

#50

“By the time Picard talked to Spock he was in the underground movement for a LONG time.”

Nope. Watch ‘Unification’ again. The reason Picard was sent to find Spock was because he had recently disappeared. Also refer to the dialog between Perrin and Picard and it’s made pretty clear that Spock had not lived on Romulus for long.

79. sean - April 8, 2009

#9, 17, etc.

We aren’t really going to pretend Star Trek gets science right the majority of the time, are we? TOS was full of scientific gaffes, and by the time VOY came around they peppered the scripts with science terms but frequently got them wrong. This would be nothing new. In terms of goofy star science, just re-watch ‘Generations’.

80. Third Remata'Klan - April 8, 2009

Waitaminute, this thing’s already been released?

How come Amazon is telling me I’m not going to get it until the beginning of May? :(

81. Randy Hall - April 8, 2009

My only concern is that this is a time travel story. In things like that, the universe or starship can be destroyed, but the heroes put things back where they were, courtesy of what we called the Reset Button. World’s come flying back together and people who have died bounce back. I hope this won’t the be case in the monie.

And I want to take a moment to that TrekMovie for covering the Trek comics. I’ve been a fan of both Trek and comics for plenty of years, and I’m glad the IDW comics are discussed here.

82. sherlockfreak - April 8, 2009

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that they changed it to be 20 years instead of 40 that Spock had been on Romulus. For Spock to be as old as he looks, 40 years makes more sense. But 20 years makes more sense for seeing Picard, Geordi, and Worf… so I dunno. Whatever, it’s all good.

I bought them all individually, but I think I’m gonna have to get the TPB for the concept art and afterward. Looks better on a shelf, too. :)

83. bluedawg - April 8, 2009

In reference to Nero being too close to Khan’s character, Khan wanted to destroy one person, Kirk, for the death of his wife. He was just willing to wipe out whoever stood in his way of killing the one man who conquered him. Nero, though, is not only driven by the death of his wife but the death of the Romulan Empire, which he loved almost if not as much as his wife, and his deathwish is for Vulcan, Earth, and Quo’noS. So I believe its a much deeper hatred. Hopefully that translates to the screen! No one so far has showed hate in ST better than Khan. We shall see!

84. Oktoberfest - April 8, 2009

Douglas Adams tried to explain this, but the science of infinite space cannot be grasped by the Neocene human brain. “Space is big, really big. You may think it’s a long way to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

If the entire local cluster (MW, Andromeda, and 50 other entire galaxies) suddenly exploded , it would be exactly the same as lighting a firecracker in your front yard. A firecracker cannot and does not affect the Earth.

Light from Sol travels 8 minutes to Earth. Light from some random distant quasar travels 13…billion…years to Earth. Let’s say hey, what the heck, this is scifi, we can do anything we want; let’s make this natural phenomenon so amazing that it can travel “ludicrous speed” (ie, they’ve gone to plaid). If this affects the universe, then we assume that it either travels from here to the edge, or from the edge to here. At *one million times* the speed of light, that is thirteen thousand years…

Nothing can “threaten the universe”. Nothing.

85. Leonel - April 8, 2009

Got mine on Monday, read it just now, and am glad I waited to read the whole story in one sitting. Maybe I’ll have to buy a second copy, just so I can have at least ONE which doesn’t get worn out over time.. ;)

Loved it. I didn’t give much thought to the science built into the story until I read these posts. Even then, didn’t change my opinion. That’s all I ever want, really.. just a good story.

Dammit, the anticipation!! The wait!! May 8th cannot get here soon enough…!!

86. pb - April 8, 2009

the 24th century is 2300—2399, just as the 20th century was 1900-1999.

Actually, the 20th century was 1901-2000, the 24th century is 2301 to 2400. There is no year 0, only year 1.

87. noirgwio - April 9, 2009

@56 MARA: Your message was very well written, no worries! =) I haven’t gotten this book yet, can’t wait! And I have to wait to see the film on May 8th, I don’t have the ability to watch clips – but the trailers that came with Quantum of Solace & Watchmen, at least in the USA were tight! My family is of Italian decent, I love that, it’s cool to see someone in IT representing!

88. sean - April 9, 2009

By the by, you can also reference TUC for ‘subspace shockwaves’ that clearly travel faster than light and effect distant ships & planets great distances away.

89. Muziahaki - April 9, 2009

Got mine a week ago from Amazon. Read it. Loved it. The characterizations are spot on. When Spock, Data, Picard, Geordi, and Worf were each introduced it was like meeting up with old friends. Superb writing up there with the best of Trek. Can’t wait for the film.

90. JP Saylor - April 9, 2009

#5 : Might you want to donate that extra? lol

91. noirgwio - April 9, 2009

Oh yes, just bought mine at Barnes & Noble a few hours ago! I flipped through, but will probably wait to read it til I’m done with Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind. (Harbinger and Summon the Thunder were killer!) Or at the very least, just before May 8th… To bone up.

92. vorta23492392932939230 - April 9, 2009

What I want to know is:

How will the Pocket Books series deal with these events?

The stardates given for Star Trek: A Singular Destiny (which I haven’t read up to yet!) are 58307.7-58322.2, and the opening of Countdown has the stardate as 64333.4, which I think works out to be about a 5 year gap.

So potentially this can be seen as what the Destiny novels and thereafter are leading up to (which to my knowledge doesn’t yet include Data’s rebirth, but that was to be expected to happen somehow eventually!) and hopefully the Pocket authors will do something nice to bring the books into continuity with the events of Countdown, especially considering the unliklihood of ever seeing Picard, Data, and Worf on screen ever again.

I wouldn’t mind hearing the story of how Picard gives up command, Data is ressurected, and Worf goes full Klingon in the intervening years.

93. Hadrosaur Dave - April 10, 2009

I pre-ordered my copy of the trade paperback some time ago at BN.com. The site has said it “Usually ships in 24 hours” for over a week. However, when I called to find out when mine was shipping, they said it wouldn’t be until April 15! However, there were copies sitting at the local Barnes & Noble. I canceled my order with BN.com and picked up a copy locally. Looking forward to reading it now — but that was quite a frustrating shopping experience.

I’m hoping I don’t have a similar problem with the soundtrack album, that I also pre-ordered.

94. noirgwio - April 11, 2009

Re: 92, Vorta… I think it’s probably a non-issue. That is to say, much like the new film will be a different timeline or dimension to TOS, Countdown and the novels are different too. Picard still is tery much Enterprise’s daddy in the books, yet in Countdown he takes on a different roll. These stories are likely to be set in alternate dimensions, unrelated to each other. Maybe they’ll sinc up down the line, or they will remain seperate. They’re both killer either way!

95. thereare4lights - April 12, 2009

For everybody who thinks the supernova plot is unfairly criticized: do you really want to bring Star Trek to the Space ’99 science-fiction level ?

96. noirgwio - April 12, 2009

I broke down and read Countdown during a brief hiatus from VAN: Reap the Whirlwind, and it was good. I loved all the little nods to TNG, in the end, I’m really left wanting more… More of the Spock/Trek09 story, yes. But this new story for the TNG crew too!

97. Doktor Mandrake - April 16, 2009

IF ANYONE IS STILL WORRIED ABOUT SPOILERS THERE ARE LARGE AREAS OF COUNTDOWN PLOT DISCUSSED HERE

Having just read the graphic novel (I consider it too well constructed and executed to term it a ‘comic’) and being a trek fan of many many years I would like to make a few comments.

It seems to me that most posters criticizing Countdown just haven’t read it particularly carefully. People are getting caught up in knots about whether things might or might not be possible based on things we don’t understand and then of course there are the canon pointers.

I will restrict myself largely to issue 1 for reasons of post length, but for this reason only.

In general there seem to be enough pointers that the supernova in particular is not behaving as one might expect that any criticisms about speed of light/amount of damage feasible are pretty baseless. If strange things that don’t make sense happening because something or other upsets subspace in some way aren’t canon then unfortunately pretty much everything but TOS is stuffed. Get over it, these plot points aren’t that bad, and as is pointed out by many trek ‘science’ isn’t so squeaky clean that it’s fair to use it as a club to beat something you had no intention of liking in the first place. If you can do better, go and get published.

When considering reboots/re-imaginings people seem to only really be able to think of BSG. I would imagine any graphic afficionados would consider it rude that the ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ or even Frank Miller’s ‘Dark Knight Returns’ is never mentioned as a successful reboot.

Wikipedia has a very good article on ‘reboot (fiction)’ for anyone wishing to research before flaming further. Both the fantasy reboots mentioned above were generally good things for anyone appreciating a more mature story line, although both greatly annoyed many self styled ‘true fans’ initially as they basically threw away accepted Canon when it became too cumbersome. I have no problem accepting the well-executed graphic novel alongside high-brow old-school SF, but possibly this is a generational thing.

Having just had my general rant, on to some considered specifics:

Most definitely Nero considers that Spock used him. He says so (P19, issue 4). The first few pages of issue 1 make it clear that Nero was actually a good captain in the moral sense before he broke. Various charecterisations of Klingons or even Romulans would have been likely to abandon the crew on the surface rather than risk sending a shuttle to beam them off and hitting the escape button only when they are back on board. He clearly cares about his people.

As has been previously put forward, the Romulan Senate ignored Spock and laughed the threat out of court. (‘Preposterous!’, ‘How can ONE STAR destroy an EMPIRE?’) Their basis was that they didn’t believe a supernova at that range could impact their way of life and that as Decalithium was so rare and valuable, anyone wanting lots obviously intended to try to destabilize their economy. (‘Where do you expect to find the technology for that?’ ‘Vulcan’ ‘Vulcan?’ … ‘This is all a vulcan plot!’ … ‘…Decalithium is a rare and valuable raw material in the Empire. We will not willingly hand it over to the Vulcans, despite your well-intentioned supplications’)(ps 9 & 10 i1). Nero then calls out from the public gallery that he has seen this phenomena first hand and that he believes they should at least take a closer look. They thank Nero for his comments but still say ‘No., basically writing it off in much the same way our own politicians have treated activists concerned at Global Warming over the past couple of decades. Nero brands the senate ‘Bureaucratic fools’.

Nero then decides to throw in with Spock in an attempt to save the Empire, regardless of the fact that if caught ‘hanging will be the least of our problems’ (p14, i1). His heavily pregnant wife consoles him as he comes to the conclusion that he must betray his empire to save it by telling him that so long as he does what he knows is right he cannot fail. (para, but p11 i1). He then goes to see Spock. He offers the services of his ship and crew and advances a plan that he knows the location of a good source of Decalithium that they could go and mine, and take straight to Vulcan. Spock gives the legalistic warning that basically Nero’s life would be over if he were to help in such a way. Spock presumably at this point fears a trap, hence the caution. Nero then makes his big loyalty speech ‘…But if I do nothing I lose them all the same. This is not a decision I make lightly. After my wife, there is nothing I love more than the Empire and I will do anything to save it.’ (p12, i1). Spock then offers to show Nero the star.

This is the much debated ‘telescope’ scene. The device outwardly resembles a telescope. However it is clearly overlaying analytical data on the viewed image (not legible) and has a science station-like menu structure down the side (partially hidden by speech bubble) It would seem extremely unlikely that this is a regular optical instrument. Apart from anything else, a regular telescope would be destroying eyesight with an image like that. Also, why would a highly regarded member of the highly technologically advanced 24th century need to muck about with a tube full of glass when sensors are so common-place? It may seem an anachronistic form for a scanning device, but it’s actually quite well suited to the simple roof garden Spock is holding this audience in. Unless he has very messy builders he seems to appreciate having a rock garden of sorts to contemplate. Looking at the cityscape beyond his terrace this would seem to indicate ascetic tastes rather than local norm. This would seem to be in character for a Vulcan.

I regard Countdown as a good thing. I do consider that it’s a bit wild in scope saying that one ship might simultaneously be a credible threat to three empires but be vulnerable to the actions of a single comparatively ancient vessel, but I want to see this! At the moment I trust the movie will be blinding!

98. noirgwio - April 16, 2009

Yes, it’s quite good portent… C’mon May 8th!!

99. kitofnine - May 17, 2009

It wasn’t until after I read Countdown that I really became overtly excited about the new movie.
Countdown is amazing, it’s just amazing.

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