Sitting around a conference table with angry aliens talking diplomatic smack? Yes, Picard and the Next Generation crew are back on the job in the first installment of a five-issue mini-series from IDW Publishing due out Wednesday. TrekMovie has an early review.
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Ghosts #1
written by Zander Cannon, art by Javier Aranda and German Torres-Ruiz
Responding to a distress call in the Allios system, the Enterprise finds a damaged shuttle belonging to the Republic of Juulet in geosynchronous orbit over Dorossh, a rival nation-state and bitter enemy. Riker’s away team brings a badly injured and delerious Juuletian scientist, Uul, back to sickbay. Although Juulet has applied for Federation membership, their application has been on hold due to the ongoing civil war with Dorossh. Nevertheless, Picard wants to know what happened to the shuttle and why. An attempt to clear the air and mediate rising tensions ends inconclusively. Back aboard the Enterprise, Uul’s injuries won’t heal and Crusher is mystified. Uul also insists that he sees ghosts and Picard is one of them.
Writer Zander Cannon has turned back the chronometer (or perhaps not set it so far ahead in the 24th century) to tell a story that fits easily into the first seven years of Next Generation missions. Unlike most recent Star Trek comics from IDW, Ghosts is heavy with dialogue, telling a complex story with all of the seriousness and deliberation we grew accustomed to in the television series. I don’t think this story will appeal to a new generation of Trekkies weaned on Star Trek (2009), but those of you who grew up with the Enterprise-D will feel right at home. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen dead people on the Enterprise. We’ll see how dead they really are as the story unfolds over the remaining four issues. Cannon is also an artist, but he sticks to storytelling for this job. He has done some distinguished work in the comics industry, but let’s not forget that he can also tell tales of the Tick universe, like Chainsaw Vigilante.
Just when I thought the Italians had a stranglehold on Trek comic art, IDW hires Spanish artists Javier Aranda and German Torres-Ruiz (inker) to complement Cannon’s story. In some ways, their work reminds me of the first Next Generation mini-series published by DC Comics back in 1988 with art by Pablo Marcos and Carlos Garzon. Back then, Picard and his crew were drawn with oddly contorted or elongated bodies. That crew is back for Ghosts but, thankfully, the uniforms aren’t quite as skintight. Overall, I found the artwork both detailed and interesting, but I’m pretty sure some folks will carp about inconsistencies. I don’t worry about the little things when they don’t get on the way. John Hunt does a nice job coloring this issue and Robbie Robbins lettered Ghosts #1.
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Ghosts #1 has two covers. The regular cover by Joe Corroney features his photorealistic portraits of Picard, Crusher, Data and Riker. Corroney’s portraits of Star Trek characters are particularly well done. So good, in fact, that people who haven’t seen the original art complain that he must be photoshopping photographs. The retailer incentive cover presents his artwork without trade dress.
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Ghosts looks to be an interesting mini-series. Issue #1 will be in local comic shops this Wednesday. If you don’t like to be seen lurking in comic shops, a trade paperback collection will be published June 2010 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.
Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.