Sulu’s back, and he’s in charge of the USS Excelsior, complete with Lieutenant Rand at his side on communications. On his plate today? Only the matter of a minor rescue from a supernova, a Tholian schedule, and a fencing partner to defeat. In other words, just a day in the life of the starship captain named Hikaru Sulu. Read on for the review of the first issue of IDW’s newest Star Trek comic series, "Captain’s Log."
CAPTAIN’S LOG: SULU REVIEW
Set shortly after Sulu’s ascendancy to the captaincy of the Excelsior (around 2288-2290), the first issue of the new Captain’s Log anthology series is out and presents a story about a captain that fans keep clamoring for more stories about. Previous stories focusing on Sulu’s adventures have included the novel Forged in Fire and the Captain Sulu Adventures from Simon and Schuster Audioworks, but this is the first comic story to focus on Sulu’s time aboard the Excelsior since "Tests of Courage" back in the DC days.
Written by Scott and David Tipton, the story focuses on a carefully scheduled diplomatic encounter with the Tholians. As per usual, any time any schedule is made with the Tholians, something inevitably throws something of a wrench into the works. The story begins with Sulu and his new first officer, Cirpiano, fencing before a message from Admiral Renshaw interrupts them to inform them of the pending meeting with the Tholians about a Federation colony on Mirabi 5.
Like John Byrne in one of his recent Romulan stories, the Tiptons take this opportunity to (quickly) revisit an old episode from the Original Series television show, giving a brief summary of the entire episode in a single page of three panels (who knew that Star Trek could be summed up so easily?), quickly reminding the reader of Sulu’s prior encounter with the Tholians in "The Tholian Web". Between the opening fencing match and the recap, the stage is set for the events of the rest of the story as Sulu is forced to use his diplomatic wiles to avoid another disastrous encounter with the Tholians.
Federica Manfredi (from David Messina’s studio) provides the artwork for this issue, and her art is similar in style to Messina’s, but has enough differences to distinguish her. The likenesses of characters we know well (Sulu and Rand) look very close to the actors that portrayed them, the uniforms fit the era perfectly, and the display graphics in the background bring out a strong feel for what the bridge looked and felt like in both "The Undiscovered Country" and "Flashback". Her imagery of starships at warp looks and feels exactly like the style seen in the early movies, and does not attempt to retcon the more "modern" style onto the older era.
The colors, provided by 2B Studios, are vibrant and jump off the page, suiting the timeframe of the story. Most of the exteriors look like they came from the sixth movie, while the interiors have a comfortable combination of the movie era with the warmth from the Voyager era. Some of the most striking colored panels are those set in open space, as the star fields almost look like images from the Hubble telescope. One shot even shows a Tholian web, complete with the strands glowing in space, casting an eerie glow on the page.
David Messina presents the cover art, showing a static shot of Sulu in front of traditional Samurai gear, while the retailer’s image is a photograph of Sulu sitting in his command chair. The cover art has little to do with the story, but is a nice image of Sulu all the same.
This is a decent story to start off the "Captain’s Log" series, showing a day in the life of Hikaru Sulu. This issue shows the potential for the rest of the series. If the series can keep this level, then the anthology should be a decent one. This series will run like the previous "Alien Spotlight" series, with a different focus in each issue and a different writer. Also like that series, the issues will be periodic. Hopefully there will not be too much of a delay between issues. Look for an update from TrekMovie on the next planned issues of "Star Trek: Captain’s Log."
Captain’s Log: Sulu arrives in comic shops today, Wednesday January 13th, and you can also pick it up at TFAW.com.