The countdown actually gets dark in the penultimate issue of IDW Publishing’s prequel to Star Trek Into Darkness. Countdown to Darkness #3 will be released this week and April won’t leave anything to chance or Kirk. Spoilers ahead.
Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #3 (of 4)
Story by Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson, script by Mike Johnson, art by David Messina, ink assist by Marina Castelvetro, coloring by Claudia Scarletgothica, letters by Chris Mowry, creative consultant Anthony Pascale, edited by Scott Dunbier
Held captive, Sulu and Hendorff do their best to escape, while Kirk argues with April about joining Spock’s rescue attempt. They are interrupted by the arrival of Uhura and Mudd in a shuttle. Kirk ignores April’s advice. Spock finds Sulu and Hendorff but they get pinned down by enemy fire. Kirk and Uhura arrive in the shuttle just in time. Reconvening aboard the Enterprise with April and Mudd in tow, Kirk tries to make sense of the situation. Spock determines that the Klingons have been supplying April’s opposition and Kirk is appalled to learn that April might ignite an interstellar war. April is unrepentant. Using one of his old security codes, he takes command of the Enterprise, with Mudd hoping for an even bigger payday.
Never gonna fall in love?
Storytellers Orci and Johnson have done something really interesting in the third issue of Countdown to Darkness. A set of action sequences frames an introspective examination of duty and grief. After rescuing members of his crew, Kirk still has to deal with April’s request to intervene in spite of the Prime Directive. Learning that the Klingons are already involved further complicates the situation. Kirk also confronts Spock, at Uhura’s urging, about his recklessness. To Kirk’s surprise, Spock admits that he has put the needs of the few before the needs of the many. In some respects, this seems to be an education for Kirk as much as it is a revelation for Spock. I like the interplay between all the characters in this issue, made so much more relevant when April turns the tables on the entire crew of the Enterprise, taking control of the ship. I’m not quite sure what role Mudd is intended to play. Identified as her disreputable father’s daughter, she seems to be comic relief in this issue. If that’s all she is to this story, I’ll be disappointed. At any rate, we have a nice setup for the final issue of the mini-series.
Like the previous issues, the art by David Messina, Marina Castelvetro, and Claudia Scarletgothica is outstanding. The scenes on the planet’s surface and on the Enterprise complement the compelling story. Spock is the featured character blending into a starscape on David Messina’s cover for issue #3. Don’t cut yourself on his razor-sharp ear. The B cover is a photograph of Spock and Kirk with lots of lens flare. The retailer incentive cover is a CGC-graded and slabbed variant of Messina’s art cover. Only 100 copies are available. I still haven’t seen any of the previous CGC variants out in the wild. I wonder if the 250-copy purchase required to snag one of these variants is too steep for most comic book retailers, let alone mere mortal comic book fans? It doesn’t really matter, because IDW’s creative team is doing a terrific job with this prequel. And what does it tell us about the forthcoming film? Well, I leave that for you to argue in the comments. I’m simply enjoying this tale on its own merits.
Countdown to Darkness #3 will beam down to your local comic shop this Wednesday, March 20. Digital format is available the same day as print at read.idwpublishing.com, iTunes, IDW’s Star Trek app for iOS, and for Android in the comiXology app at Amazon or the comiXology app at Google Play. The trade paperback collection of Countdown to Darkness is scheduled for publication in late April, just before the new Star Trek film is released.
Preview of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #3
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.