The countdown to Star Trek Into Darkness continues this week with the release of the fourth and final issue of Countdown to Darkness from IDW Publishing. Klingons, Kirk, April, Keenser, intrigue and SPOILERS ahead. Ok, maybe more Scotty than Keenser, but there’s lots of stuff happening, including the trade paperback for those of you who’ve been waiting.
Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #4 (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
In control of the Enterprise, April negotiates with the Klingons, offering the Federation starship in exchange for making him Governor of Phadeus IV. He sees this as the only way to save the Phaedans he’s protecting. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock make for the bridge via the Jeffries tubes, while Scotty is tasked with taking back control of the main computer. April is a step ahead, nearly trapping them in the tubes, until Scotty turns off the Enterprise just as a large Klingon ship arrives, commanded by Kor. While the ships’s systems are down, the crew takes back the bridge and Kor prepares a boarding party. Against his better judgement, Kirk takes the Enterprise and runs, avoiding war but leaving Phaedus to the Klingons. Spock and Uhura reconcile. April and Mudd are prisoners. Admiral Marcus orders Mudd into the custody of Starfleet Intelligence. Pike informs Kirk that April’s program code and actions have been classified. Kirk is furious, but follows his orders. In London, at a Starfleet Data Archive security console, access is granted to John Harrison.
Even the Klingons are impressed!
Like 2009’s prequel, Countdown, the last panel in Countdown to Darkness leads directly to the movie, to be continued onscreen in Star Trek Into Darkness 05.17.13. There is one significant difference. No one had to read the prequel before seeing Star Trek, but if you did, you knew why Nero was so naughty. Countdown completely illumninated events that shaped Nero’s rage and actions. The story told in Countdown to Darkness is different; a puzzle without a solution. I feel a bit like Kirk when he’s told to forget about what’s happened. He wants an answer. I’m sure no one has to read the prequel to enjoy the new film, but I hope the movie answers my questions about the prequel.
I was moderately entertained by events that occur in the final issue of this mini-series, but frustrated by what’s missing. I’m basically a clueless reader of comics, enjoying them as entertainment and seldom reading analytically. That said, I was hoping to learn more in this final episode of the story, but I don’t think I did. There’s something there, but I’ll have to wait for the movie to understand how this comic ends. That’s ok. Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson want my butt in a movie theater seat and that’s what they’ll get. I was disappointed that Mudd is essentially mute and forgotten in this issue. What happens to her? Does she play a role in the movie? I don’t know what happens to April either, but it’s difficult to imagine the film unreeling without learning more about his fate. And our Starfleet heroes? Younger than their Prime counterparts, their personalities seem different, influenced and shaped by different forces and events. I grew up with the original series, but I’m finding the new Trek kids really interesting and entertaining too.
As with all the previous issues, I’m pleased with the work of all the artists. David Messina is one of the preeminent Star Trek comics artists. Marina Castelvetro and Claudia Scarletgothica are equally capable. Together, they’ve carefully choreographed the art as complement to the story. Messina’s art cover for issue #4 features a helmeted Klingon; presumably Kor. This cover is the lower right quadrant of the delta reproduced on the cover art for the trade paperback. There is a CGC-graded retailer incentive cover. The retailer incentive photo cover features John Harrison facing Kirk in a holding cell, much like a similar scene in the comic, where April is facing Kirk. What does this mean? My head will probably explode if I think too hard about this. If you’re in Canada, for Ottawa Comiccon, May 10 to May 12, 2013, grab a copy of the retailer exclusive edition of Countdown to Darkness #4 while you’re there and send me a postcard.
Preview of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #4
Countdown to Darkness #4 will be available at your local comic shop Wednesday, April 10. 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.
Also available this week
Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness
Mike Johnson (w) • David Messina (a & c)
The countdown to the motion picture event of 2013 begins here, in this blockbuster 4-issue prequel mini-series that sets the stage for the upcoming STAR TREK film! Like the best-selling STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN in 2009, this all-new series leads directly into the next movie, with a story by STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson (STAR TREK ongoing series), and drawn by the original STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN artist, David Messina! STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS is the can’t-miss lead-in to the new adventures of the Enterprise crew!
TPB • FC • $17.99 • 104 pages • ISBN 978-1-61377-623-0
Star Trek Space-Spanning Treasury Edition
Mike Johnson (w) • Stephen Molnar (a) • Tim Bradstreet (c)
IDW continues to boldly go where no comic book company has gone before—producing beautiful treasury editions of comics deserving of a BIG format! Collecting three issues fron the ongoing series that tell two complete stories, featuring one story inspired from the original series as well as one completely new tale! Great stories by ace Trek scribe Mike Johnson and stupendous art by Stephen Molnar featuring THE RETURN OF THE ARCHONS and THE REDSHIRTS STORY!
FC • 72 pages • 9.25” x 14.25” • $9.99
More newspaper comic strips on the way
Heard via subspace grapevine: the second volume of Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, featuring strips published 1981-1983, is tentatively scheduled for release December 2013.
And the fabric of our lives
Need some Star Trek comics fabric for those arts and crafts projects you’ve been putting off? A British eBay vendor, Fabric Angels, is selling 100% cotton fabric imprinted with Star Trek comic art and Star Trek comic covers. Get to work!
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.