It was the best of comics, it was the worst of comics…
The conclusion to IDW’s Star Trek The Next Generation "The Space Between" saga is both disappointing and enjoyable. IDW’s TNG comics have always been a mixture of good and problematic. Neither Issue 5 "Space Seeds" or issue 6 deviates from these expectations.
IDW comics have a good sense of the characters. Each issues has presented characters that are familiar to their television versions. However, the situations they deal with and the narratives of the issues are problematic.
The narrative of Issue 1 was the worst regarding narrative, with illogic as the main concern. Why allow a visit from the Enterprise when staging a coup? Issue 5 offers a nice character narrative showing the Enterprise crew adapting to the transfer of Doctor Beverly Crusher. Yet, the main narrative is the nonintriguing space mystery of contaminated crops. There could have been some commentary here regarding the use of genetic engineering prevalent in today’s "Frankenfoods" of the real world. Where issue 1 made up for its lack of narrative focus by having social commentary relating to living in the Ipod, Myspace era, issue 5 offers neither a quality narrative nor social commentary. The "B" story is much better than the "A" narrative.
Issue 6 is merely a mess. It is confusing, with absolutely no reward for those who waited six issues for the big reveal of how all the comics would relate. Is it Section 31? Is it a Starfleet conspiracy of galactic scale? It is one thing not to provide the answers, it is another to have boring questions. The narrative is exceptionally weak, with issue 6 being the worst of the comics. IDW is capable of great comics, as is seen in the Klingon comics and in other issues of Star Trek The Next Generation.
Here’s the irony. The writing of IDW’s Star Trek comics are strong on character, weak on narrative. The art is spectacular when it relates to the ship or space vistas, and weak on character. Issue 5 is especially problematic with the William T. Riker character once again the most egregiously presented art. There are the IDW "wow" moments, especially the two page space art. Issue 6 does take better care with character artwork. It is too bad the narrative mars the art. The best thing, art wise, about these issues is the covers. Once again, variant covers offer differing artistic views of the themes of the comics. Each one is clever and stylized. You certainly can’t tell a book, though, by its covers.
IDW deserves support because they have many exciting comics planned, including the continuing of Kirk’s television era adventures. Their Klingon comics have been consistently good with art and character. The narratives are clever, offering fans differing perspectives on favorite episodes of Star Trek. Consider TNG’s The Space Between as a rough draft, with much to like and appreciate, yet some problems with art and narrative. Despite this, IDW presents comics with a definite care for Star Trek.
All 6 issues of Star Trek The Next Generation "The Space Between" are available now.
TNG "The Space Between" 5
TNG "The Space Between" 6