Review: Star Trek TNG: Intelligence Gathering #2
Although it is set in the time of The Next Generation, the second issue of the Scott and David Tipton written "Intelligence Gathering" series is another opportunity for the pair to show off their knowledge of The Original Series. This time they bring in Rigelians (who first appeared in “Journey to Babel”) and the Kaylar (who made their only appearance in the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”). But the center of this story of intrigue is Worf.
This issue shows the start of Worf’s diplomatic career, something that came to fruition in the later seasons of Deep Space Nine. As expected, Worf tries to do things the “Human” way to start, and quickly finds, like in a number of episodes, that being Human doesn’t always work for him, and under advisement from Riker, tries find “a ‘Worfian’ solution to this dilemma.”
As with the Tipton’s other stories (such as the "Blood Will Tell" series), their characterizations of the Klingons and their use of dialogue jumps off the page and feels like something we might expect to see and hear on television or the movie screen. Unfortunately, one characterization does not feel quite right when taking the rest of the IDW comic canon to date. In the story "Light of the Day", the fourth issue of David Tischman’s The Space Between series, Ro and Worf come to a new understanding with each other. Yet this new story presents Ro and Worf at that level of understanding already, but is set a season earlier.
David Messina’s art, as usual, is stylized but rings true to the feel of Trek in the comics. He manages to capture Worf’s attitude almost perfectly, even if his likenesses of Data and Riker occasionally leave something to be desired. One minor issue I have with his art on the crew we know and love is that he’s managed to give Ro Laren a comic-book breast enlargement. In most of the panels she appears in, she is more more endowed than she ever was on the television shows.
One potential problem brought up elsewhere is that there are apparently some phaser blasts where we see sound effects, but no visible shots. Each time this occurs (on pages 12 and 13), we see a "BRVVT" when a Kaylar weapon is shot. I don’t recall seeing any Kaylar weapons in the television series, but it is hard to know if it is a mistake or intentional.
Elena Casagrande has worked regularly with David Messina, previously doing "art assists" on all of his prior Star Trek books with Ilaria Traversi handling the colors. Casagrande takes over the colors on this issue, and it is a completely seamless transition. Whether she is taking over for the rest of the series or not, she has done a fine job on this issue.
Other than a throwaway reference in the Captain’s log at the start of the story, this, on the surface, appears to have nothing to do with the prior issue, but Scott Tipton reported on the IDW Star Trek forums that the two stories will be tied together as the series continues toward its conclusion.
The story in this issue isn’t the most eventful, but is a good character story for Worf, showing his frustration at not being given the direct solution by Picard, and then showing his satisfaction at having solved the problem at the end of it all. Like the first few issues in IDW’s prior Next Generation series, the first few stories in this series feel like one-off "monster of the week" style episodes. Hopefully the Tiptons can tie this series better than David Tischman was able to finish that one off. I look forward to the next issue of this series.
New Frontier Covers
Artist Stephen Thompson has some previews for the "New Frontier" issue 2 featuring Edward Jellico (click to see more)
Chris Ryall also has an image of the "quad" art for the first "New Frontier" issue
Assignment Earth covers
Some more previews from Chris Ryall, this time for John Byrne’s upcoming "Assignment Earth" series
Coming up next week…Romulans!
A review of the last issue in the "Alien Spotlight" series – an issue by a master of the genre – and a brief revisit to a long forgotten era – or at least, one that should have been forgotten!