TrekInk: Review Intelligence Gathering + Preview DC Fontana Comic

This "issue" of TrekInk takes a look at the upcoming third issue of "Star Trek: The Next Generation – Intelligence Gathering" (due out next week), which focuses on Geordi LaForge and Miles O’Brien. We also have a preview for Trek veteran DC Fontana’s first forray into comics, a new series starting in April, set in Star Trek The Original Series’ “Year 4.”

Review: TNG Intelligence Gathering 3

Miles to the rescue
"Chasing Shadows", the latest from the Tiptons and Messina, is set a couple of days after the prior issue, and has a call-back reference to the incident at the Daystrom One right in the opening Captain’s Log entry. There’s also a good scene between La Forge and Miles O’Brien in the transporter room with La Forge asking him if O’Brien wants some variety and says "Something different, that’s all – a change of scenery, a different assignment." This plays out quite well, since a few episodes later, and the character of O’Brien had moved from the Enterprise and the Next Generation over to Deep Space Nine. This issue takes O’Brien outside of the transporter room and into the kind of exercise we saw him partake in over the next few years.

The vista of Starbase 215, the source of all ills (click to enlarge)

The story begins with a Priority 1 call from the USS Jackson, an Excelsior-class vessel that had been at the same Starbase a few days earlier for repairs. Captain Travis reports that he had not instigated the alert and that it must have been his new chief engineer, Carll. Picard, La Forge, and O’Brien head over to the ship to investigate.

As with the previous two issues in this series, David Messina’s art is comic book style, but gives us a more than good enough idea as to which character is supposed to be which. This is key in such a character driven story. The only real non-character images are all contained in the first few pages, and the rest of the issue takes place entirely within the two starships.

Miles and Geordi wonder whether they’re just wasting their time in a new medium (click to enlarge)

The colors used are vibrant and striking, in the same manner as Iliaria Traversi’s have been in her past work with Messina. Importantly, the credits at the start of the issue are correct this time too. Last issue had Elena Casagrande incorrectly credited in Traversi’s place as the color artist.

Like the other issues in the series, and the Year Four series before it, this issue uses the 3-4 wide panels per page, but uses them to much better effect than the prior Year Four series. Messina also does not feel the need to stick to the format, throwing in smaller sub-panels when needed.

The story holds together fairly well, but unlike the last two issues, doesn’t quite feel like an episode, as it zips by too quickly. My feeling after reading it is that, if seen on-screen, we would be complaining about the amount of filler that would have needed to be added to bring it up to a full episode’s runtime.

Miles is sad his issue was over so quickly (click to enlarge)

Star Trek The Next Generation – Intelligence Gathering #3 hits comic stores next Wednesday.


Preview: Fontana heads to TOS Season 4

Coming in April is the sequel series to David Tischman’s "Year Four" series. This time, D.C. Fontana, the classic Star Trek writer and story editor is the author. Gordon Purcell (most recently off of two issues in the first "Year Four" series) is joining her to provide the artwork for all five issues. Purcell is a veteran of more than fifty Star Trek comics, while this will be Fontana’s first foray into the comic book world. Terry Pallot, Purcell’s longtime collaborator, will be providing the inking, and while Derek Chester, a veteran of Star Trek video game writing, will be collaborating with Fontana on the book.

The series is called "The Enterprise Experiment" and serves as a follow-up to Fontana’s classic "The Enterprise Incident" episode as the Federation tries to adapt the cloaking device to Starfleet trips, trapping Kirk and Spock on the Enterprise out of phase with the rest of the universe.

According to Andrew Steven Harris (past TrekInk contributor, and current IDW editor):

The story is absolute classic Trek in the best sense of the word. We’re thrilled to have talent like this, people who’ve been working on Star Trek for decades. You can’t find comic book storytellers who know these characters and settings more intimately.

Here are the first two covers (click to enlarge)



Coming up next week
Peter David’s New Frontier miniseries. Honest.

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IDW has revitalized the Trek comic franchise. Much superior to the Manga stuff.

Yeah, Arex!

comics are my thing but i love the art

Thanks for the great article Alex!

This kicks that weird manga right to the curb.

Can’t wait to see the New Frontiers miniseries :-)

AREX! Yes!

Very excited about the D.C. Fontana comics. All KINDS of excited. While my tastes fluctuate slightly from day to day depending on what’s freshest in my memory, she’s my Very Favorite Star Trek Writer (TM) nine days out of ten.

The IDW comics I’ve read have been a mixed bag, ranging from filler to fascinating (one even used My Word – huzzah!), but I have a good deal of faith in hers.

arrrr.. Now I cannot read or write but I must say DC F. was tha tops. Also… it be donkies years since I read a comic book.. is it worth it? Good Trek is bonny, no matter tha form…but I get a beating from me shipmates if nothin’ but nudie mags be under my bunk…

Out of curiosity, whar be Spider-Man when good old Miles needs him?


#9 BNG, I can’t say for sure if the comics would be worth it for you, but I can say that, since they aren’t currently making Star Trek nudie mags (alas!), they would at least provide additional under-the-bunk material :)

I’m really, really, reallllllllly excited for DC Fontana’s mini-series!

Oh Man, those illustrations look great – these will definitely be worth the investment. Go D.C.!

Strange that they put so much detail into the LCARS displays in that one frame (complete with an Excelsior MSD), but they mixed up the commbadge colors…

Looks great, inverted communicator or not. ;-)

That Spacedock sure is impressive. Much praise to all involved.

#9 BNG “……Now I cannot read or write……”

Then how do your posts get typed? How do you know how to respond to the articles if you can’t read them? How do you get internet access out at sea? Haha, got you!

I always enjoy reading your posts.

The Enterprise Experiment sounds great, been waiting for this for ages!

Is there any news from DC about Vulcan’s Fury being published?

It’s great to still have pioneers like D.C. Fontana who are most capable of capturing the spirit of classic Trek. And those illustrations do look very promising. Although I’m not actually a comic fan, I am looking forward to this series.


Is that alien next to Kirk out of the animated series??

Now this isn’t a canon complaint . . . just a little observation. Anybody notice that the screen behind Miles and Geordi has the cutaway map of the Enterprise E instead of the D on it? :P

IDW’s Alien Spotlight series was the shizznit & it is coming out in Trade Paperback some time this year

#1- Wow… To each their own I guess. I couldn’t agree with you less about IDW’s Trek comics thus far. I haven’t tried them all, but the ones I have left me seriously underwhelmed. I won’t go into all my gripes (I did that plenty a week or two back in one of the more recent Trek comic threads), but the stories have been pretty dull, the characterization flat, and very little dialogue.

I love comics, but not comics that I can whip through in under five minutes. Especially not at $3 a pop. Trek should make me think, and IDW’s Trek simply hasn’t. Maybe I’m just spoiled on those really good Trek comics from DC in the 90’s? Could be.

I might flip through the O’Brien/TNG story and the D.C. Fontana story when they appear at my local comic shop. They both have potential, especially Fontana’s. Perhaps she’ll write a better story than what I’ve seen from IDW up to this point. If anyone can, she can.

The O’Brien story has me hoping that IDW will do a DS9 comic at some point, because that will get my attention (and hopefully it’ll be good stuff, worthy of the DS9 name).

Greetings from Kuwait (I just arrived tohis afternoon… am here a week or so before shipping off to Afghanistan for one year)!

#22: I agree somewhat. I would prefer multi-issue story arcs. I find the artwork decent, but find the stories far too simplistic, which I believe could be rectified by doing my dimensional, multi-plot stories.

I do like them, but think they can do better.

Course, with me off in theater I will not get an opportunity to see the comics again for awhile.

Does anyone know the exact April release date for the first of Fontana’s Year Four issues?


Travel safe, stay safe!

Come talk to us in the chat folder as you can!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

Thanks Vulcanista, I will!

As to my earlier posting (#23)… ack, typos galore… I didn’t mean to say they should use “MY” multi-plot stories… just multi-plots stories (although I do write, and write a lot, I haven’t written any TREK stories since the mid 90s), in fact, I was almost published by Gold Key in 1979 when they owned the rights to TREK, but it just didn’t pan out. Drat!

AND if anyone wishes to write while I am in Afghanistan, please feel free to do so. trek uss
star trek enterprise u.s.s ncc – 1701-a
spock uss star trek.