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 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.
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.
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.