Stargazing with Pakleds in the Mind
Star Trek: Intelligence Gathering 4: Continuing the story, deepening the mystery, the Tiptons take us closer to the endgame in the season five ending storyline. "Matters of the Mind" lays out a few more pieces to the puzzle, bringing mind control and aliens and scenarios we’ve previously encountered into the mix.
REVIEW: STAR TREK – INTELLIGENCE GATHERING #4
Like the other issues in this series, this story is a relatively quick read, but this also gives the feel of a fast moving television episode with a lot of action. In the case of some of the IDW comics, this has been an issue, where the comic feels far too short and is over in no time. With this issue, this is not a problem due to the action, and by the time I was finished the issue, I wanted to read the prior issues in the series and then read this one over again looking for new clues and references.
Scott and David Tipton pack in a number of continuity references, including a fantastic view of Astrometrics, reminiscent of "Star Trek Generations", a mention of the alien possession of Data, Miles O’Brien, and Deanna Troi from "Power Play" earlier in the season, the encounter with the Ferengi in the first season in "The Battle", and Geordi La Forge’s kidnapping by the Pakled in the second season’s "Samaritan Snare", an experience he would apparently prefer to forget. The story flies along, allowing us to revel in the visuals, but never slowing. With the series concluding in the next issue, the story is rapidly coming to a head, and the anticipation is rising as the Tiptons show, again, that they have a feel for the plotting required for a five issue series.
David Messina, with the assistance of fellow Italian Gianluigi Greogorini, provides the art for this issue and shows that he has a good grasp on the "Next Generation" crew. He manages to capture the faces and stances of Picard and Riker almost perfectly. Unfortunately, his portrayals of Troi, Ensign Ro, and Worf are not entirely perfect, and Ro still has the comic book chest enlargement last seen in the second issue, "A Matter of Dates". He combines the use of computer graphics with his pencil and ink artwork with ease, making it feel like both are one single image, rather than allowing one or the other to overpower the image. He also, like in other issues, limits the computer graphics to things that require them, such as the LCARS displays and Astrometrics (pictured above).
Messina still seems to have some troubles with faces in combat situations, but redeems himself by breaking out of the panel edges during one fight, giving a fluidity to the scene which may have been otherwise lost. The fight scenes are helped by Neil Uyetake’s sound effects – simple, but effective, and as with the other eight issues she has done with Messina and the Tiptons, Ilaria Traversi brings the colours out in such a way that the classic four colour comics would never have been able to manage. You’ve read me waxing nostalgic for historic comic art in past columns, but the fantastic colours that IDW brings to the page is an enormous win over my nostalgia any day of the week.
The end of the story is in sight, and the comic series is really playing out more and more like the events of a single television episode, spread over five issues rather than previous efforts, which have all attempted to present a single episodic story in each issue, tying the stories together in the last issue. This series constantly references events in previous issues and episodes, bringing a strong sense of continuity. The prior IDW series focusing on this crew ("TNG: The Space Between") was good, but this series has now surpassed it in actually feeling like a script from the later seasons. If you have not started reading this series, it is well worth hunting down the earlier issues. This is the template that should be followed for future "Next Generation" comics.
Star Trek: Intelligence Gathering #4 is in comic book stores this week
COMIC NEWS: NEW COVERS
New Frontier #5
Galaxy Quest #2, #3, #5 (from Chris Ryall’s blog)
Next week: More! More! More! Covers and comics, oh my!