This Trek Ink we take a look at the 4th issue of Peter David’s New Frontier comic series where it begins to hit its climax, opening everyone’s eyes as to what is going on, and setting up the explosive conclusion. We also have a guide to the IDW Trade Paperback collections and some news on the Tokyo Pop Manga that was supposed to come out this month.
REVIEW – STAR TREK NEW FRONTIER: TURNAROUND #4
As regular TrekInk readers will know, I’ve never really gotten into the New Frontier books, the series upon which this comic is based. The reader will also likely know that I’ve been very ambivalent about this comic series to date. With the fourth issue, that’s all about to change. Interestingly, that’s also a line that I can easily use in the context of the story, that classic detective pot boiler line: "Everything’s about to change…"
It’s taken me a few issues to sort out the characters in this storyline, and then Peter David has to go and introduce a whole bunch of mirror universe versions of the characters, throwing me for another loop. Having said that, I think that I’ve finally got things sorted enough that I can finally concentrate on the actual story again. And this is a good thing (although, it still does suggest that a quick character summary with pictures would be useful when this series gets published as a trade in a few months), as the story has definitely hit its stride.
David definitely has the feel for writing to the length of a comic book, as he should based on his ample past experience with "Fallen Angel", "Hulk", and of course the DC Comics run on "Star Trek" in the 1980s. Like most of the rest of this miniseries, there is very little filler, and it never feels like anything has been left out, not counting intentional dramatic skips. Complete with this ability to pace the story well, David manages to inject some clever humor throughout the story, including a follow-up moment when Kebron threatened to crush the head of the Romulan Lucius and showed old vacation photographs instead. There are also a few clever self-aware bits of humor based on some of the quirks of the television series.
All of the threads from the earlier three issues make an appearance at one point or another, even though the logic of how (or indeed, if) some of them will tie together is still not entirely obvious. We can also see everything starting to come toward the premonition dream sent by McHenry to Calhoun in the first issue, as the pieces start to fall into place. I just wonder how the events of this miniseries will leave the novel series, and whether most of the novel readers will even read the comic so that they can keep up to date with the storyline.
Stephen Thompson’s art continues to be excellent for the series, despite some of his characters’ faces occasionally changing now and again. He does seem at his best and strongest when he is allowed to break the conventions of sticking within panels on the comic page such as with pages 10 and 11. The colors used on these pages are excellent, showing off the mix of straight pencil and ink drawings and the faces made of shadows of dots on the paper (pointilation?). Look for another cameo of another character shared by Thompson and David on page 17 on Station Bravo.
With the last issue of this series, I was pretty much to that point of reading it to find out what was going to happen at the end of the story. With this issue, that’s changed. Again, part of that may be due to the fact that I’ve finally figured out the characters and gotten them straight in my head, but I think that it has more to do with the strength of the writing. With only one more issue left in this series, I’m now quite eager to find out how things will settle out.
ST: New Frontier – Turnaround #4 is in comic stores now
GUIDE TO IDW TRADE PAPERBACK COLLECTIONS
It was brought up in some of the comments in a prior column that people were having trouble collecting some of the issues of these various IDW series. It can be hard to keep up with individual comic books, especially as they are not always carried at every comic shop or you can miss an issue. Many fans prefer to just wait and read the comics in the ‘Trade Paperbacks’ which are sold in book stores. These come out shortly after the comic series are finished and bind together the entire series, including some extras. Below I’ve put together a quick listing of the various trades published thus far, and tried to note the additions (if any) that were not in the original publications. All of the following are available in bookstores and Amazon (with links provided):
Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Space Between
This first trade, released September 26/07 collects all size issues from the first IDW series which focused on telling stories ‘in between’ episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation. In addition to the straight stories, it contains a cover gallery for each issue.
Star Trek: Klingons – Blood Will Tell
This trade collects the five issue series told from the Klingon point of view and was released December 5/07. In addition to the five issues, it also has the Klingon language variant of issue 1 and a cover gallery for each issue.
Star Trek: Year Four
This collection set in a notional ‘fourth season of Star Trek: The Original Series was released March 29/08, collects all size issues of the first Year Four series, and also includes the now-standard cover gallery.
Star Trek: Alien Spotlight
The most recent of the trades, released May 28/08, collects all six issues, each focusing on a different alien race. It has all the non-photo covers and includes John Byrne’s sketches (previously contained as bonus material in issue #6), and the Gorn technology sketches (previously contained as bonus material in issue #1).
Trade paperbacks for all currently running Star Trek comics are also available for pre-order. Each will come out shortly after the comic series end and all can be pre-ordered at Amazon for $13.59 each.
- August 29: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Intelligence Gathering
- October 29: Star Trek: New Frontier
- November 29: Star Trek: Year Four – The Enterprise Experiment
- December 29: Star Trek: Mirror Images
- December 29: Star Trek: Assignment Earth
TOKYO POP MANGA DELAYED
This may not be news to all, but Tokyopop recently had some reorganizations (something of a euphemism for some departments getting a bit slimmer personnel-wise), and as such, the "Next Generation" book that was announced and solicited for release early next month has been delayed until Spring 2009. At this point, the rest of their Manga schedule has not appeared to change as it relates to "Star Trek".
Enterprise Experiment #3… how do the Klingons fit into this mess?