TrekInk: Review – Star Trek Countdown #3 – Reveals Big Backstory Points For Star Trek Movie [UPDATED]

The countdown to the Star Trek movie continues with the third issue of the prequel comic "Star Trek Countdown." And wow, but is this issue just chock full of major back-story for the film and some surprise guests as well. Find out how it all works out in our review below [SPOILERS]. Plus we have news on how you can get Countdown (and other IDW Trek comics) on iTunes.
[UPDATE: Countdown teaser trailer + follow-up announced]



Romulus is dead.
At the end of the last issue, we watched a star go supernova and Romulus suffered some seriously bad after effect (Specifically… it went boom). As Nero states, quite elegantly, to open issue #3, “I watched it die… and I died with them”. And thus begins a big dose of Nero’s motivations and his turn for the worse and descent into questionable sanity. In issue three we finally glimpse the villainous Nero seen in the trailers for the new Star Trek movie.

Nero no longer trusts the Federation and he is especially pissed off at Vulcans. He isn’t too happy with the rulers of the Romulan Senate either, after they ignored the warnings from Issues 1 & 2. Even though each issue of Countdown has been overly short, writers Tim Jones and Mike Johnson have taken us step by step from a thoughtful concerned mining captain in issue 1, to a steely-eyed and determined avenging killer in issue 3. And this thirst for vengeance turns out to be the reasoning behind those tattoos, which we see applied to Nero and his crew in this issue. 

Nero and crew burn their grief right onto their faces

Typical of this series, and indeed any prequel comic series, the exposition continues. In addition to the tattoos, issue three also reveals where Nero got his cool staff/sceptre thing and gives us more details on ‘red matter’ (something that plays a part in the new movie). Most interestingly, the book reveals the origins of Spock’s ‘Jellyfish’ and the nature of Nero’s Narada, both of which have some intriguing TNG era connections [HIGHLIGHT INVISOTEXT TO FIND OUT: The Jellyfish was designed by Geordi LaForge and the Narada was modified with Borg technology developed by the Romulans at their secret ‘Vault’ facility].  Having said that all that, this issue is primarily one of action with a very fast pace that brings the end all too soon with the focus mostly on Nero’s turn towards revenge, with flashes back to Spock working with Data and Picard on their plan to thwart the danger presented by the Hobus supernova. Alas there are no more glimpses of Kirk for this issue, but Spock does cite an old friend when talking about ‘following his gut.’

Again David Messina’s art lives up to its typical high standards, with only a minor exception or two. The story continues to be shrouded in shadow, with the moments of light saved for Spock’s story segments. The colors really bring out the look, and the art bounces off of the page.

The destruction of Romulus starts Countdown #3 in a dark place

After three issues, Countdown continues to take us into unexpected territory with this mix of sequel to the TNG era and a prequel to the new Star Trek movie. Even though Countdown #3 is full of fun back story tidbits with a fast-paced sequence of settings, it feels the least complete of the three issues so far. This issue is really a set up for the big Nero/Spock showdown that you see coming for issue 4, with this one feeling like those boxing movie training montages of the two fighters preparing for their big bout. While the story is intriguing, the dialogue continues to be a weak points for Countdown. I get the impression that the writers are trying to befriend those out there that just don’t read comics, but trying to get them to read this one. This is similar as seen in the IDW Transformers movie prequel and the new GI Joe prequel.

Like the two previous ones, this one ends with another big cliffhanger — and another TNG cameo [HIGHLIGHT INVISOTEXT: General Worf – of the Klingon Empire]. The final issue should be most interesting, and I’m definitely curious to see how some of the revelations in this one play out there and in the movie.

Regular and photo cover for Star Trek Countdown #3 (click to enlarge)

Countdown #3 hits comic stories today and if you want it, you should go quickly before it is gone. This issue (and the first two) have already sold out at, but you can still reserve #4 (a good idea if you haven’t yet). If you haven’t started on Countdown, you are better off waiting a month to pick up the trade paperback collecting all four issues (available for pre-order at Amazon).

Countdown #4

Countdown TPB
@ Amazon


(Pre-order – April. 29)

Countdown & other IDW comics on iTunes & Android
There is another way to read Star Trek Countdown, you can pick it up in the Applications store of iTunes for your iPhone or iTouch. You can also buy the comics for your Google Android phone as well. Each issue is a separate app and they cost $0.99 each. All three are now available on iTunes and for Android (and will be available on Amazon Kindle soon).

Buy Countdown for your iPhone/iTouch or Android

Countdown #1

Countdown #2

Countdown #3







Here is a screen shot of what the comic looks like on the iPhone.

Screenshot of Countdown #3 on iPhone

In addition to Countdown, the recent ‘Best of Peter David’ collection is also available electronically. More IDW Trek books will be made available electronically soon. The electronic versions of the comics are created by iVerse Media. If you want to see what comics are like on your mobile device, there is a video demo at YouTube.


UPDATE: Countdown Trailer + Follow-up series announced
Today IDW Editor Chris Ryall posted a teaser trailer for Countdown made by Countdown artist David Messina. The trailer includes some images from Countdown #3 (reviewed above).

Ryall also announced that Messina will be doing a follow-up comic to Countdown, that will come out in July.


Also out today Crew #1 – review coming tomorrow
Countdown isn’t the only Trek comic hitting stores today. IDW also have the first issue of "Crew," The pre-TOS era series from John Byrne. TrekMovie will have a review of that tomorrow.  

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Looks interesting but I am waiting for the collection.

Ok i have to find this and read it right now !!!!

GNAR! Can’t wait to get the whole thing it in April!

I actually feel sorry for Nero..evil bastard or not!

Im waiting for all 4 together as well.


The tragic villain is always a goos choice

Makes much more sense than the cardboard comic book villians of the last two movies


Obviously i meant Good not goos lol

is the staff some klingon-thing:)?

I cant wait for ST:TFB,, its sooo hard not to read anything with a hint of a spoiler in it.

So far Im proud to say that Im ST:TFB spoiler free!

(and yes,,its killing me!)

Kindle?? The shades of grey will not show the beauty of the art.

I have my TPB already ordered via Amazon.


Only go if you are SURE you want to know some crazy spoilers!!!

what is the STAFF:-D?
r this klingos starships this 42 that kirk talk about in the movie???
ARG …plz can somebody just scann the hole comic =D

***Huge spoilers***

Both Invisotexts are wrong!!!

In the first invisotext, it is not called the “forge” facility, it is called THE VAULT. This whole “forge” rumor has got to stop, it probably happened by accident, when somebody along the line typed “forge” instead of “LaForge”, who is a surprise cameo in issue three.

In the second invisotext, replace Admiral with GENERAL.

Just wanted to set the record straight if a bunch of people are reading the invisotexts, they are inaccurate. I also have to disagree that this was a weak issue, personally I think this was by far and away the best of the three issues so far. Two awesome surprises, great action and IMO the best dialogue so far, #3 is easily my favorite so far. If you know TNG, you’ll love the perfect way they talk to each other. Fantastic issue.


@13: The staff has a crazy Romulan name and is the oldest symbol of the Romulan Empire. One event leads to another and it ends up in Nero’s hands.


What are you talking about?

Everybody who checked out the spoilers:
Alex Fletcher is correct on all counts,
Brian is not.

@16: NO, I am right. I have the frakkin comic sitting right here in front of me. I’ve read it three times. Trust me. There are two errors, one in each invisotext. I’m sorry but it’s true.


It has no “crazy Romulan” name.
Stop spreading incorrect rumors.


Are you nuts? I HAVE THE COMIC in my front of my face. The spear that Nero has in the movie is called the DEBRUNE TERAL’N and he grabs it from the Praetor who beams aboard the Narada and impales him with it, kills the others, and keeps the Debrune Teral’n for himself.

Don’t come at me if you have no clue what you’re talking about dude.


First of all, Brian: Language.

What is the name of the romulan commander on page 11?


So the Narada is infused with 24th century Borg tech, yet she doesn’t blow a 23rd century starship like the E out of the sky ?

thanks for the infos…here in germany we dont have da comics yet:-(

cmon someone just scann it:-D`

@ you meen out of the space;-)
i think the narada will blow the klingons ships to smithereen?

but guy, why he wants to kill kirk, i dont get it?


@20: Her name is Commander D’Spal. She is assigned to the secret Romulan base “The Vault”, also known as “the empire’s last hope”. D’Spal agrees to let Nero use the Narada as a prototype for Borg/Romulan hybrid technology and weaponry. Any more pointless trivia questions thorsten, or are you going to accuse of something for no reason again??

@21: The Enterprise-E is currently in orbit around Vulcun. The Narada is farther away, destroying any ship it passes, Federation, Klingon, Cardassian, an encounter with E seems inevitable for Issue #4.


That was an easy question, Brian…
I am waiting.

Wonder what
would look like if
was directing it?

Here’s the Trailer for DARK TREK:


Happy now, dude?

@thorsten, so I can assume we are both in the Issue 3 club already then?

Well, Brian, let`s say your issue appears to be from another timeline ;))

Well what issue do you have lol! We have the same one, come on now, pulling my leg. Also, you don’t think “Debrune Teral’n” is a crazy Romulan name? I do!


I have the same info as Alex Fletcher.
If you are correct, I apologize.

Hey Brian,

What’s the deal with that ‘Thorsten’? What did you do to her to make her so paranoid about your posts? Ahh I guess that doesn’t matter, she’s probably some chick you stiffed at the pub, and is trying to provoke you online. I wouldn’t strees about it, I agree with everything you said, and any one else who is reading these posts and has not read the comic yet should listen to Brian. The invisible spoilers do appear to have some typos.

Also for all those asking to scan the comic online, just spend the $1 and download it off of itunes. I’m in Australia so the Issues are a bit hard to get your hands on in print, but itunes allows you to view it right away.

Ohh and Thorsten. Try and relax and don’t come across so mental, there are plenty of guys out there. You’ll meet the right one some day.



Just playing around with ya aswell. Trying to raz you up. So don’t take it seriously. We’re all trek fans here.

26. Curveball

I could not get throught that video. Sorry.

As for the article.
How is the general audience gonna be up on all of this?

Anyone else wondering how they intend to cram all of this backstory into the movie? Without the core elements, the moviegoer wouldn’t know what motivates Nero. Should be interesting.

Also, if you’re Nero, once you discover you’ve travelled back in time, why not use your advanced technology to take out the Hobus star before it can threaten Romulus in the future? Or at least warn the Romulans about it?

I also had some difficulty believing the setup in issue #1 where not a single scientist in the entire Romulan empire sees a threat from the Hobus star, only Spock. That’s not very plausible. The Romulans must never have heard of Krypton!

24. Brian

Got a copyright on that font?

SyFy would.

Spock seems to die again in this movie.
His jellyfish timeship is shown crashing into Nero’s ship.
Spock as kamikazi pilot?

…in the trailer.Check it out.


Just to clear a few things up…

It is the VAULT not the FORGE and Worf is a GENERAL not an ADMIRAL.

I downloaded the comic to my iPhone via the App Store (which I must say, was excellent!) and read #2 and #3. The story is quite entertaining and it’s only giving me more of a reason to watch this movie over and over again when it comes out in May. :-)

After what I’ve read, I have a feeling that someone’s gonna take a nice little trip to Rura Penthe in #4.

Wow, I can’t believe I just wasted valuable minutes of my life reading that back and forth between Brian and thorsten…

Anyway, I can’t wait till this becomes available on the Android Market. I own the first two, and they only cost me 99 cents each! For those who are weary of reading it on your G1 or iPhone, it’s actually a good medium for the comics and very readable.


I have two questions:

1. Is it important to read the comics? What about the general film audience. Will they understand Nero’s motivations and backstory and all those revealings in the comics by just seeing the movie?

2. What about the fans who have read the comics. Are they so much spoilered that they won’t be suprised when the movie reveals that Romulus has been destroyed? I mean could it be that comic readers already know to much?


I wonder if Romulus stays destroyed, along with another certain Vulcanoid homeworld, or is the timeline restored by the end of the movie? Big questions.

Also: NEWSFLASH: “Star Trek Returning To TV” says Shatner!
See for article!!!

1. If your a fan of Trek, do read it. If you’re not a fan of Trek, read it. :-)

2. I don’t think the spoilers in the comic will affect fans one bit (it certainly hasn’t spoiled anything for me…). On the contrary, it’s giving me more reason to go out and see this movie on day one.

One thing is for sure, this comic certainly is a nice homage to TNG and, dare I say it, a proper farewell to them as well. I hope that one day Countdown can be made into a movie of sorts….

It must be an accident that sends Spock and the Narada back in time or else why wouldn’t Nero go back in time and save Romulas instead…?

@44 He’s gone mad and seeks for revenge… and probably he goes back in time to destroy Vulcan, Earth, Kirk, Spock and the Federation and then spend the Rest of those 150 years or so trying to rescue Romulus (and Remus apparently)

Looks very interesting.
I’m wondering if some parts of this backstory will make it into the novelization as well.

Hope my issue is in the mailbox tonight!

Again with the over used borg. UGH.


I really do hope that Nero’s motivation is not revenge because it has been overused and is a cliche. I am hoping his character is a little bit more-dimensional!

Yippee maybe next they can leave the over used borg plot alone and maybe try and inject some of that wacky time travel anticts that b & b used to make star trek oh so relevant and original…