The Steward of missing days. Who is he? What is he doing? Why is he doing it? And what happened on those days that are… missing? Today, TrekInk takes a diversion to check out Roddenberry Productions recently launched a new sci-fi comic series "Days Missing".
DAYS MISSING REVIEW
Roddenberry Productions, under the oversight of Eugene Roddenberry, has gotten back into the comic book business, and the first one out of the gate is a doozy of a concept. Days Missing is a five issue miniseries being published by Archaia and is the story of a strange being known simply as “The Steward”. This man has lived since the beginning of time on Earth, and perhaps even before, and he is lonely. He has taken it upon himself to keep watch over the creatures of Earth and to use his gift (and curse) to find moments of safety where there were only moments of peril previous.
The first issue is written by Phil Hester with art by Frazer Irving and focuses on November 11, 2004. There was an outbreak of plague in Swaziland that day and the outbreak had a fatality rate over ninety percent. The Steward is there, posing as a doctor, looking to find a solution so that he can fold time over the day so that it never happened in that way according to Human history. As the story unfolds, The Steward remembers a calamity some 65 million years earlier, and records the events of the day in a journal for future reference. The second issue takes us back to September 12, 1815, and allows David Hine to tell us a story about Mary Shelley and her infamous creation of Victor Frankenstein. Ably drawn by Chris Burnham, the story presents the real tale behind Mary Shelley’s novel, and the steps that The Steward must take to avoid tragedy.
The most recent issue takes place on September 19, 2008, and is the story of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Past Trek comic writer Ian Edginton presents this story with art by Lee Moder. When the LHC was turned on, the universe did not come to an end, as some feared that it might. In fact, the collider failed a week after it was first turned on due to a fault between two magnets. Dr. Kate Prosper has noticed some strange readings in some of the data, but the overseer of the project fears that the data is corrupt due to the problem with the magnets. Regardless, the data seems to suggest a stuttering of time in the Universe, almost as if time was folded over itself now and again. Of course, if this knowledge were to be verified and become public, The Steward would find himself losing his anonymity and his own future in jeopardy.
Lee Moder’s artwork allows the story to be told, but doesn’t stand out, unlike Frazer Irving’s painting in the first issue. Ian Edginton’s story gives The Steward a nice problem to deal with, “how do you eradicate an idea?” By playing into actual events in the news and the public eye, the story has a bigger thrust into our consciousness than it otherwise might have if the happenings were imagined. Troy Peteri does the letters for each issue and separates The Steward’s journal writing from the dialogue and sound effects of the story itself. I did have some trouble reading the journal entries at first, but once my eyes got used to the font used, they became easier to read.
The covers for this series are stunning and each month one is done by Frazer Irving and one by Dale Keown. There is also an exclusive online cover for each issue each done by a different artist. Keown’s covers
(listed as the “A” covers) are the most striking and stand up with some of the best covers out there (Joe Corroney’s Star Trek and Star Wars covers and the Fallen Angel covers if you must know). They come across as real life paintings rather than what is commonly considered “comic book art”. The first cover for issue 1 and issue 3 pictured below are examples of his work. Archaia has also done back covers for each issue which tie in nicely with the series logo. The rear covers of each issue show a series of numbers and letters with certain ones highlighted to show the date of the issue and a phrase found within. The back cover of issue #3 is also pictured below.
Coming into this series with no prior knowledge of what was going on was very interesting, and the concept is fascinating. An idea like this one could be easily parlayed into an ongoing series, and limiting themselves to five issues suggests that something of a closed story is planned. The use of different writers and artists lends the series a “collected world” feel, like the "Thieves’ World" or "Wild Cards" series of novels, and with such a short series, the change of artwork and writing style from issue to issue is a bit jarring. Despite those complaints, the series is a fascinating one, and the journey of the character of The Steward is one I’m looking forward to following to the end of the fifth issue.
Days Missing issues 1, 2, and 3 are available in comic stores now. Issue 4 is due at the end of November, with issue 5 coming mid-December, and a trade paperback collection hitting stores in February 2010.