Comic Review: Star Trek Ongoing #1

Star Trek is back in comic format, and it’s the new movie crew doing the old original series episodes. Will Vina show up? How about Adam? Hey… what’s Gary Mitchell doing there? And why are his eyes all white?. Read on in the TrekMovie review and find out…


Written by Mike Johnson
Art by Stephen Molnar w/ covers by Tim Bradstreet and David Messina.
ComicBook – 32 pages
IDW – October 2011 – $3.99

The writer of Star Trek: Countdown, Nero, and the movie adaptation returns to tackle the newest Star Trek comic series, the first ongoing series from IDW. The story is set some time after the events of the 2009 Star Trek movie and revisits one the second pilot for the original series ("Where No Man Has Gone Before").

The story begins with a riff on the logs recorded by the various characters over the course of the various TV series. In this case, it is Scotty questioning whether anyone actually listens to the recorded logs while he discovers a problem with the engines and passes along another broken part to Keenser before heading off to tell Kirk about the issue. In the meantime on the recreation deck, Kirk and Gary Mitchell are playing chess with Mitchell (once again) thumping Kirk quite handily. Their conversation is interrupted as Spock calls Kirk to the bridge. Kirk takes the opportunity for some exposition, informing Mitchell and Kelso as to why they’re aboard the Enterprise, but not the "first team", so to speak.

As Kelso and Mitchell replace Chekov and Sulu, Spock informs Kirk that they’ve come across a beacon from the old Starfleet Vessel, the SS Valiant. The log recording indicates something about dead crewmen, ESP, and a self-destruct order. Taking the circumstances into account, Kirk orders the Enterprise through the Galactic Barrier!

Kirk is no Kasparov… even Mitchell beats him every time! (click to enlarge)

Stephen Molnar, most recently seen on the artwork for "Mission’s End", does both the pencils and inks for this story. His art ranges from close likenesses of the movie actors to cartoon-esque versions. Some of the faces don’t seem quite right (such as Scotty), while others look almost like they were traced from photographs (such as Spock). Most of his drawings of the Enterprise are close to the same angle, and a couple of the images look almost like rescaled versions of the same drawing.

The colors for the issue are done by John Rauch on his first Star Trek work. Previously seen on IDW’s Transformers series, Rauch’s colors evoke a strong feeling of the movie, just without quite to many lens flashes. Neil Uyetake, an IDW Trek veteran now, does the lettering. Most of the work is simple and straight forward, until the crew and their ship hits the Galactic Barrier. Uyetake is given a couple of pages to let loose before the story returns to the straight forward.

This is your brain… this is your brain on Galactic Barrier… (click to enlarge)

Johnson (who is working under the guidance of Star Trek and sequel writer/producer Roberto Orci) is able to take a cerebral story from the original series and translate it into the new universe presented in JJ Abrams’ film. There are some slight changes from the original television story, none overly meaningful to this point in time. A number of subtle references are made to these changes, including allusions to a relationship between Doctors McCoy and Dehner. Overall, the first issue in the new ongoing series is a pretty straightforward rendition of the original story, and it remains to be seen where Johnson can take the conclusion of the story.

A lot of attention have been paid to the covers for the first issue of the series. David Messina returns from his Star Trek comic exile to provide a cool split cover in the motif of the Countdown, Nero, and movie adaptation covers, presenting the dichotomy of Spock and Kirk, while Tim Bradstreet does a photo realistic cover presenting the entire crew and the USS Enterprise. It’s so well done that some people have mistaken it for a Photoshop work of actual photographs.

A and B Covers for "Star Trek Ongoing #1"
(click to enlarge)

The retailer incentive covers make up a 4-part panorama photograph of the bridge crew, with the final incentive cover being an autographed version of the Bradstreet cover.

Retailer Incentive Covers for "Star Trek Ongoing #1"
(click to enlarge)

Star Trek Ongoing #1 is available in comic stores today.

Buy Star Trek comics (including digital versions)

Star Trek comics can be ordered and pre-ordered from, and all are discounted.

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NOTE: TFAW is currently back-ordered on Star Trek Ongoing #1, you can also find it at

You can also purchase a digital version of issue #1 from

You can also pre-order the first three issues for the upcoming Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes crossover from TFAW.

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POLL: What do you think of the Star Trek comic?

What say you about the new Star Trek comic book series, or are you waiting for the first trade paperback graphic novel collection?




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These Ongoing Comics are foreshadowing for Trek 12 ? Can’t wait to read them !

This was a great issue as to what Where No Man Has Gone Before would be like under the reboot alternate timeline. It’s not that different, but there are variations. Since these comics will lead into the sequel, then it’s time to start collecting them.

Don’t believe the hype. This issue was boring and nearly exactly the same thing as the original tv episode. If you are going to do an alternate series make it different than what came before.


They butchered the classic story?

@ #3. Ivory.

In a recent interview Johnson said the first few stories would be like the original episodes and that we would see more changes as the timeline evolves (eventually foreshadowing the nest film). So I think the early similarities are intentional.

@3 exactly, this issue brought nothing new or different to the story of WNMHGB, they need to shake things up a lot more or this series is going to be a ripoff

I thought it was a pretty cool myself. They captured the looser, more energetic style of the new movie really well (especially loved Scotty’s log entry), and the art was the best I’ve seen in a Trek comic.

Makes me want to see these guys onscreen again even more.

This is was pretty decent. I’d have preferred a better artist like Gordon Purcell or Jerome Moore, but it was better than some others. Will they redo every episode, or just the better ones. Maybe they could make Spock’s brain make sense!

I liked it a lot. They hinted at differences, like Dehner not joining the crew because McCoy was already there.

Remember, her influence and later conflict with Mitchel is what saved Kirk in the original time line.

What will happen next issue without her?

I didn’t like the new comic. Using Gary Lockwood image as Gary Mitchell with the new cast just didn’t fit right. Too many story holes from the beginning. if the movie is any relation to these comics forget it – I’ll rent the DVD.

The story is indeed very similar to the original. I thought it was very entertaining though and different enough to tease us with the potential for future issues. The differing views are interesting though. I thought the story was a bit rushed and would prefer it if they took more time to establish the guest characters (e.g. three issues long) while others have said it was slow and boring.

The inclusion of Chekov and Sulu is conspicuous becaue they weren’t really needed for the story (although Sulu was in the original), so it may be that they are contractually obliged to include all the actors from the movie in each issue. If they intend to use Chapel or Rand in the sequel movie and they haven’t cast the actresses yet we may see those characters absent from any stories until they do.

The thing that concerns me is the sexism. There is no yeoman (although she was superfluous to the original story) and Dehner, who was important to the story, is now absent. If they are contractually obliged to include all the main cast (86/14 split or 88/12 with Keenser) and they are only including the main protagonist guest stars, we are going to see the number of women plummet even further than the inappropriate 70/30 of the sixties. Most of the women in the sixties were either window dressing or there as a love interest for one of the male characters so if they aren’t prepared to use one of the few women who was key to the plot and wasn’t a love interest by, er… turning her into a love interest, it really doesn’t bode well for the others. They need to ‘adjust’ some of the supporting cast e.g. use Angela Martine instead of Lee Kelso to even up the numbers. Rand, for example, only had a significant role in 4 of her 8 appearances, one of which (the Man Trap) was just really an introduction to her as a main character and two of which (the Enemy Within, Miri) used her to highlight the attraction between her and Kirk. My fear is that they will hand wave Rand away (and possibly other characters like Helen Noel – who as ship’s psychiatrist should really have appeared in this issue instead of Dehner) and use her roles to give Uhura something more to do, this will leave us with only one woman of any note, which is terrible if it makes the 21st century Trek more sexist than 60s Trek. If they add more women to the crew of the Galileo, that would be a good sign. Uhura did have something useful to do on the ship in that episode and fretting for her man seems likely so Yeoman Mears is likely to keep her role. However, Mears was a hasty addition when they fired Grace Lee Whitney, so they could revert to the original intention and use Rand instead if they do intend to use the character at all.

various points of interest i noticed:

-brown eyed Kirk

-Ten Foward like lounge

-Ent D/E style brief room

-no mention of the Hoth Delta Vega when DV is brought up (i expected Scotty to reference it)

Kirk’s brownish eyes bugged me. Pine’s blue eyes are one of the most striking and distinctive things about his appearance; it makes zero sense to change the color just to have them match up with Shatner, when they didn’t change the color in the actual movie, and he just looks wrong.

I’m pretty sure Tim Bradstreet’s photorealistic cover IS a Photoshop job of actual movie stills, or at least a direct tracing. I recognize all those exact poses either from the movie (Yes, I have watched it a lot), or from publicity stills.

That said, the little changes to the story are very interesting and I hope it all comes to a very different head in the next issue. I went ‘nooo!’ when it left off when it did.

So Pine’s Kirk can’t win anything where as Shat’s Kirk is always on top.

What do I have to do to get some new stories set in the new Star Trek universe? Great Art on this new series.

(From the 7 page preview) Really like the minor complaint from Gary to Kirk about Sulu (the kid) being in the helmsman’s chair. The relative inexperience of the Enterprise’s crew has GOT to be a plot point for the new Trek, at least in relation to the rest of Starfleet.

#3: Not true!

I like the story, although I don’t know that I approve of the deletion of Dr. Dehner’s character from this story.

I have not seen the comics. But… what? Pine/Kirk eyes are brown. Not good at all.

Hey there – comic writers and artists. These stories are supposed to take place in the alternate universe, are they not? Well, in this universe, James Tiberius Kirk’s eyes are EXACTLY the same colour as Chris Pine’s (beautiful) blue eyes and what is more, Dr Leonard (Bones) McCoy’s eyes are EXACTLY the same colour as Karl Urban’s nice brown eyes.

Please – make sure this mix up/mess up does not occur again!

Although the sixties actors were jot entitled to royalties, I wonder if they can only use images of the original actors if they can get permission from the actors or their estates? That could explain Kellerman’s absence? This could also affect the dynamic of the future issues I suppose and could affect the order in which the stories are told? Or are they under an obligation to use the original actors unless they ask not to be included? I hope they aren’t under such strict contractual contraints. I’d quite like to see Helen Noel, Kevin Riley, Janice Rand, or Ann Mulhall appear in more than just their original stories.

In 2151, Starfleet hadn’t been around too long.

I suppose the names United Space Probe Agency (the precursor to Starfleet) and SF have always been interchangable.

@11. Pauln6 – October 1, 2011 – do you realize that being concerned about men to women ratio in a comic book (and using hysteric words like “inappropriate” and “terrible” to describe such a random thing) makes YOU a sexist in the first place? Because who else but a sexist might be concerned about fictional characters’ sex?

Frankly, it makes about as much sense as those silly black racists on, who come crying “This movie is racist!” whenever there isn’t a black person included in the main cast.

Paul, your logic is questionable! Racism is harder to pin down when you are talking about the absence of a particular ethnicity since they may only represent a small portion of the overall population. It is harder to apply defend the absence of women, who form 50% of the population! Sexism in sci fi has been a pet hate of mine ever since I wrote my English Literature thesis on the subject 25 years ago, so I suppose I am more sensitised to the issue than most. More generally, this kind of subconscious sexism is a major problem for movie actresses who struggle to find decent roles even today. I prefer to pay attention over a period of time so I can say with some authority that the male/female ratio is not ‘a random thing’. In TOS though, we know that they officially had a policy to have more men and they were openly sexist. This means that, if they do nothing to change that ratio by introducing more women, the new version in the movies and the comics will also be sexist. That is perfectly logical. I don’t think that the writers of NuTrek are intentionally sexist, I think they are (like most of us and certainly most writers of Hollywood movies) subconsciously sexist. So their default setting for a character is male unless they can think of a reason to make them female, usually by reason of them being a wife, mother, girlfriend, etc. They can get away with it in a cop drama or murder mystery but in a sci fi show with pretensions of equality, it doesn’t really wash. If we have four men and three women on the Galileo 7 and some all female security teams, that will go some way to showing that they are at least aware of the gender issues. If the Galileo 7 consists of six men and one woman and the men are officers while the woman is an enlisted yeoman, that suggests that they are still sexist and need to be made aware of their shortcomings. Watch Eddie Murphy’s movie from the 80s called Boomerang. It was a silly movie but it played artfully with sexism and racism in quite a subtle way.

Just to clarify – the sexist issues weren’t subtle! It was the racist issue that was subtle.

Pauln6 wrote: “If the Galileo 7 consists of six men and one woman and the men are officers while the woman is an enlisted yeoman, that suggests that they are still sexist and need to be made aware of their shortcomings.”

And if it is six women and one man? What if four men, two women, and a sexless race member? What if one woman but she’s an admiral? I really have a problem with telling people who are creating art about their perceived “shortcomings”. You are welcome to like, dislike, or criticize a work – but don’t set quotas, participation thresholds, or other barriers to what can be a good story with interesting characters.

Blips don’t bother me so six women and one man for a single story would be fine. Six women and one man for the whole series would bother me for the same reasons as the opposite gender divide. It’s the trend over a long period that demonstrates the sexism. I’d love to see some of the less stereotypical aliens though. Saurians and Rhaandarites from TMP were species where the males and females looked very similar (to the human eye at least) while Arcturians as near as I can tell were asexual and reproduced by cloning. Weirdly, the alien helmsman on the Kelvin was billed as a male alien despite being played by an actress, compounding the pretty awful gender divide on that ship too for no particular reason that I can see. I’d like to know why they made that decision so get a handle on the way they approach the equality issue. And if Lee Kelso had been replaced by a different female navigator, would it have made the character less interesting? If so, why?

Oh and you don’t need quotas. Just alternate the genders whenever you introduce a guest character. You can keep it as an ongoing process or just reset the clock for each new issue. In some ways the second method would work better because if you always start with a woman, it will help to even up the imbalance created by the traditional main cast. In WNMHGB, this could have been Dehner, Mitchell, and Smith (in the new timeline Smith is a navigator instead of a yeoman). Hey presto, they’re still using established characters and they’ve evened up the genders a bit. In the Galileo 7 the process is trickier if the story uses Spock, McCoy, and Scotty on the shuttle. You would end up with just two women and six men on the shuttle but it’s a simple process that would still improve the sixties divide and would at least give us female security guards and engineers through a process of elimination.

Pauln6 – I agree with much of what you are saying. I did not know that they billed one of the aliens, played by a woman, as male. That is just dumb and rude.

Just a comment – you mentioned that you had done a thesis for English Literature. How come you do not use paragraphs? It would make reading your comments easier. Just a thought/suggestion.

Lol – I dunno – I think it’s an issue with my PC…

Is this thing on?

Apprently it is – best put it down to user error!

The problem with having women doing security, ie being in the red shirts a lot of the time, is that, traditionally in Star Trek, the ones in the red shirts are the first to get killed. This means that you have a (good) proportion of the young, healthy female population getting bumped off.

I actually believe that there is a degree of genuine hardwiring in both the human male and female brains that would not allow for this in general to occur. The instinct is to protect the young female, which means she does not generally get to go onto frontline duties. Tasha Yar was an exception, as there will always be.

It is a primordial survival of the species instinct and it is about enough young women being able to successfully procreate and, with assistance, rear the next generation. This is common sense and it is not being sexist. Being sexist is young women denying that part of themselves or having it denied to them in various ways. What is wrong with women characters being lovers, mothers, as well as being competent star ship crew members? Women get to play many roles, be many things in life…sometimes I feel sorry for guys, because they just can’t get to do/experience what a good majority of females can be and do. It is hard work though – for many.

I don’t object to actresses playing male aliens per se if we also have actors playing female aliens. If they do decide to use Saurians and Rhaandarites in the sequel, they could have actors playing lady aliens but I suspect the whole notion might make them nervous. Plus they aren’t well known, iconic species. The tendency seems to be to use only well known species or random visually interesting species milling around in the background.

But Keachick, you are viewing the prospect of female security guards through the prism of your 21st century human prejudices. Those prejudices have no place in the 23rd century and even if they did, they need not apply to many other species. Australia has just removed its restrictions on allowing women to serve on the front lines. Other nations will follow.

Do you also have something against female engineers? :P

No, I do not have anything against female engineers, doctors, mechanics, carpenters, chefs, nurses, teachers, professors, security guards, actresses, directors, writers, producers, statisticians, senators, prime ministers, presidents… In fact, I do not have anything against females being in the Armed Forces. It is not about prejudice. It is about common sense. You do not put your young, healthy, procreative female population in dangers way, if you do not have to.

Today, there are 7 billion people on the earth. I guess it does not matter much if a proportion of the young females never get to procreate for one reason or another, but putting women in extra ordinary danger makes no sense.

My comments have to do with allowing for the ongoing survival of the human race in general and of some races and cultures, in particular. That is hardly prejudice.

Yeah I’m just teasing. Starfleet employees represent a tiny proportion of Federation members and few members of Starfleet, whether male or female, seem to have children. I don’t think it’s worthwhile to worry about women in Starfleet security’s future breeding prospects.

I enjoyed the first issue. I was happy to find it on the shelf at my local comic store as I didn’t actually know new Trek comics were actually coming out.

I hope that as the stories go on they write some original adventures of their own! I don’t just want to re-read episodes I’ve already seen.

The small differences and nice art made it different enough for me to enjoy all the same. I just don’t want them all to be old stuff.

Also hope that we always get the option of a comic book art cover, I don’t like buying licensed comics with hyper-realistic actor art on the cover.

I ordered my copy and got an issue with the comic book cover but with hindsight, if they are doing a series of movie covers including elements of the new stories, I think I would have preferred that. Maybe I’ll need to buy another copy. I’m tempted to buy the trade paperback of the movie tie ins. Is it worthwhile?

On the gender divide issue, I’ve dipped into Warehouse 13 and it seems that they have the right idea on that show, even it is cheesy in many respects. They had 2 men and 1 woman as their main cast, supplemented in season one with three part-time female characters and one part-time male character. Season two became 2 men and 2 women, supplemented by 2 part-time female characters. Season 3 seems to be 2 men and 2 women supplemented by 4 part-time female characters and 3 part-time male characters.

I agree that the male to female ratio was/is unbalanced. I’m not sure how they can get round that easily.

One idea I had was to have Sulu and Chekov as females. Uhura would, of course, remain female. The notion was that everybody conceived and born BEFORE Nero’s incursion, branching and creation of the alternate timeline would be male, including, of course, Kirk, who was conceived before that event. That would mean that Scotty, Spock, McCoy and Kirk would be male, however those, like Sulu and Chekov conceived AFTER Nero’s incursion, could be female, instead of male. The alt. universe Sulu and Chekov could be like twin sisters of the prime Sulu and Chekov. The alt. Sulu and Chekov would be the ages they are in the 09 movie and would have followed similar, if not the same, career paths as their prime counterparts, except that they would be female. This, in itself, would/could create an interesting dynamic, slightly different from what we saw in TOS and movies.

The biggest problem, I suspect, would have been the audiences, many of whom are Trek purists. I can almost hear people baulking and barfing at this suggestion, if I am not at all mistaken. As the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon said, “We have a long way to go”.

(BTW, I do love John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov.)

Well that ship has already sailed… but I admit, I would not have been a fan of converting male characters to female myself. I would much prefer them to do something with the female characters that the franchise already has. Purists would have understood why Chekov was absent. His inclusion in the first movie was an understandable but unnecesary step. Anton is great but from a gender divide perspective, including Ilia, Number One, or Janice Rand would have been better.

NuBSG did ‘convert’ some of the traditionally male characters into female characters but in name only. Starbuck was the only recognisable character conversion. In fact I was disappointed that there was no recognisable attempt to convert any of the pre-existing female characters despite a lot of potential. Duala had elements of Athena but after some promising moments in season one, including a scene where she dresses down Adama, they limited her to love interest territory. The nuAthena didn’t really have much in common with the original concept. Six had elements of Cassiopeia but I would have loved to see her as a fully realised hooker character in her own right; NuSheba only really appeared in Razor and they didn’t even bother to name one of the journalists after Serena.

Star Trek can do ok on the issue as long as it is on their radar. They aren’t deliberately targetting and excluding the female characters because they are female but they are being bumped in favour of male characters time and again. They could just flip the coin and make all new characters female unless they have a reason to be male but we would get a lot of security guards in mini skirts.