TrekInk: Review of Countdown to Darkness #1

uhura In the months since their encounter with Nero, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise have been exploring strange new worlds, new civilizations, and now, they must face a grave new threat to the security of the Federation. IDW Publishing releases Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 this week, the first chapter of a four-issue prequel to Star Trek Into Darkness. Comic spoilers ahead. Will there be movie spoilers too? One more time. Spoilers.

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 (of 4)
Story by Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson, script by Mike Johnson, art by David Messina, ink assist by Marina Castelvetro, coloring by Claudia Scarletgothica, letters by Chris Mowry, creative consultant Anthony Pascale, edited by Scott Dunbier


Months after the loss of Vulcan and his mother, Spock is still having difficulty. His grief keeps him awake and pushes Uhura away. Kirk is awake too, talking to the computer because he lacks companionship. Both arrive on the bridge ahead of schedule for a routine mission, scanning a pre-industrial society on Phaedus. A high frequency energy field from the planet’s surface disrupts communications and the transporter. Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Hendorff take a shuttle to investigate and are attacked with energy weapons. Sulu is seriously injured when the shuttle goes down. Armed with weapons they shouldn’t have and an older model Starfleet tricorder, the natives of Phaedus demand identification. Kirk, in turn, demands to know where they got their weapons. Robert April, a former captain of the Enterprise answers.


Flouting the prime directive and lens flares. Some things never change!


I have to tip my hat to Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson. They effortlessly pick up threads woven in the first film and the ongoing comic series, then smack us upside the head with an unexpected character. Pairing up this surprising introduction with David Messina’s amazing sharp-edged inks makes the comic a treat. Messina always works with very capable colleagues. Marina Castelvetro and Claudia Scarletgothica are no exception. Chris Mowry handles the lettering for a lot of dialogue very capably. Kudos to everyone involved. Do I have any quibbles? Well, one, but it’s minor. There’s a whole lot of lens flare going on here. It doesn’t distract from the impact of the art. I guess it’s just become part of the nuTrek equation. There isn’t enough information in this comic to predict where the story is going or how it ties in to Star Trek Into Darkness. Nevertheless, with a former captain of the Enterprise as a potential adversary, I’d say we’re living in interesting times.

It shouldn’t be difficult to find a copy of Countdown to Darkness #1, but it might be difficult to pick the one you want. As is IDW’s custom, we get a plethora of covers with this first issue. David Messina’s portrait of Kirk is the principal cover. Kirk will fit together with covers from the next three issues featuring Uhura, Spock and a Klingon, in the same style as posters for the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film and Star Trek: Countdown, the first movie prequel from IDW Publishing. The B cover is a reproduction of a poster for Star Trek Into Darkness featuring John Harrison with his backside flapping in the winds of destruction. The retailer incentive cover is a variant of Messina’s art cover which has been graded and slabbed by CGC. There will only be 100 copies available. Retailers who want one of these scarce comics must order 250 copies of the regular issue to qualify for one CGC-graded variant. There are also two retailer exclusive covers. The Enterprise Edition, with art by Stephen Molnar, featuring the Enterprise and a grim-faced Kirk, is limited to 1701 copies and available online at Orders can be placed from a US or UK vendor. The Hastings Exclusive features Kirk, Spock and McCoy, armed and dangerous. This cover is drawn by Erfan Fajar and can be purchased at Hastings Entertainment brick-and-mortar stores in the US. It’s a tough call, but I have to give the nod to Molnar’s Enterprise edition as the best cover. I have no idea if the details of Molnar’s Enterprise are accurate. Don’t care. It just looks cool.


Cover A: Art by David Messina and colors by Claudia Scarletgothica, Cover B: Photo cover

Cover RI CGC: Art by David Messina and colors by Claudia Scarletgothica


Cover ENTERPRISE EDITION: Art by Stephen Molnar and colors by John Roach, Cover RE Hastings Exclusive: Art by Erfan Fajar and colors by Stellar Labs

Preview of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1

Diamond Previews released the first five pages of the comic last week, but here they are again, with two extra pages.

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 1 Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 2 Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 3 Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 4 Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 5 Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 6 Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 Page 7

You can find Countdown to Darkness #1 at your local comic shop on Wednesday. If your local comic shop runs out of copies, don’t worry. IDW has already scheduled a second printing which will be in comic shops late February. Star Trek comics from IDW Publishing are also available in digital format same day as print, for your laptop or desktop computer, and your gadgets. See, IDW’s Star Trek app at iTunes, or the comiXology app at Amazon or Google Play.

Digital Star Trek comics available same day as print!

If you don’t care to purchase and read the four individual issues of Countdown to Darkness, they’ll be collected in trade paperback for publication in late April, before the new Star Trek film is released. You can pre-order the book at Amazon.

Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.

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How many people actually read these?

Wow!! April?

So no Khan then….

i read them

i so HAVE to read this. omg i can’t wait!

Peter Weller as Robert April, perhaps?

He did say he was playing a member of Starfleet, and had his own ship. We haven’t heard squat, what role he might be playing in the movie. All the focus has been on Benedict Cumberbatch.

How can Robert April be a former Captain of the Enterprise? In the precedent movie we saw the launch of Enterprise with Captain Christopher Pike on chair. Do you mean there was an other ship Enterprise between NX 01 and NCC 1701? I just can follow you anymore!

How can April be a former captain of the Enterprise? We saw the Enterprise’s maiden voyage and Pike was in command.

I love how even the comics have lens flares. ;-)

Gotta admit,

That guy a couple weeks back who we all thought was crazy with all the Robert April postings — well he is probably getting the last laugh on this now. Looks like he was spot-on!

Kudos to that guy who predicted this — can’t recall his name?

3. boborci

I’m not counting you or anybody involved in the making of it.

I was thinking about the fans because this is the only place I see these comics get discussed and even here there’s only a few comments each time.
So far the larger portion of the fandom is either ignorant or uninterested?

well… the first coutdown series made the NY Times best seller list. so somebody besides me and my mother must read them. or maybe my mother just buys a lot more copies than she admits;)!

I read them too

11. boborci

So it’s just the local fans then. Probably the youngest generation too.

What are you going to do with the rest of the world this time around? Abrams Trek has a lot of work to do, first movie wasn’t even in the top ten worldwide which is sad considering which movies did make it.

Drew McWeeny over at hitfix had a Robert April theory. I thought he was insane. Now…

I bought the trade paperback for the `09… And will be doing the same for this run too.

@11. I hate comics Bob, but I had to order the last countdown series, and I just ordered issue #1 of this countdown series. Gotta to have my sequel pre-info fix…I am like a junkie.

Why am I still up???

13. why is it sad? box office is all you care about?

mj. why are you still up?

I wish i was asleep, too, but sometimes, u gotta work nights.

go to bed;)!

I think that many people still have a problem to consider comics to be canon. Countdown was pretty good and I considered the stiory should have benn included in the movie, but I understand tha making a three hours movie is risky. I love Messina’s Drawing and i’m just asking question about the story because these comics are canon and so, mistakes are difficult to admit for fans. That’s because I want Star Trek to be great that I post my doubts when I have some. I don’t want anything that you bring Star Trek higher. Just do it!

Looks interesting :D

Hey Bob, the George Kirk in the last movie was loosely based on the version from Diane Carey’s old novels “Final Frontier” and “Best Destiny”, yes? Is the same true of this version of Robert April? Or did you and Mike Johnson go in a different direction with the character?

I liked how the 2009 Countdown was canon and important to the story of the movie, but on the other hand you could watch the movie without reading the Countdown and understand everything. That was some neat writing. :) Hope the 2013 Countdown will be like that as well. Great stuff, Bob!

yea on Kirk.

alternate universe April affected more by change in history.

thanks, SOB

Hi Bob! So cool that you post here. Thanks.

17. boborci – January 22, 2013

It’s sad you find the majority of fans to be irrelevant. Abrams Trek has to branch out and work on pleasing more than the least common dominator of American youth.

@18. Yea, thanks Bob. Good night!


american youth? our trek is highest grossing trek in history in this country, even adjusted for inflation. so what are you talking about?

iva. and given my hundreds of posts on this fan site, your accusation that I find fans irrelevant doesn’t hold water.


your trek is inspiring. i come from a small country, with a small rate of trekfans but even here, the fresh new clean trek look, in line with the traditional trek spirit we all-trekfans- cherish, has been more than appreciated.

Thank you.

How do you get the impression that Bob Orci thinks the majority of fans irrelevant?

I would read the comics if they were easily available.

Anyway, Star Trek has always been more of an audio/visual medium to me.

29. thank you!

what country?

to boborci and the whole crew: thanks for your work on these comics and novelizations. this stuff is what makes star trek come alive again.

You mean… he might not wear a cardigan over his uniform? :(


Bob, I keep wondering how close you are to the Post-production of the movie?

I mean, was your (You, Kurztman, Lindelof) job over when the writing was done or are you engaged in Post-production as well since you guys are producers as well?

yeah, exactly. since we are producers AND JJ is so collaborative, we are more involved than we sometimes have time for;)

31. I come from Greece. I watched the 2009 movie 5 times at the cinema, all 5 times, the cinema was full of people of all ages. And, full of excitement.

Again, thank you for all that good stuff.

bridging the gap

wow. 5 times? thank you!

have heard Greece is more than beautiful. will visit someday.

thanks again for watching it. hope not to disappoint you this year!

Say what you will, but I for one like the lens flares. Even in the comics.

I didn’t think April would really be mentioned, but I’m wrong. Still the “Into the Darkness” preludes might all be about the corruption in Star Fleet without the movie villain(s) being in them so it doesn’t mean we will see April in the films. But it certainly raises the possibility.

Garth still fits everything. Doesn’t mean he will be in it, but he still fits.

That was a great preview! I love seeing character development like this. Seeing Spock and his continuing struggle to deal with the loss of Vulcan and his mother, and how that’s affecting his relationship with Uhura. I hope there’s stuff like this in Into Darkness!

FYI – if you like this comic, most of the credit goes to Mike Johnson. and of course, very cool to have Anthony Pascale consulting.

I just realized that its 2 am in LA.

So while I’m sitting here on the other side of the planet wasting work hours, Bob Orci is working late night on some awesome movie/tv projects and answering trek questions on here.

Damn, I’m living in the future. ;)


i am in new orleans where it s 430 am!

i know what you mean about living in the future. weird that we can chat on Al Gore’s internets;)

Bob, what’s up with the movie not coming out until July in Spain! I can’t believe I am going to have to wait two more months than everybody else to see the movie. Also will have to avoid Internet spoilers etc. it is going to be impossible and will ruin the movie for me.


Hello Iva & Hawaii, Hello Bob. Awesome!!! TAS gets a nod, Captain April comes to life. Extremely pleased @ the tidbits that are slowly piecing this puzzle together without giving away too much. I read these comics myself, but apparently part1 of this 4 part Into Darkness prequel isn’t available yet. I’m patient, I have my copy reserved…

Ha Ha I knew it Peter Weller is Robert April!
I wouldnt be surprised if John Harrison turns out to be a reverse aged April.


i must admit that the situation sucks. u have my sympathy. will try n think of way to make it up to u.

45 thanks, Captain Nick!

good night, all. nice to have company.

No probs, it’s just a bit frustrating. But I know it’s not your fault, it’s all marketing nowadays and Trek has never been big here. Gibraltar is a couple of hours away and hopefully they will have the same release date there as the UK.