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 www.enterpriseedition.co.uk. 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.
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.
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 read.idwpublishing.com, 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.