TrekInk: Review of Countdown to Darkness #2

april The prequel to Star Trek Into Darkness continues this week with Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #2, from IDW Publishing. We learn more about Captain Robert April and we’re briefly introduced to another iconic character with an alternate universe twist. Spoilers ahead.

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #2 (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


Surrounded by natives of Phaedus IV led by Captain Robert April, Kirk confronts the former commander of a previous Enterprise, reported dead twenty years ago. April explains that they’re in the middle of a terrible civil war and Kirk’s shuttle was shot down by the opposition. Still under attack, Kirk and Spock are forced to leave their crewmates behind in the shuttle and follow April to safety in a hidden cavern. Safe for the moment, April explains why he’s on the planet. Kirk learns that his shuttle crew has been captured by April’s adversaries, the Shadows. He also learns what April expects of him. Meanwhile, Uhura has the conn, and is notified of an unidentified incoming vessel. The ship’s pilot is a businesswoman making a delivery to Phaedus. She claims to be working for April. Her name is Mudd.


Oh my Prophets! It’s Mudd!


The second issue of the Star Trek Into Darkness prequel delves into the reasons for Captain Robert April’s disappearance and his dissatisfaction with Starfleet policy. However, very little of what April has to say satisfies Kirk, and this makes sense to me. This Kirk doesn’t have the years of experience disregarding the Prime Directive that Kirk Prime had. Writer Mike Johnson is presenting us with a very intriguing contrast. There are several more interesting threads started in this issue–Uhura in command, Spock doing something rash, and, of course, there’s a Mudd like no Mudd we’ve seen before. David Messina’s art, with an able assist from Marina Castelvetro, brings it all together very nicely. I have one quibble about Robert April. He can look very different from one panel to the next, which is a little disconcerting. Nevertheless, another good read and I’m looking forward to resolution of all the story threads.

David Messina’s portrait of Uhura is the principal cover for issue #2. The B cover is a photograph of Kirk. The retailer incentive cover is a variant of Messina’s art cover which has been graded and slabbed by CGC. Only 100 copies are available. Messina’s cover art is always memorable. I’m not sure why IDW decided to offer a limited CGC-graded retailer incentive. The art is essentially identical to the A cover. I usually complain about too many covers. Now I can complain because I can’t get one of the covers offered.


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

You can find Countdown to Darkness #2 at your local comic shop this Wednesday, February 20, and in digital format same day as print. See, IDW’s Star Trek app at iTunes, or the comiXology app at Amazon or Google Play.

Preview of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #2

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

The trade paperback collection of Countdown to Darkness is scheduled 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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So the Alt-Enterprise is the Enterprise A? Or what? How does this work out?

This old mission would have been in the late 2030’s.

Oh snap. Did April have the NX-01?

A female mudd?

Could Captain Robert April be the character that Peter Weller is playing?

And it looks like Harriet Mudd is Bajoran? Or am I reading too much into the earring and nose crinkle ?

Well Harry Mudd was married. Perhaps this is his wife or (shudder) daughter.

He’s a she too. Or am I reading too much into that female look?

This reminds me how much I miss crinkle-cut fries. But a little bbq sauce (mud) on ’em.


Very Curious to know what Enterprise april commanded.

That is quite interesting re/Aprl’s ENTERPRISE being decommissioned years before. It would explain a lot — and it might mean we’ll get to see the original (real) ENTERPRISE again.

Now THAT would be the surprise cameo of the century.


You think we will see the old TOS version of Enterprise? Maybe NCC-1601?

April had Archer’s Enterprise. It’s still canon in JJ-Trek, it’s the only real explanation.

ARG does this mean I can download it on my iphone then? WHY DIDN’T I BRING IT WITH ME TO WORK??? heh

Will not read spoilers until I read it for myself…

How was April captain of the Enterprise 20 years ago if the ship is only a couple of years old by this point? It was newly launched in the 2009 film. Was there another Enterprise between the NX-01 and this one that we didn’t know about? Or is the current Enterprise the refit Constitution class and everyone’s just managed to avoid saying it until now?

14 – well, based on the “sample” on the apple site that I could read, April definitely was NOT the captain of Kirk’s enterprise. Whether he was the captain of the NX-01 or another one, well, I may have to wait to read the whole thing to know that….

fun stuff!

The alt Enterprise is a Constitution class refit. The Enterprise launched in 2245 (Captain Robert April) is the original Constitution class.

April’s Enterprise probably looked like the kelvin, that style of building. ILM did a pic not long after the other ships seen in ST2009 came out online…

@15: GAH! I’ll have a really hard time believing that the NX-01 was a relevant ship all the way up until a few years before the current Enterprise launched, but I’ll still have a hard time believing there was another Enteprise between the NX-01 and 1701 that was never mentioned until now. The NX-01 was launched around 2151, and Kirk gets his Enterprise around 2260. No way the NX-01 was kicking around for over 100 years.

It has to be that the current Enterprise is a refit of the original TOS Constitution, otherwise it would have to be the 1701-A, which we know it isn’t.

Multiple production sources say that the prime timeline’s NCC-1701 was commissioned in 2245, presumably with Robert April in command. Pike took command of the NCC-1701 in the early 2250’s. Kirk took command in 2265. In the alternate timeline (JJverse),the split in the timelines occurred in 2233 and the NCC-1701 wasn’t commissioned until 2258. According to the dialogue in the comic, April disappeared around 2238 in the alternate timeline.

So, Robert April must have commanded the NX-01 or otherwise designated Enterprise in the this timeline.

took a bit. we can argue all to heck now about the NCC hull number now but in light to how everything else looked… it would make sence that we still would get a TOS looking ship in JJ-trek’s universe…

assuming that the comic is cannon, of course. Derp.

They are just all over the place now.

“Well Harry Mudd was married. Perhaps this is his wife or (shudder) daughter.”

That is possible.

In the original ST09 script, Captain April and the original Enterprise were going to be destroyed when Nero attacked, but the studio didn’t like it so they switched to the Kelvin and Captain Robau. But since this never aired, they’re not bound to it.

I’m guessing the Constitution class Enterprise that April commanded was decommissioned when a larger, more powerful ship was needed in response to Nero’s attack. This would also mean that Pike may have commanded the ship after April was lost.

#14,#17: Kirk’s Enterprise can’t simply be a refit. Kirk says that April’s Enterprise was decommissioned and that he got the new Enterprise.

20. Moputo Jones – February 19, 2013
Multiple production sources say that the prime timeline’s NCC-1701 was commissioned in 2245, presumably with Robert April in command.


Well, if that’s true, maybe this Enterprise is a refit, or maybe it is a new construction, but the old ship wasn’t distinguished enough to warrant the new ship getting a letter. Who knows how the lettering system works anyway, because the Defiant didn’t have a letter attached to it. Maybe it’s something they only did with the Enterprise because of it’s flagship status.

My theory on this is that April commanded the original Constitution class Enterprise (the one we know and love). Kirk’s E is a refit. I would also bet that Pike served as April’s first officer on the original Enterprise and that Pike had something to do with April’s presumed death.

Now if we were to assume that Weller is April, then the question again becomes who is Cumberbatch?

Devin Faraci as Badassdigest is absolutely sure he is Khan. I am pretty sure myself and have been since Cumberbatch was first announced as being cast in the film. But if April is involved in STID, then what is his connection to Khan?

Could April have found the Botany Bay and decided to study the augments in an attempt to improve his own genetic makeup? Or was Khan and the augments found by someone else and then turned over to Starfleet, where some of them were experimented on. April was aware of it and decided to recruit Khan for some special mission.

I do believe Cumby is Khan and April will be in STID. The problem for me now is how the two characters connect.

This Bajoran thing is interesting. At first I thought she was maybe a slave sold to Mudd by the Cardassians, but the Occupation started much later. I’m not sure how spaceworthy the Bajorans were at that time, I thought they had just sublight stuff before the occupation. Hmmnn….it’d be interesting if the Cardassians moved their time schedule up after the Kelvin incident and invaded Bajor 70-80 years earlier.

By the way, the writers must love the Kelvin incident, because it’s so minor, but could cause tons of justified changes to the time stream.

#26. Robert April in the JJverse went MIA in 2238, so even if Kirk’s Enterprise had still originally been commissioned in 2245, April wouldn’t have been on it. April’s Enterprise had to have been the NX-01 or an intermediate Enterprise never mentioned in the ST universe before.

i know this is canon but hopefully someone can answer is the star trek ongoing jjverse comics canon as well?

Where is boborci when you need him? My head is literally beginning to hurt.

I’m not sure “Mudd” is necessarily Bajoran. Her nose may just be crinkled because of her grin, and the style of earring is also worn by women in the real world.

Any female characters cast in the film that are thus far unnamed?

Wait a minute. All the alternate time line events are supposed to happen after Nero comes in. At that point, Archer and crew were already doing other things. Like being an older Admiral for one. But the NX-01 was to have been decommissioned after a 10 year voyage, stated on the last episode of Enterprise. So that means, there would’ve had to have been another Enterprise for April in this timeline. I’d like to think it was another NCC-1701 pre-refit? Technically they didn’t have to start using the A.B.C.D. etc until later. What do you think?

@21 I actually like the look of the Kelvinprise more than the JJprise that we got in the movies.

As for Mudd, that has to be a wife or daughter since she’s Bajorian.

31. Exhilerating, isn’t it? :).

Well, April does say Kirk’s in command of his (April’s) ship. Could be a refit, maybe April doesn’t know his ship was (destroyed, decommissioned?) or maybe it’s a figure of speech.

Hmmm. Could the nu-Enterprise be a massively refit NX-01? Just throwing shit out there. It would explain/retcon (sort of) why we never saw the NX on those observation lounge models and rec dec photos in the future/in the 1970s/80s. .

Cumberbatch’s is playing April in the new movie… lol

I always knew that Mudd is worse when it is a woman … probably just me understand this joke … Whatever … LOL

@25: So it’s sounding like either they screwed up with the NCC number and the current Enterprise should be the 1701-A, or it’s a refit and there’s some new meaning behind a ship being ‘decommissioned’ and building a new one.

How did these guys not realize this wouldn’t make any sense?

JJ and Orci did say in an interviw that the Narada technology was scanned by the Kelvin and that those scans helped to boost the technology in the alternate reality. The technological advancements plus the destruction of Vulcan shifted the power and balance in the quadrant and changed everything. The Narada incident with the Kelvin replaces Balance of Terror as the Federations first encounter with the Romulans regardless of the era they came from.

Harry Mudd could be dead for all we know. That is the beauty of starting over again. It may be implied in the films that they encountered certain people or civilizations from the television show but I doubt we will see Trelane or Kirk fighting a Gorn in any future films.

Maybe Bajorans explored space earlier thus preventing an occupation or maybe the Cardassians invaded over a century earlier? Who Knows. Orci did say in a recent Star interview that comics are not canon. (There was a huge inconsistency with the first Countdown and Film which a lot of people like to pretend does not exist but it does. In the film Spock implies that his encounter with Nero was the first time they had met. Why would you have to introduce yourself to someone you already know? I digress)

I don’t believe that this series will reveal much of anything about the movie. I think this story may drop a hint or two. This may be the mission they are on before they are called back to Earth.

That would be super interesting if he commanded the NX-01. I wonder how much all this stuff ties in with the movie.

39. I have faith in these guys — I expect this to make sense eventually, even if it isn’t all spelled out.

Unless Damon Lindelof’s involved. Then the inconsistency can mean whatever we want it to mean.

38. I don’t get it. :).

Doug Drexler did a refit sometime back of the NX-01 to give it more of the look that marked Federation ships for generations to come:


(I’m still waiting for some toy or model company to hose the works and announce pre-orders for Captain April’s ENTERPRISE (with pictures) or something)

If they were to use Captain Robert April in future sequels, I can picture Liam Neeson playing him.

The introduction of the female “Mudd” where she only labels herself by what would presumably be her last name seems to indicate definite Bajoranity, if the canon-meisters want to accept that as a word. Has there ever been a case of a female Bajoran marrying a human male and taking on his last name? Would that essentially be her first name, like it is represented here? I’m interested, but wary. I’m going to need some awesomeness on the level of Countdown to tie all these threads together in time for Into Darkness.

#45 Y’know, I think I heard something that gives JJ some in-roads to the Star Wars actors…

Abrams Trek is garbage. Please, please, please for the love of God, let someone else have control of Trek. I know at least 20 or 30 people who would love to make a new Trek movie, and not only would they do it a million times better than JJ and his lackeys ever could, they wouldn’t charge nearly as much to do it.

Also, the “April’s Enterprise” scenario interests me. Hoping for the Drexler model to be the definitive model, but the idea that the original Constitution class ship was damaged under April and upgraded to look the way it does in the 2009 film seems to be the most likely case. Also hoping for some kind of Enterprise cameo in future issues. T’Pol, “Admiral” (bleh) Archer, maybe even a novel-canon inspired revived Trip (maybe I’m reaching). I have liked the whole “surprise-cameo-right-at-the-end-of-each-issue-that’s-crazy-and-blows-my-mind-everytime” and expect more in the future.

April’s Enterprise was apparently decommissioned in 2257. April apparently disappeared in 2239. Kirk joined the Academy in 2255. If Kirk’s Enterprise is a refit of April’s, then the decommission date doesn’t fit the date of Kirk’s entrance into the Academy, since we know he saw the Enterprise at that time being worked on in Iowa. It also means that someone besides April commanded the Enterprise for another 18 years after April vanished.