Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken #1
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Scott and David Tipton
Art and colors by J.K. Woodward
Space… The final frontier. These are the voyages of the I.S.S. Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to conquer strange new worlds, to enslave new life and new civilizations… To boldly go where no one has gone before!
The Mirror Universe. One of the most beloved and adapted storylines in Star Trek history has finally made its way to TNG, with an epic six-issue miniseries from the writers and artist that brought us Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever – The Original Teleplay adaptation.
“In every revolution, there’s one man with a vision.” This is arguably the most memorable line of Kirk’s speech at the end of the original Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror.” That man turned out to be Spock, whom Kirk convinced that peace was the answer. But, as we learned in the DS9 episode “Crossover,” Mirror Spock’s rise to power ultimately weakened the Empire, leaving it defenseless to attack from the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance. “I submit to you” what I believe is a more appropriate line in that speech for this story. “Your Empire is illogical because it cannot endure.” It turns out Kirk was dead wrong. In fact, had he not interfered and convinced Spock to change his mind, one could argue that the Empire would be stronger than ever at this point.
As a result of Spock’s leadership, most of the Empire’s fleet have been wiped out. Few ships remain to defend Earth, including the I.S.S. Stargazer, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. When we first meet him, Mirror Picard seems very much like ours – patient, strategic, methodical. He’s carefully considering his next move and doesn’t act impulsively like other Captains we may know from this universe. More on that later. Things are grim for the Empire, but there’s still hope. According to Troi, there are swirling rumors about a certain, brand-new galaxy-class warship in development that could turn the tide for the Empire and Picard wants it.
While on patrol, the Stargazer encounters a Cardassian ship, although the outcome is much different from the story our Picard told in the TNG episode, “The Wounded.” If they can capture the ship in one piece and bring it back to the Empire, it would be “quite the prize.” After ordering a newly promoted Security Chief Barclay to fire on the Cardassian ship to cripple it, Picard has Data target the life support systems because, after all, they only came for the ship. Once the entire Cardassian crew has been blown out into space, Picard “mercifully” beams two of them aboard as prisoners before they have a chance to suffocate. Onto Utopia Planitia!
What’s interesting about this crew is that while their backstories are different, they still seem to be the characters we’ve known all along. As the Tiptons stated in our interview with them, “The Mirror Universe characters aren’t opposites; they’re the same people, just raised in an entirely different culture, which is bound to affect every decision they make.” Just because someone lives in the “mirror universe,” it doesn’t mean that they are “evil.” In fact, these characters seem far from it. Data and Barclay go to lunch together. Troi advises the Captain on the sentiment of the crew. Picard is a mentor and leader that demands the best – even challenging Data to “think bigger” and states that “there has to be a greater destiny” for him. Aside from a random stabbing in the mess hall, this crew all seem to be united.
This idea of “thinking bigger” is something Picard wrestles with this entire issue. The Empire, he says, is too reactionary and something needs to be done about it. Taking Picard’s advice, Data plugs himself into the Utopia Planitia computer bank to gather information on this mythical Galaxy-Class warship, conveniently named Enterprise. He also learns that a former Stargazer officer has been assigned to the new vessel – Lt. Geordi La Forge. After a brief meeting with someone that looks like Bruce Maddox, La Forge (and his goggle-like VISOR) is treated to a pint of Romulan Ale by Picard where they hatch a plan to steal the Enterprise.
I’m a huge fan of JK Woodward’s gritty, painted art style – although the likenesses can be hit or miss. Let’s face it, Picard looks great with a beard. His physique is also impressive because just enough. In fact, it was well known that he was ripped – we just rarely saw it. The suffocating Cardassians, while disgusting, are absolutely frightening. Unlike some other comic artists, Woodward does a masterful job of capturing emotions – you can see the horror on their faces.
The Tiptons had 30 years of TNG mirror universe expectations to live up to and I think they nailed it, setting the stage perfectly for the rest of the series. This issue is a bit slow in pacing, but that’s by design. It re-established the universe and provided an exceptional character-driven story. Going into “Mirror Broken”, I was expecting Picard to be an evil, Green Room-type villain. Instead, we were given a multidimensional character motivated by hope, which Troi says, is what “every living thing needs to survive.” I’m anxious to see how this plays out.
5-Page Preview: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken #1
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The first printing for Mirror Broken #1 has already sold out. IDW has ordered a second printing. If you can’t find it at your local comic shop, try the IDW Store where you can also purchase a digital version. You may wan to consider pre-ordering issue #2 at TFAW to make sure you get a copy.
Keep up with all the Star Trek comics news, previews and reviews in TrekMovie’s Comics Category.
Dark Mirror, a TNG novel by Diane Duane, is a also a great mirror universe story featuring Picard and the rest of the TNG cast. I’m huge fan of mirror universe stories. I was always disappointed the TNG TV series never did one. Will definitely check this out.
I was always surprised that they never used the Mirror Universe in the movies or TV show. The Mirror Universe would have been the obvious way to bring back Spock after TWOK, allowing Leonard Nimoy to stick around as Mirror Spock for subsequent films, while TNG season one’s ‘Conspiracy arc’ would have made more sense if the infiltration of Starfleet had been by Mirror Universe doubles.