Written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott. The art and cover are by Derek Charm.
Star Trek fans have been well served, in the past, by various mediums looking to fill in the blanks between the various TV and movie incarnations. In this case, we are going back to school with the new timeline adventures of Kirk and co.
There is a mystery afoot, one that has its beginning in 2258 with Uhura, and whose repercussions may be felt three years later by a new group of students.
Veteran Trek writer Mike Johnson is joined by Ryan Parrott whose goal is to create an enjoyable story, despite the trappings of being set in the past. This is a problem that Marvel is also facing with their Obi-Wan & Anakin book out this week. The difference here is that the Trek main cast is used more for framing rather than the main focus. This change means that the new characters get to spend more time in the limelight which only works if the new characters are interesting and for the most part, they are. I particularly liked Vel, the Monchezkin and his need to explain everything which added some humour. I also liked the fact that the token Vulcan, T’Laan, has the ramifications of her planets demise to contend with, a major event that got surprising little screen time in the second movie.
Art is supplied by Derek Charm with a very simple style that, unfortunately in my opinion, is yet another impact of “Batgirl-ing”. Now, I am not a big fan of this style, but I do have to say that in comparison to other artists using this style, I do think that Charm’s is a better example. In addition, Charm has to make the regular cast recognizable and show them as their younger selves. All in all that is quite a feat and for the most part he does well. The colors in the book are not particularly subtle, but the script doesn’t call for much more than what is produced.
The idea of Academy years had been bandied around prior to The Undiscovered Country, according to William Shattner’s Movie Memoirs book. The fact that part of the idea was used for J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek movie shows that there is some life in the idea. The film sets up the idea that the Enterprise crew knew each other in the Academy and the writers of this book, have taken that idea, kept the interaction to a minimum and sprinkled in some fun new characters. In the battle between prequel books, I think that this month, Trek has surpassed Wars.