REVIEW: Star Trek #50

(W) Mike Johnson (A/CA) Tony Shasteen

Ask any non Trek fan to name a few episodes of Classic Trek, you will probably get a list that covers the one where they go back to meet Joan Collins, the one with the flying amoeba that’s poisons Spock, the lizard fighting one and the one where there are thigh high boots and Spock with a beard.  In order to celebrate the 50th issue of IDW’s ongoing mission of Star Trek, we are visiting one of the aforementioned favourites, new timeline style.

The issue pretty much starts as a good old stuck in an ion cloud type of affair.  Once out of the cloud, things start to get a little weird.  Why is the ship so far off course? Why is there life on the nearby planet?  Why do the inhabitants of said planet fear the Enterprise?  There are enough clues to indicate what has happened, from the cover, to some of the dialogue used.  It’s pretty obvious that we are in Mirror Mirror territory.  But, with this being the voyages of the new timeline crew, not everything is as you would remember it; no thigh highs yet, but there is a surprising guest star to help aid in the confusion.

Mike Johnson has been with this book for a while and it shows in the comfortable writing with each character sounding like their onscreen counterparts.  This is both a gift and a curse for Johnson.  I am old school, preferring Shatner and Nimoy to the new movies.  However intellectually, I can see that Pine and Quinto add something to their roles respectively.  As such, I can say that while I am not a big fan of the new timeline, I can still recognize the quality of the writing. This feeling of goodwill is almost blown out of the water with the inclusion of the guest star, which to me seems like Johnson is trying to hard to tie into the movies.  But I am curious as to how things play out, which in fairness, is a role that the first part of a multi part story must successfully complete; keep the reader interested.

Tie-in books can suffer in the art department with the artist kind of walking the line of using photo type of reference panels or going for something new and making the characters unrecognizable. Tony Shasteen does well walking that line. You can see who everyone is and if there was any other comments to make to it would be that Shasteen seems to take the easy way out with a lack of facial expressions for the most part and characters talking through closed mouths.

This isn’t the first time the Mirror Mirror universe has been mined for story material, since its first episode.  The Next Generation crew have visited it in novel form, Deep Space 9 visited more than once and there has been an anthology novel covering every type of Trek’s version of it.  There was even an Enterprise two parter.  It may seem that this new time line is boldly going where everyone has gone before, but at least its looking good whilst it does so.

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