“Resistance is futile”, is a phrase that is instantly recognisable to any Trek fan. It also seems to be IDW’s marketing strategy when it comes to the plethora of Trek books that they produce. And that’s not even counting all the variant covers!
For the first time since The Search for Spock, the comic boom series has the opportunity to drive away from the confines of the Enterprise, as following events from the last Trek movie, Beyond, the crew of the Enterprise has been flung to differing shores; Spock and Uhura are on New Vulcan, Scotty is teaching as the Academy, Sulu is first officer of the USS Concord and Kirk has taken temporary captaincy of the Endeavour, with Bones along for the ride in sickbay. Each character has their reasons for the choses they have made, but it seems that whilst there are of course exemplary officers, it seems that they may not be greater than the their Enterprise collective. Story wise, the USS Concord is off exploring when it comes under attack. One distress call and an mis-understanding between Kirk and his new first officer later, we get the first clues of who is responsible.
Trek veteran Mike Johnson is plotting the course, charting the territory so to speak. I have to say that I have been critical of his work. But with the freedom of not having to follow the film lines, Johnson is allowed greater amount of freedom. As such, we get more character development across the board, with the impact of what Kirk doesn’t say rather than what he does, being more indicative of his state of mind. Kirk remains the focal point for Trek, though Johnson works hard to bring the crew into play to varying degrees. For example, Johnson’s Spock returning to New Vulcan is reminiscent of where we see Spock at the beginning of The Motion Picture. True to form, there is a new timeline wrinkle, but is shows that Johnson is adding elements of homage to his stories.
Tony Shasteen provides the art, which as we have come to expect, utilises a flair for character recognition. Shasteen has to ensure that we know who is who and he achieves this well. What is surprising for me, is how that level of detail is followed through to the new characters. Too often in tie-in books it seems that the artist only focusses on the main characters. Shasteen has definitely moved away from that mind-set, producing an extremely polished book. Panel structure works well, with talking panels overlaying backgrounds that interact with the story adding a sense of environment. The colors on show are pretty much as you would expect, especially if you are a fan of these books.
Reading this issue, I have come to the realisation that I may have been assimilated. I have enjoyed a number of the Trek books, especially when they have attempted something different; the Academy book for example. I still don’t see the point of the photo-story book, but there is always Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, as someone once said. Back to this book, I was very impressed that Johnson has brought character elements into play rather than action on top of action trap that the recent movie seemed to have fallen. As I am not a huge fan of the movies, I totally missed any pre-release press about this book so I was genuinely surprised at the end. All in, good job all round.
Writing – 4.5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars
(W) Mike Johnson (A) Tony Shasteen (CA) George Caltsoudas