Ah, the Mirror Mirror universe. Once, one of the very finest of classic Trek episodes. Now, a much over used technique to show those that are most familiar to us, can indeed have a totally different destiny. Yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same, at least in some cases.
Things are looking bad for the Empire. Having bought temporary respite from Spock, the universal law of survival of the strongest has meant that the Cardassians and the Klingons have become the dominant forces in the quadrant. Still there is hope, in the form of Captain Picard of the I.S.S Stargazer and a more than persistent rumour of the production of a new Galaxy class warship. With the help of some familiar faces including, Data, LaForge, Barclay and Troi, Picard sets off to capture the one weapon that has any hope of helping to restore balance to a refracted and reflected universe, the warship Enterprise!
David and Scott Tipton have had some great successes with their Trek work. It’s to their credit that IDW has chosen them for the first ST:TNG comic to feature the fan favourite Dark Mirror universe. The Tipton’s knowledge of Trek is laudable as there are any number of nods to those that have boldly gone before, whilst also peppering the story with any number of insinuations. Troi as an Inquisitor? Data who seems to have been assimilating Borg tech? Despite all that some things remain constant; Picard is as pragmatic as ever; Data is still looking to understand humanity. Through this first issue, the Tipton’s are out to battle the eternal debate of “nature vs nuture”. The crew of the Stargazer are not “evil twin Skippy’s”. There are in fact the same characters we have known for the last 30 years. Whilst the Tipton’s use this first issue to show us examples of this different civilisation, the fact is that the dialogue works effectively, further promoting the idea that environment shapes people and their decisions.
The art and colors are by J.K. Woodward and you will either love it or loathe it. First, the positives; the colors are fantastic. The painted effect works well, creating the ambience of a universe of little light. The colors are oppressive reminding me of submarine movies where there is a need to “run silent, run deep”, to avoid entanglements. Another positive would be the photo realisms of the characters. Too many times I pick up a licensed book and have had to squint, tilt my head just so in an effort to make out who is supposed tobe who. Here, its more than obvious with only the Ensign Red Shirts getting any level of disservice. But who cares about them anyway, right? I am sure a landing party or two will trim their numbers. The thing about the art that drives me to distraction is the jock version of the characters. It looks like Picard and crew have been hitting the venom pretty hard. Also, despite the great faces, some of the poses of the characters, as they interact with each other, show that the photo references may have been taken from different sources which can lead to an element disconnection at times.
It’s always fun checking out how your favourite characters may have changed outside of the their natural world. In some ways, this book reminds me of the episode Yesterday’s Enterprise inasmuch that to the characters in this book, this is their natural world. Despite my misgivings of this particular deus ex machina getting another run out, I am quietly impressed by the quality of this book.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 3.5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
W) Scott Tipton, David Tipton (A) J. K. Woodward (CA) George Caltsoudas