Star Trek The City on the Edge of Forever Madefire Review

Written by Harlan Ellison (original teleplay)

Scott Tipton and David Tipton

Art by J. K. Woodward

Cover by Juan Ortiz

Publisher: IDW Publishing


Star Trek city on the Edge of forever continues with the comic book adaptation of the original

teleplay of the episode from the series.

This issue sees Spock and Kirk stranded in time with the enterprise no longer in existence and

deepening mystery afoot they do the only reasonable thing to friends trapped in time would do.

They send Spock, in the guise of a mute to go get a job. There is good juxtaposition for this story and

it is all very standard Star Trek fare and plays out like middle act of the story as you would expect an

adaptation of a script would feel, this sadly will work better as a graphic novel when you can read

the story in one whole sitting. This is not a criticism of the story itself but more the fact that it is an

adaptation of a 40 minute TV show in the comic book format.

The art however, is utterly gorgeous the water color style looks amazing. The characters are perfect

representations of their real life counter parts from the show. Due to the style also it feels like you

are watching an episode of the show, every panel is highly detailed and any fan of the digitally

painted style will feel right at home here.

The comic itself gets a 3/5, fans of Star Trek and classic sci fi will feel right at home. The story is

building to an interesting conclusion and the fantastic art make it a beautiful comic.

The main thing that I wanted to discuss in this review is not the comic itself but the format it is

presented in, Madefire. To describe it, it is essentially a halfway between the panel by panel format

used in comixology with some motion and sound effects.

The sound effects were a big shock as I was quite happily reading away when the sound a tricorder

burst through my computer, it was quick shocking to a new user of the format but made a pleasant

surprise as these sound effects were not used for every panel and really only once or twice when

necessary for the story that this book is trying to tell.

The motion itself is limited to a few panels; this is a drawback of the format as it does mean the

artist has to draw the same panel multiple times. However when it is used, such as in a conversation

when Kirk is turning around to face a character behind him or Spock is walking down the street it

looks marvelous, I really enjoyed that sense of motion that in a normal print comic a lot of artists

strive for in their panels. It makes you feel more engrossed in the story and the world that this comic

is trying to tell. I can already see the attraction in this format in say, a Spider-Man comic when he is

web swinging through the New York skyline.

One of the main enhancements I found great was in the dialogue, as you are reading in this format

each speech bubble comes up as you are meant to read it. Some times with a poor layout with a

comic you can misinterpret the order in which a conversation is meant to take place. This format

removes that ambiguity and as the speech can appear at your own speed you can easily halt the flow

of a conversation in the book to reflect on a revelation or to ponder over a question posed.

Madefire is a great evolution of digital comics; it will work best on a tablet sized screen which is

where I think this format will be targeted at. Viewing on a PC screen does sadly not do the format

justice but, I urge anyone to reads comics digitally to give it a try.


The format gets a 5/5 for me as it’s utterly fantastic and engrossing.

By Mat Deery

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