June 3, 2009

WAITING FOR THE TRADE: Star Trek Countdown

"Waiting for the Trade" is a term that was coined to describe people who, instead of buying monthly comics, waited for them to be put into collections. On my Myth Understanding blog, I have used the term to be the umbrella for my comic book reviews. My reviews aren't ALL about bound collections of comics -- some will be about comics I wish were collected, and some will be about comics I may not have waited for. For the most part, my reviews will be positive: the point here is to point people to works I enjoy, not point out things I disliked (unless I change my mind).

My first review:


Writers: Mike Johnson, Tim Jones (script); Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (story)
Artist: David Messina
Publisher: IDW

This comic book series basically bridges the gap between the FAR future world of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager and the NEAR (or nearer, anyway) future world of Star Trek, the new movie.

Spoilers abound in the following review . . . so if you haven’t seen the movie, you may want to skip reading this review. Maybe. So here’s the END of my review: I recommend this book if you are a fan of Trek or liked the movie and want to know more. Fans of Trek should read this before seeing the movie. People who aren’t fans should watch the movie first, and if they want more Star Trek this would be the first place to start.

Let the spoilers (for the movie, not the comic so much) begin.

First of all, the story of this comic was told in Spock’s mindmeld with Kirk on the ice planet. This comic fleshes that part out, though.

I knew the comic was coming out, but my local comic shop sold out of the first issue before I could get a copy because I didn’t know WHEN it was coming out. So I patiently decided to wait for the trade. A four issue mini-series, it tells the backstory of Nero, the villain from the film, and really gives more weight to his anger against Spock. Also, the scientific plot hole from the film is explained with some classic Trek-ish technobabble.

The story takes place after all the Next Generation movies have occurred. We get to see where some favorite Next Generation characters have ended up, and the whole story really serves two purposes: set up Spock and Nero’s backstory, while giving the Next Generation era a proper send off. Fans who believe the Star Trek timeline has been changed to much so that all the original stories never happened, you can be reassured when you see that last page.

The storyline is great, the art is cartoony while retaining enough detail to make the characters recognizable, and not just as caricatures. There were moments in the script that felt just a bit too . . . cute? A clever line, slightly out of place, inserted just for the sake of being clever -- that sort of thing.

But overall, as a Star Trek fan I found this to be a fun comic.

It was also interesting, because it gave insight into the backstory material that the writers of the movie intended for their characters. I like seeing the artistic intentions of creators, and reading this comic book you can see that Orci and Kurtzman, when wrtiting the script for Star Trek, truly did not want to invalidate what people loved about Star Trek. Instead, they embraced it -- all the legacy, all the history, all of what had gone before.

Check it out at your local comic shop (they should be able to order for you, and if you're not sure where your closest comic shop is, you can find out here: The Comic Shop Locator), OR you can buy Star Trek Countdown here!

Visit the Waiting for the Trade bookstore here!

~ Ben

COMING UP: More time travel, superheroes, and teeny, tiny barbarians.

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