Schwin the Andorian cook - to a group of Federation archaeologists - turned up in my email box this week, courtesy of a heads-up from Mark Martinez and the generosity of IDW Publishing's Star Trek comics editor, Dan Taylor. Thanks guys!
Previously I had blogged a brief review on issue #1 of "The Next Generation: The Space Between", and it was a tricky review to write because I'd already sent a general response off to the lettercol of IDW's mini-series, so what more could I say? - but then there seemed to be a lot of fan negativity to the artwork of that issue. I certainly hadn't had a bad reaction to it, myself, but suddenly I was reading online comments from people complaining that it would be their "last issue" unless the art "improved".
Their reactions still seem like overreactions to me. And since when is artwork the only reason to buy a comic? Of course, appreciation of comic art is so subjective and, as I said last time, expectations for TV tie-in comics - and the readership of TV tie-ins - are not necessarily the same as comics in general.
As someone who thought the art of issue #1 was fresh, clean and vibrant, I'm not sure "improvement" is the correct term, but I was thrilled to skim through the visuals of issue #2 this morning! I want to spend more time with the story right now, but I'll be late for work!
There seems to be two main differences with the art: firstly, the inked outlines are thinner, which takes away the previous "cartoony" complaints, I guess; secondly, the backgrounds are truly sumptuous! When Picard's archaeology team is outdoors in the rain, the backgrounds blur out slightly, and when they reach shelter the backgrounds sharpen again. Beautiful. Captain Picard gets a rare, coveted opportunity to play archaeologist (or alternatively, archeologist, as my "Macquarie Dictionary" allows), you see. This is a Season Five Picard, in a story set just after the "Unification" Spock-on-Romulus two-parter.
Meanwhile, Beverly Crusher, who was off-frame throughout all of issue #1 (a Season One story), gets to cut a rug on the holodeck, so the backgrounds on the Enterprise-D are richer and more detailed. The holodeck is appropriately moody in night club mode. Her scenes work very effectively as a "B plot" to Picard's story, in the best TNG tradition.
Dan Taylor suggested in a recent interview that each issue of "The Space Between" is fully self-contained, and indeed they are, but he intimated that we may eventually realise that there is an overarching link as well. I'm intrigued!
I hope Star Trek fans continue to support IDW Publishing's Star Trek efforts.
Captain's Log: Supplemental. I finally had the chance to read the story, and I found it very enjoyable, and I didn't anticipate all of the plot twists. The writer uses an economy of words in numerous places, and the main story really hums along. This issue could easily have been an episode of TNG. The characters ring true, and I'm looking forward to see what else this mini-series will cover. Thanks again, Dan!