Friday, September 14, 2007

Latest IDW and TokyoPop Star Trek comics - in review

A big fortnight in the current realm of Trek comics!

The first IDW Publishing graphic novel-style reprint omnibus, for "The Next Generation: The Space Between", is out - rereading it will be very interesting, to see if the arc is more cohesive in one big lump. It was wonderful that all the rare cover art was included in the volume. It seems that if you collected the photo covers for the individual issues, then buying the collection will complete your collection in one big swoop.

I also picked up the final issue of "Blood Will Tell", the TOS Klingon arc, and the second issue of the "Star Trek: Year Four" TOS series. "Blood Will Tell" #5 was very enjoyable, with a twist that now seems so obvious, but it caught me by surprise, and gave the whole setup a great pay-off. Each of the previous four issues had featured flashbacks to well-known TOS Klingon stories (with Kor, Koloth, Krell, and Kang & Mara), but told from the Klingon POV. Now, the Klingons of the ST VI movie time period have to make their votes as to whether they will agree with Chancellor's Gorkon's quest for peace with the United Federation of Planets. The art of storyline has been consistently fresh in these comics and IDW should be very proud of them.

Andorian prisoner
Tokypop's second manga collection is out!

Flipping through the first few manga stories in TokyoPop's "Kakan ni Shinkou", I was amused to notice a manga Andorian in the alien prison featured in the second of five stories in the collection: "The Trial" by Mike Wellman (and art by Nam Kim). He was near a TOS Gorn and various other aliens, but sitting opposite a Breen, a member of the mysterious race sometimes mentioned in "The Next Generation", and finally featured in several episodes of "Deep Space Nine". The appearance (above) would mark the Breen's TOS debut, I would think.

That story was a little infuriating, in that it tried very hard to be a typical TOS moral dilemma but, in fact, by having the alien Kos race put Kirk on trial for the crime of being human, it really wasn't all that different to Q's complaint about humans in "Encounter at Farpoint" (TNG).

More enjoyable was the collection's opening story, "Cura Te Ipsum" by Wil Wheaton (the former Wesley Crusher himself), which managed to bring together drama and destruction on the Enterprise and a new planet, a life threatening accident involving Spock, a budding romance with an alien healer for Kirk, and a reckless manga-haired, trigger-happy lieutenant who manages to complicate everything.

I still have three stories in "Kakan ni Shinkou" to go, but so far it seems on a par with the previous Star Trek manga collection, "Shinsei Shinsei" (Tokyopop, 2006). I'm really looking forward to the Diane Duane story, and hoping she has some references back to her days with Pocket novels and the DC comics.

However, I'm finding the small b/w panels and fine lines of the captions harder to read when I'm tired, or when my eyes start watering from the head cold I'm suffering, and I do find myself missing the colour of the regular Star Trek comics. More later!

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