Sunday, November 11, 2007

Down Under Trekkers

Eric BanaChris Hemsworth

Aussie actors Eric Bana (left) and Chris Hemsworth (right) have scored roles in JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" feature film, which commenced filming last week in Hollywood. Eric's casting was announced last month, and will be playing a villain called Nero. Rumoured to be a Romulan? (Maybe it's just as well he gave up the chance to reprise "The Hulk" in the sequel to the Marvel comic spin-off?)

Chris Hemsworth was announced as a cast member of "Star Trek" only yesterday. He's an unknown in the USA, so far, but is highly recognisable in Australia (and the UK) for his long-running role in "Home and Away". While initial rumours claimed he was the new Sarek, father of Spock (ie. opposite Winona Ryder's Amanda), he's actually cast as George Samuel Kirk Sr, the father of future captain, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).

Onya guys!

IDW Publishing's first two "Spotlight on..." alien one-shot comics are out: a Gorn issue, set during a Terrell & Chekov Reliant landing party, and a Vulcan issue, set during Pike, Spock, Tyler and Number One's time on the Enterprise. I've read both comics and really enjoyed them. They did seem very short stories, though, especially when followed by numerous glossy pages of advertising and hype for upcoming non-ST IDW comics. ;)

While the Gorn were drawn as a nice mix of TOS- and "Enterprise"- style sentient lizard-men, the second issue featured pre-"The Cage" crew reactions to serving with Spock. It showed that early 23rd century crews did have trouble working together. We saw that several times in ENT, and in "Balance of Terror" (TOS). This IDW issue shows how one crew came to accept a Vulcan in their midst.

I thought ENT did xenophobia well. There is often no "actual reason" behind prejudices, once an individual is put on the spot. Thus Phlox was accepted quite readily by the crew, but T'Pol less so, at first. The comments about human scent didn't help her. Then we had Trip getting along extremely well with a Xyrillian ("Unexpected"), but everyone finding the Andorians difficult to understand ("The Andorian Incident").

As for subplots in the IDW mini-series so far, "TNG: The Space Between" and "Klingons: Blood Will Tell" have both been mini-series where the individual issues still tell complete stories, yet they make a more complete story when read consecutively. "TOS: Year Four" has followed a similar format. And hey, you can't get more subtle than "The Space Between" and a certain admiral's "special delivery" canap├ęs! (When a Trek trivia hound like me has to research on Memory Alpha just to understand the ending of a mini-series, that's subtle!)

IDW's marketing research has obviously told them that casual Star Trek readers will only pick up a recent ST comic if they can be assured of getting a complete story within its covers. I also like that the trade omnibus collections are scheduled to arrive just after the single issues complete their run, which must help some fans cope with the spottier release of smaller-press comics, such as IDW, than when ST was licensed out to Marvel, DC, Malibu, Marvel/Paramount or WildStorm.

Next month comes the Andorian issue! Yay!

Sunday's magic number: 92.5 - slightly up on last week, sigh. But there was yesterday's wine tasting, of course. That did some damage...

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