Review: Star Trek Countdown To Darkness #1

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The countdown to the motion picture event of 2013 begins here, in this blockbuster 4-issue prequel mini-series that sets the stage for the upcoming STAR TREK film! Like the best-selling STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN in 2009, this all-new series leads directly into the next movie, with a story by STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson (STAR TREK ongoing series), and drawn by the original STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN artist, David Messina! STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS is the can’t-miss lead-in to the new adventures of the Enterprise crew!

IDW’s official prequel to the JJ Abrams Star Trek sequel kicks off this month. Star Trek Countdown to Darkness is a four issue miniseries that bridges the gap between the first film and Star Trek Into Darkness. The story is from Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson with Johnson scripting the book. David Messina, who worked on the first Star Trek Countdown, provides art. Marina Castelvetro provides ink assist with Chris Mowry covering letters. Claudia Scarletgothica handles colors. So does Countdown to Darkness boldly go, or should it just boldly go away?

star trek countdown to darkness coverThe story is set an undisclosed number of months since the first film where the Enterprise crew formed and defeated the Romulan terrorist Nero. The crew has since been wandering the galaxy exploring strange new worlds and civilizations. Our story opens with Spock having a nightmare concerning his family, the Vulcans, and the fate of his planet. Things aren’t going too well in Captain Kirk’s quarters either. James T. Kirk is going stir-crazy with no one to really talk to except the computer keeping the Captain’s log. The two men find themselves on the deck of the Enterprise even though their shifts don’t start for a while. The crew is assigned to scan and monitor the planet Phadeus. The Class-M planet isn’t ready for first contact, so the crew are to take their readings and do all the regular checkups. When things seem a little more advanced than they should be, Kirk and company decide to fly over and see what’s what. Being a first issue, you can guess things don’t go well.

The story is well written. You can tell that Johnson has taken Orci’s script and adapted it well into the comic book medium. It feels like the Abrams’ Trek, but it also seems very much like a classic TV story. We have a lot of twists and turns throughout the issue, so it will be interesting to see what Johnson brings to the Abrams’ universe. The art is handled well overall. Being a prequel to the movie, you’d expect pretty realistic likenesses of the cast. Messina does an apt job with his interpretive rather than photo realistic art, but there are times when it seems the Kirk and Spock likenesses aren’t quite close enough to Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Other than the few odd face distortions, the art is good. Messina even throws in the director’s infamous lens flares.

Bottom Line: Star Trek Countdown to Darkness starts out strong. The story gets rolling after a few introductory pages and seems to set us off on an exciting mystery. The art is handled well, but at times the interpretations aren’t close enough to their real-life counterparts.  This is one for Trek fans new and old 3.5/5.

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