Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best Comics of 2011 No. 9: Star Trek

As promised, back to back posts to catch up!
Either you like Star Trek or you don't. I do. If you don't, lose the snarky attitude and let me have my fun.
The comics have been uneven over the years. The early Gold Key books were exciting, but had little to do with the series. The DC run with Friedman and Gordon Purcell was quite well handled, as was the Malibu run of Deep Space 9.
The current run takes over from the most recent film, which was an interesting way to reboot the whole ST universe and maintain respect for its roots.
For those not familiar, time travel was used as a device to alter the history of Starfleet and the Federation, and to skew the dynamics of the characters, changing their relationship to one another.
I've seen the most recent Star Trek film three times, and liked it every time. It's engaging science fiction that holds onto the heart of its characters.
And despite the futuristic trappings, which are great fun, the characters are what it's all about.
Well, now they're the characters we know and love, but they're not. They respond to one another differently, and the events are-
but I'm jumping the phaser a bit.
What the current IDW comic is doing is beyond pretty cool. It's retelling the classic episodes of the original series, in the timeline of the aforementioned last film.
I'm very eager to see what happens if they make it to the Mirror, Mirror episode. Parallel universes in alternate timelines: that's the stuff of geekdom joy!
So far, they're taking two issues to adapt each episode. Good, good. Enough space to tell the story well, but not so much as to belabor it.
The art in these is sparse and clean, with solid pacing and characterizations that are on point.
This spread, from the classic Gary Mitchell episode, hits all the right notes: glory shots of the ship, key shots of major characters, relationship building side elements (reinforcing the Uhura/Spock love interest from the film) and some exciting special effects.
The fact that these are different versions of familiar characters is made clear in the resolution of the crisis, handled very differently here.
Rather than the original Kirk move of moralizing speeches followed by a deus ex machina of a convenient rock slide, Kirk recognizes the crisis and destroys the threat, then grieves his lost friend.
Tomorrow: Noir with a very different bullet.

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