Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Star Trek: Countdown Comic Review

Like other tie-ins to blockbuster movies, Dark Knight and the DVD Gotham Knight, the Matrix Reloaded and the Animatrix DVD, IDW Publishing's official prequel graphic novel is a tie-in to the hit film Star Trek. Here's the good news. It succeeds beyond expectation because unlike the shallow but entertaining Trek film, the novel is deep and well written.

In a story by Trek film writters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones tells the tale of Romulan Nero and his journey towards vengeance that will be depicted in the movie. The story starts out in the 24th Century with the Hobus star about to go supernova. This explosion would destroy Romulus. Spock an ambassador to Romulus proposes to the Romulan Senate that they release the material decalithium mined by Nero to Vulcan so Spock can create a black hole in the star to stop it. The Romulans are cautious and refuse. Nero and Spock decide to take the decalithium to Vulcan anyway. The Vulcans refuse to help due to fear of the Romulans. Hobus in the meantime goes supernova. It destroys Romulus and kills Nero's pregnant wife. This sets into motion Nero's vengeance and the events leading to the new Star Trek movie.

Now, don't assume that Countdown is a talky and boring story. If you want space battles, you get them. Once Nero's ship, the Narada gets armed with Borg technology from surviving Romulans, the story warps to its epic confrontation between Klingons, the Narada and a ship called the Enterprise. You also get reprises of beloved Star Trek Next Generation characters. They all play important parts as the Nero and Spock go back in time to the 23rd Century.

Star Trek:Countdown is an exciting graphic novel. The artwork is gorgeous. It is better than the its sequel, the film Star Trek. That's correct. The reasons are this. The novel is deeper and more intelligent than the film. It feels like science fiction. The dialogue is well written and we get a good look at Nero's motivation for vengeance. But more importantly, like the best Treks, there's a message. Ironically, it's delivered by the Romulans and the Vulcans. Fear can stop us from doing the right thing. The grade is "A."

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