I’m only a casual Trekker. I stumbled into Star Trek fandom after discovering the Enterprise series starring Dr. Sam Beckett on television one night – that’s still my favorite Trek series. Now, about a decade later, I’ll occasionally catch a random Next Generation episode on Netflix, but that’s where my interest begins and ends. Although I’ve made a few noble attempts, I just can’t sit through a full Original Series episode. This probably makes me an outcast in Trekker circles. To my surprise, I really dug the 2009 theatrical reboot of Star Trek and learned to love Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and all the rest through that movie. So, I was pumped when IDW announced a comic book follow-up that would bridge the movie to its upcoming sequel.
The first four issues of Star Trek were something of a disappointment. The stories were self-contained, trite, and inconsequential to any Star Trek canon. Thankfully, this trend does not continue in Star Trek: Volume 2, which collects issues #5-#8.
This volume contains two separate storylines. The first story is a retelling of the “Operation Annihilate!” episode. The Enterprise crew discovers that mass insanity is inflicting a series of colonies that stretch to the planet Denevan. There they find a sentient parasite that turns its victims into mindless drones. Captain Kirk makes an astronomically improbable discovery on this planet as well that takes him back to his roots. Spock finds himself infected by the parasite. What effect will it have on the ridiculously strong Vulcan mind?
The second storyline, “Vulcan Vengeance,” picks up where the Star Trek movie left off. The Enterprise discovers Vulcan warp signatures near the remains of their destroyed homeworld — no Vulcan ship is authorized to stray from the remaining fleets. The crew discovers that surviving Romulans from Nero’s ship have hijacked a Vulcan scout ship and have stolen the last remaining sample of Red Matter in the universe. With the nearest subspace relay destroyed, Captain Kirk’s only choice is to follow the Romulans into their territory to try to retrieve the Red Matter before it falls into the hands of the empire.
While the first story is entertaining and probably a nice throwback for nostalgic old-schoolers, the second storyline is simply amazing. Writer Mike Johnson hits his stride in “Vulcan Vengeance,” delivering multiple twists and turns that make for an exciting ride. Johnson captures the essence of what made the movie so much fun. The characters act and talk almost exactly like their movie counterparts. My only complaint is that the stories are almost entirely centered around Kirk and Spock. Granted, the movie is much the same. But, especially as a new fan of the original Star Trek characters, I want to see the secondary characters get a little more spotlight. The comic series is the perfect spot to delve more into their stories.
The artwork varies dramatically between the two storylines. Joe Corroney‘s artwork in “Operation Annihilate!” is a throwback to comics from an older era. The flat, muted color palette pays homage to the look and feel of the original television series. It’s a nice effect. Joe Phillips’ art and John Rauch‘s colors in “Vulcan Vengeance” move the series back to its original look. The visuals bear good resemblance to most of the crew. The red shirts are suitably generic.
After a rocky start, the Star Trek comic is building into an awesome series that is going well above what is expected. In fact, the second storyline in this series could easily have served as the basis for Star Trek 2. With a few more explosions thrown in, that storyline would have done extremely well in the theaters. Whether you’re an old school Trekker or someone who just dug the movie, if you’re into comics, then throw down for this book. It’s the perfect spot to jump onboard the comic series.