- Series: Star Trek
- Paperback: 104 pages
- Publisher: IDW Publishing; Reprint edition (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781613776230
- ISBN-13: 978-1613776230
- ASIN: 1613776233
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness Paperback – April 23, 2013
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About the Author
A highly imaginative and engaging writer who’s written stories for some of the biggest characters in comic book history, including Batman and Superman, Mike Johnson also has the distinction of having scripted more Star Trek comic book stories than any writer ever. Seriously.
Johnson’s first work with IDW was in 2009, when he wrote the miniseries Star Trek: Countdown, a well-received prequel to the 2009 J.J. Abrams film. Following Countdown, Johnson would go on to write many more Star Trek stories, including (but not limited to) Star Trek: Khan, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Star Trek: Nero, the crossover Star Trek/Green Lantern, and both of IDW’s ongoing Star Trek series, the most recent being Boldly Go with artist Tony Shasteen.
An almost life-long Trek fan who was watching the original series in reruns as a child and Star Trek: The Next Generation from day one, his favorite characters are Data and Spock.
Top customer reviews
Well, okay, here's where I'm going to give the writers of this comic some benefit of the doubt. I suspect that that this comic was originally *intended* to be a prequel to the movie, given that it involves first contact with a primitive alien race, which ends up going south with the Prime Directive coming into play. After all, we saw such a scenario taking place in the opening moments of the movie. I suspect that--maybe--the primitive aliens in the comic where originally intended be the same primitive aliens we see at the beginning of the movie. But, alas, clearly they are not. (I guess we'll call this a spoiler alert...) The aliens in the comic are insectoid; the aliens in the movie are humanoid. The aliens in the comic are roughly iron age; the aliens in the movie are much more primitive. I strongly suspect that while developing the storyline for the comic, the storyline for the opening scene of the movie ended up going another direction--and by the time all was said and done for the comic, it was simply too late to change gears. So, they simply turned it into a stand-alone story with no connection to the movie (except for a couple of Easter eggs thrown in at the last minute--because, well, the title). And I will give the comic writers credit for at least keeping the Enterprise in orbit rather than parking it in the freakin' ocean!
The only real nugget of note (we'll call this another spoiler alert) is the comic's inclusion of Captain Robert April and his having commanded another Starship Enterprise prior to the construction of the inexplicably gigantic JJ-prise more than a decade after the original TOS Enterprise would have already been built. It is generally accepted that the TOS Enterprise was launched circa 2245 under the command of Robert April (which is supported by an episode of The Animated Series) and later (according to onscreen live-action canon) commanded by Captain Christopher Pike no less than thirteen years (the onscreen stated setting of "The Cage") prior to TOS's first season. Instead, the JJ-prise is launched in 2258 under Captain Pike for literally like an hour before he turns it over to a *cadet* named Kirk no less than seven years before Kirk should have taken command at a more appropriate age and status. Regardless, the JJ-prise is obviously a completely different vessel from the Enterprise of the original TV series (sort of like certain characters like Chekov, given his new date of birth, is a completely genetically different person with coincidentally the same name)--and there is no suggestion in the Abramsverse films that the TOS Constitution-class Enterprise as we know it ever existed in this altered timeline. Or did it? As it turns out, there actually is a deleted scene from STID in which an actual TOS Constitution class starship is seen on display in Admiral Marcus's office--suggesting that the older TOS-style Constitution design does indeed exist in this new timeline--and kudos to the comic writers who seem to pick up on this. In the comic, (SPOILER ALERT) Robert April states that he commanded a previous Enterprise and nu-Kirk specifically confirms that the JJ-prise is a brand new vessel replacing the previous Enterprise (which we can conjecture is intended to be the TOS Enterprise we all know)--albeit the timeline for this *still* being more than a bit wonky. Unfortunately, assuming this was the intention of the writers to reinsert the original TOS Enterprise into the new timeline, it seems the comic artists didn't get the memo. The "previous" Enterprise commanded by April is drawn to externally look basically the same as the JJ-prise (although the artist's rendering of the JJ-prise doesn't even look like the JJ-prise). Internally, the artist's rendering of the "previous" Enterprise bridge only vaguely looks like a TOS bridge.
So, whatever the initial intension of the writers, it doesn't quite work. I will, however, say that their depiction of Kirk is *somewhat* closer in tone to his more mature TOS counterpart, compared to the adolescent brat we get in the films. That said, their depiction of April bares no resemblance to the elderly man we met in TAS--but the April in the Abramsverse comic is unquestionably more interesting. Three stars out of five--and that's being generous only because I *think* I understand what the writers were originally trying to do.
First of all, the art is pretty good. I have been semi disappointed in the art and coloring in some of the previous "Star Trek: Ongoing" graphic novels, especially the inconsistency from one story to the next even when done by the same artist, and characters having the wrong eye color. But the art in this is good: individual characters are recognizable, page layouts are dynamic and interesting.
However, I did not like the story much at all.
First of all, I should mention that I purchased and read this after seeing the film. There are a couple of parts that tie in - Mudd's presence in the comic and the use of Mudd's ship in the film, Spock's promise in the comic and Uhura's completely justified anger in the film, the Prime Directive being bandied about/played with in the comic and at the beginning of the film. But a lot of it felt like the writers of the comic read the script for the film and tried to see how many things they could directly lift from the plot of the movie and stick into the plot of the comic, which makes it seem less like a tie-in or prequel and more like a cheap knockoff. I also feel like Spock's impulsiveness was tremendously out of character, even considering his ongoing emotional distress.
I feel like the IDW "Ongoing" series has thus far done a really tremendous job of rehashing stories from the original Star Trek episodes, and have thus far liked the original stories they have done in comics as well, such as the reboot of the Tribble episode. However, I think this particular storyline falls far short of the creativity that has been shown in this series previously.
If you are collecting all the graphic novels in the series, I wouldn't skip this one, but if you're looking for one to read on its own, I'd try borrowing this one from a friend instead of buying it yourself.