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Star Trek: Spock - Reflections Paperback – January 19, 2010
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Occasionally, the art reflects some odd choices. The exterior of the U.S.S. Collins, set during "The Original Series", looks more like a Motion Picture-era ship. Additionally, Deep Space Station E-5 looks like Starbase 1 from the 2009 film. Though nice to see Spock teaching the Romulans following the events of "The Next Generation" storyline, "Unification," it does not foreshadow the mission that "Star Trek: Countdown" featured and that set up the 2009 film.
With that in mind, the story feels much more poignant following Leonard Nimoy's death because it reads like an "in memoriam" for both the actor and his portrayal of a beloved character.
A little nitpicking: The only things that took me out of the story were some odd, anachronistic choices made by the artist, particularly regarding some of the vessels we see in the comic. In a scene set very early in TOS, Season 1, the Enterprise comes to the rescue of a fellow Starfleet ship. On the interior, the damaged vessel's bridge matches the Enterprise's TV series-era bridge, as one would expect. Yet, strangely, the exterior of the vessel is that of a Miranda/Soyuz-class (identical to the TMP-era USS Bozeman encountered by the Enterprise-D) complete with TMP-refit-era warp nacelles and styling. And to be clear, this is not written as a vessel blasted back in time. The vessel, its captain and crew is recognized by the TOS crew as a ship contemporary to the setting--which is at odds with what we are seeing in the drawings. Perhaps this is an error, but the same "error" is made within the pages of "Khan" -- another IDW publication set in the Reboot/Abramverse continuity which shows Khan and the Botany Bay being found in around 2258 by a Miranda-class starship (identical to TWOK's USS Reliant), operated by Section 31. Again, the Miranda-class vessel drawn in the comic features TMP-refit-era nacelles and styling and the story (set in the 2250's) takes place even prior to the TOS era (set in the 2260's). It's not that the Miranda or Soyuz class could not have existed during this era. A number of older publications (DC Comics and other sources) have previously suggested that the Miranda-class did indeed exist during this era, but with cylindrical, TOS-era warp nacelles and styling. Either IDW is making a blatant, anachronistic error or IDW is making an artistic choice to suggest that the Miranda and Soyuz-class vessels received the TMP-era refit treatment (or they were designed that way from the start) some fifteen or more years before the TOS Constitution-class got its overhaul for "The Motion Picture" onward. While that is theoretically possible, it seems like a strange artistic choice.
During the comic's (Spock Reflections) TNG-era, Prime Universe setting, we also get a glimpse of Spock arriving at an Earth spacedock identical to the massive spacedock complex we see orbiting Earth in the rebooted Star Trek (2009)--even though TNG showed us spacedocks following the design of the massive spacedock seen in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock." Again, it's not that the reboot design can't exist in the Prime Universe over a century later, but artistically, the design esthetic feels wrong for both the era and the universe in which it's set. The Bolian smuggler who sneaks the elder Spock back into Federation space also appears to be flying a Danube-class runabout (as seen in DS9). At least in this case (in a TNG-era setting), the vessel is era-appropriate. But how did a civilian criminal get his hands on a Starfleet vessel? Did he steal it or did the manufacturing company also produce a civilian model? I suppose a civilian model could have been manufactured for use outside the military (that does happen in real life). But, again, it's an odd artistic choice when the artist could have drawn a more civilian-appearing design. However, in all of these cases, it feels more like the artist wanted to take a shortcut by digitally tracing over screenshots of existing ship designs, regardless of what era or universe they properly belonged.
That said, in a sequence set during Spock's childhood (and shortly after the events of The Animated Series' iconic episode "Yesteryear"), we are treated to a brief sequel of that animated episode, beginning with a scene in Spock's boyhood home. While well drawn and believable, it would have been a nicer touch and homage if the artist drew it to more closely resemble the home as it appeared in The Animated Series.
Nonetheless, these are all artistic nitpicks. I enjoyed the book thoroughly (except for the headache it gave me due to the musty smelling mold). I'm saddened I had to throw it away, as it would have made a fine addition to my bookshelf. Typically, I purchase only brand new (or like-new) copies of books, because I like to keep every book I buy. I love books. My shelves are filled with decades of books (even my old college texts) and I try to preserve them all for the decades to come (which is why I didn't want to infect them with the mold on this book). Unfortunately, a new copy of this out-of-print book is currently only available for around fifty bucks on the low end. A great story--but it's not fifty bucks great! If I see a brand new copy of it for a more reasonable price, I might pick it up again...or I'll simply remember it fondly.
As far as I'm concerned, brothers Scott and David Tipton should be given the keys to the Star Trek kingdom and allowed to write whatever Star Trek they want. It was an excellent, excellent comic.
Now, the story itself. It's almost entirely flashbacks which for me made it a little slow-paced. I kept thinking, "all right, when's the real plot coming?" But, in retrospect, the flashbacks were enjoyable enough. There is some funny banter, and it's nice to learn some unaired details like how Spock learned about Kirk's real death.
Anyway, overall, I give this a thumbs up. If you like Star Trek and are interested in some of the details of Spock's adventures, buy it.
Live long and prosper!