Hidden Gems of Comics: Star Trek: Countdown
Speaking as a Star Trek fan, I loved this book. Speaking as someone who loves a good story, I loved this book.
Being in my late twenties, I wasn’t around for the start of the Star Trek phenomenon, but thankfully when The Next Generation started I was able to jump on to the band wagon and hang on for dear life. It was my first taste of Star Trek, and one that will always hold a special place in my heart. Sure, there was a time I held up Deep Space Nine as the pinnacle of the Trek franchise, but I never forgot my love of TNG.
It was the stories the series spun that got me the most. From Data, impersonating Sherlock Holmes, matching wits with a holographic Professor Moriarty to the omnipotent Q, stripped of his powers, trying to get his head around the concept of sleep, the series enthralled the barely decade old me, and continues to do so to this very day whenever I catch an old episode on the T.V. When the series moved to the big screen, I was delighted. Sure some of them were lackluster at best (I’m looking at you Insurrection), but the gang was back, I didn’t care. The one thing that I wasn’t happy with though, was Nemesis. Sure, it was a good film, plenty of action, Tom Hardy knocked it out of the park as Shinzon, but as a farewell to the crew of the Enterprise D it was like Insurrection, lackluster at best. Thankfully, almost eight years later, the comic Star Trek: Countdown came along.
Written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, based on a story by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and drawn by David Messina, it primarily serves as a prequel to rebooted Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrams. Set eight years after Nemesis, it recounts the events that led to Nero arriving in the past at the start of the film, but in much greater detail than was given in the movie. The captain of a mining ship, Nero witnesses a star in the Hobus system go supernova, threatening his home planet of Romulus. Teaming with Spock, now Federation ambassador to Romulus, he attempts to avert disaster, but to no avail. With his planet and family gone, he declares war on the entire Federation.
Speaking as a Star Trek fan, I loved this book. Speaking as someone who loves a good story, I loved this book. The character of Nero is fleshed out a lot more than the generic angry bad guy he is made out to be in the film. This is a man fueled by loss, of not only his planet and family but of the loss everything he believed in. He believed in his planet’s ruling council, who called the supernova a Vulcan trap. He believed in the Federation before they denied to help Romulus. Even the the fact he doesn’t look like a Romulan in the movie is explained (the tattoos are part of an ancient tradition to signify grief).
The return of The Next Generation crew is handled perfectly. The new status quo is totally in keeping with these characters. Who else could be Federation Ambassador to Vulcan but Picard? Geordi becoming a ship designer (he made the Jellyfish, older Spock’s ship in the movie) seemed completely logical. And I’ll admit to letting out a cheer when I saw the new captain of the Enterprise E.
I would have liked the series to longer than four issues, just so I could see more of what became of the crew I grew up with. But as a way of enriching the experience of the reboot, and of passing the torch to the young bucks of the new alternate reality, it is well worth picking up.