Saturday, January 24, 2015

IDW's Star Trek Volume 9: Abramsverse, Q, and DS9?

(Originally posted at Netgalley in exchange for an advance electronic reading copy, though I have the comics in print and will be buying the print collection.)

If "Volume 9" turns off casual readers concerned about long ongoing stories, relax. IDW's ongoing Trek comic tends to do short arcs of a few issues, so any given collection like this will stand on its own fairly well. The key thing to know is that these comics build on the two JJ Abrams Star Trek movies.

All that said... this is a bit of a surprising diversion from most of the comics in the series, being a crossover story with elements from the Abrams movies, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The title and the cover give away the involvement of the powerful and enigmatic Q, who appeared a number of times in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. The Deep Space Nine crossover element comes as more of a surprise, not least because it's set decades later in continuity. Blame Q. Without providing too many spoilers, I'll just say that he's decided to present James Kirk with a real no-win scenario in a possible future. The DS9 characters aren't quite the same people we know from TV, living in a very different timeline, but the comic presents believable versions of them.

The art is strong here, with both character likenesses, settings, ships, etc, recognizable and cleanly depicted, with a distinctive use of colouring to enhance the imagery. The writing also works well, with obligatory cliffhangers or revelations every so many pages marking the points where individual issues ended.

This series hasn't always thrilled or impressed me. I'm not a great fan of the Abrams version of Star Trek, nor do I care for the way the comics revisit original series episodes in ways that are supposed to demonstrate the differences between the two continuities but often simply seem arbitrary and poorly thought through. That's not the case here. Bringing in DS9, even as alternate universe versions, gives this story a freshness I appreciated. Probably my favourite run of issues of this comic so far.


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