After reading the fun slice of story chapter on Free Comic Book Day, I was hooked. It focuses on an alternate dimension where Picard, Data, and the whole crew are evil bastards who have had their lives rejiggered so that they’re more pirates than shining beacon. It’s an excellent way to explore the characters while delivering new but familiar stories.
Writer: David Tipton, Scott Tipton
Artist: J.K. Woodward
Publisher: IDW Publishing
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Star Trek mini-series event of the year kicks off! Captain Jean-Luc Picard will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Empire’s newest warship, the ISS Enterprise, be it lies, deception…or murder. With enemies and allies around every corner, Picard’s quest to help the Enterprise and restore the Empire to glory will not be an easy one. Good thing he has a crew onboard who will also stop at nothing to ensure total victory – at any cost.
Why does this book matter?
The “Mirror Broken” storyline takes place in the Next Generation timeline which is possibly one of the coolest things to happen to Star Trek in a long time. That’s because this timeline never received the “Mirror Mirror” treatment the original series (and subsequent Deep Space Nine and Enterprise series) explored. For those of you who don’t know, the “Mirror Mirror” episode of Star Trek revealed an alternate timeline where Kirk was sleeveless (hubba hubba), Spock sported a goatee and the heroes we know and love are actually the villains! Finally, we get to see Data let his freak flag fly.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Great intro page.
This issue opens perfectly with an explanation or how we got here, which not only makes some sense, but also makes this alternate timeline believable. With the history of the Federation changed forever the crew from Next Generation are still together, but a whole lot has changed. From there, writers David and Scott Tipton expertly reveal who these characters are in an efficient way. Starting with Picard we get a general sense of his tactical personality. We soon gather he’s a lot tougher and short with his fellow shipmates and there’s definitely something going on between him and Deanna Troi. There’s definitely an interesting place to explore given her ability to read minds and–if given an evil proclivity–a character that could do some real harm.
The rest of the issue is jam packed with character work, plot developments, and action. Finishing this issue I was in a bit of shock in regards to how much the writers stuffed into this issue. That’s partly because the comic is efficient in delivering character wrinkles amongst plot progressing scenes. They also have plenty for these characters to do, which includes gathering new shipmates. At the start we only have a handful of familiar faces and I suspect weaving in classic characters will be a major part of this series running forward.
That’s exciting, partly because it’s so damn fun to see our favorite characters with an evil point of view. Data was already somewhat strange given his inability to fully understand humans, but give him some Borg tech and the permission to kill when necessary and he’s truly haunting. Picard, ever the do-gooder and believer in peace is now a muscle-flexing egomaniacal jerk who would crush your head if you got in his way. Given all this it’s a bit of a shock they never did do a “Mirror Mirror” episode, but thankfully we have one now.
The art by J.K. Woodward helps sell the realism with his beautiful pages. There’s a lot to marvel at here, from the rusted detail of Picard’s ship, to the photorealistic realism of all the characters. It’s obvious Woodward is working off photography for his work as some panels are shockingly realistic. The shine and ruffling of costumes helps add a level of realism too which further make this comic feel like a long lost episode.
Does the heiling bother anyone else?
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though there is much to love of Woodward’s art, there are certainly areas to improve on, which is a curse when it comes to painted, lifelike comics like this. Occasionally a character will look awkward in how they’re standing, as if Woodward didn’t have the perfect image to replicate for the angle of the character. There’s also the occasional background character who has a messed up face. The environments are generally really good, but a slight waviness to a pillar or step reminds the reader we’re looking at a hand-drawn panel. The art never was wonky enough to take me out of the book, but it’s a subtle nudge that it’s not real that reduces the believability.
Is It Good?
This is the definitive Star Trek story you need to add to your collection. It’s an excellent story, with incredible character work and lifelike drawings that make it feel like a lost episode you always wanted to see but couldn’t. Now you can, as IDW has brought us one of the most exciting Star Trek series in some time.