Sunday, January 29, 2012

Star Trek: Countdown

I didn't know that this four-part comic existed prior to the movie coming out back in 2009 (Feel free to take away a few of my geek cred points). I just learned of its existence last Thursday, and of course picked it up immediately.

OMG, it was amazing.

The absolute best thing to come out of the Star Trek Universe in several years. The story in this series not only sets up and explains what was going on in the 'verse straight before the re-boot movie came out, but it tells us what has been going on in the lives of our favorite Next Generation characters as well.

Captain Picard has since become an ambassador, Spock is still on Romulus, Data has not only been rebuilt (sort of) but is now captain of the USS Enterprise. Geordi LaForge is shown to be the one that built the ship that Spock pilots into the past when he is taken in by the artificial black hole he created with the red matter. Worf is here as well, the only major command character missing at least a cameo in this series. Sure I would have liked to see what he is up to, but at the same time I'm glad that he wasn't included as it may have seemed like they were just trying to get TNG characters in the book to capitalize on their popularity--it didn't seem that way the way it was written and for that I am glad he was omitted.

I really liked the re-boot of the franchise, it worked so well and the new actors fit the roles well enough that within the plot they were very believable to be the younger versions of the iconic characters. Now knowing that this story exists though, I can't believe that this wasn't the first movie of the series (maybe they just couldn't get all of the old actors back for one more run). The story involved here is far superior to the film.

Nero is more flushed out as a character, the crisis on Romulan is explained in much greater detail, and we see how Nero's ship, the Narada, went from a simple mining ship to the high powered warship that it was in the film.

We also get to see that while some things have changed between Vulcans and Romulans over the decades that Spock spent working toward peace, that at heart they still don't trust each other, despite their physiological similarities.

The better characterization of Nero is the most important part of this story though, we meet him before his grief has taken over his life and turned him into a madman. The reader sees him as a provider, a husband and most importantly a good person. It allows the reader to feel empathy for him when he returns just in time to see his planet engulfed in the exploding star, taking with it everyone and everything he has ever known.

Had movie audiences had these feelings for Nero, they wouldn't have hated him, but would maybe have seen his actions in a different light. Realizing that yes he is the "villain" in the movie, but he's not an evil man, just a man that was pushed so far that he snapped and didn't know anything other than to seek out vengeance on those that he thought had slighted him. This should have been the first movie in the series, it's unfortunate that film audiences will never see this acted out.

In today's world though, maybe it will someday become a motion comic or even an animated film. A fanboy can hope.

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