It’s too bad Fajar is still on the art for this series. Johnson’s writing–and his post-Star Trek 2 plotting–is getting fairly entertaining and the bad art really just kills the issue’s momentum.
There are some rather good parts with Kirk facing off with the bad guys, Spock and McCoy bickering… Even with the idiotic way they spell out Chekhov’s accent, Johnson has made Star Trek feel like it has an actual cast and not just photo-referenced stand-ins. But Johnson also gives Fajar way too much to do.
Not usually making that compliant–a writer giving an artist a lot of chances to do different things. Fajar fumbles all of them. The space battle is terrible, but it’s leagues better than the away team getting into a phaser fight. That last action sequence is just atrocious.
The bad art is holding this series back–nothing else.
The Khitomer Conflict, Part Three; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Yuwono; letterer, Chris Mowry; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Mooney brings Half Past Danger to a reasonably good conclusion, though the whole thing just feels like a setup for a sequel series. Hopefully, if Mooney does a sequel, it won’t end with a setup for another series.
The issue is all action until the epilogue. The good guys each have their own adversary (or adversaries) to deal with before there’s the big decision about how to escape the Germans. Mooney isn’t reinventing the wheel with this stuff either, just getting it to roll well. The payoff scenes–there are multiple ones–are safe but rewarding.
But the finish is a little too thin. Mooney puts off resolving some plot lines because he’s setting up a sequel. He does have a nice moment for the good guys, however, who haven’t really had a chance to bond in a few issues.
It’s an fantastically fun comic. It’s just a little light.
Killing with Kindness; writer and artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; editors, Christopher Schraff and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.
So J. Bone takes over the art. Maybe the intention was always a different artist on each issue, but it doesn’t play particularly well. Bone does very nice homage to Eisner’s character design without being too literal.
The story’s a little weak though… definitely a little weak. Waid definitely likes the Spirit and his supporting cast, but he casts Cliff as a buffoon. Betty’s a strumpet and Cliff’s a buffoon. Until the big action sequence–the two heroes’ different fist fights juxtaposed against each other–the Rocketeer doesn’t show up. Waid’s just got Cliff running around like an ass.
It’s awkward and unpleasant. The crossover is ill-advised–the characters’ don’t sync–but Waid could have come up with something better than Cliff being a boob.
The issue reads fast and Bone has some decent moments. Otherwise, it’s getting even worse than I had expected. Waid’s dropping the ball here.
Pulp Friction, Part Three; writer, Mark Waid; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Rom Fajardo; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Waid continues full steam ahead with two characters who probably should have never crossed over. The result is more a Spirit comic guest starring the Rocketeer cast than anything else. Loston Wallace’s heavy on the Eisner influence for the character designs–except Betty to some degree–and, as a result, Cliff feels totally out of place.
Peevy and Dolan getting along like aged pranksters is a whole different problem.
But the comic also makes the Spirit feel way too literal. Waid’s got him fighting bad guys on biplanes, big crash sequences, on and on. It’s the Spirit in an action movie, with occasional Rocketeer moments–Waid tends to follow Cliff when he’s got the helmet off and the Spirit when Cliff’s suited up.
The comic’s also way too predictable. Given the properties in question, there’s nothing at risk here for the characters… and Waid should be going for constant amusement.
Pulp Friction, Part Two; writer, Mark Waid; penciller, Loston Wallace; inker, Bob Wiacek; colorist, Hi-Fi Colour Design; letterer, Tom B. Long; editors, Scott Dunbier and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.
If it weren’t for the terrible art from Fajar, this issue might actually be pretty good. Johnson splits the crew–spending Spock off to consult the Federation while everyone on the Enterprise questions him leaving Kirk and Kirk off with the Klingons as a prisoner.
Johnson’s juxtaposition is interesting because Kirk’s the one who has the most faith in Spock; now, will Johnson answer the question of whether Kirk has faith in Spock’s own decision making or does Kirk really have faith the human crew will convince Spock to act. Or will Johnson ignore that plot thread because he’s really more about wowing the reader.
Except Johnson has no ammunition. As a sequel to Into Darkness, this story arc will always have to be muted–it’s a poorly drawn licensed comic after all. Paramount won’t allow anything major.
It’s a fine enough issue, though the hard cliffhanger is spectacularly lame.
The Khitomer Conflict, Part Two; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Yuwono; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.
There are too many dang people in the main Enterprise cast. Johnson just added Sulu’s sister as a love interest for Chekhov. Why does Chekhov need a love interest? No idea. Johnson’s not doing anything with Carol Marcus and Kirk–probably doesn’t want to step on future movie toes–but come on… When does Scotty get a girlfriend?
The issue opens with a reference to Star Trek VI, which sadly might be the best thing about the issue. Johnson is able to tell original series adaptations–though this arc is apparently more a sequel to Into Darkness–with material established later. Though he could easily go overboard with that practice. Ignore that comment–I’m cringing at the thought of Spock versus the Borg.
Fajar’s art is really bad this time out. If Star Trek isn’t selling enough to pay for a good artist, maybe IDW should just drop it.
The Khitomer Conflict, Part One; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Yuwono; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.
About half the issue is a submarine adventure, which is very cool. Mooney sure does figure out how to work all sorts of genres into a comic about dinosaurs (there actually aren’t any dinosaurs visible in this issue).
And then there’s a big surprise at the end, which I wasn’t expecting–Mooney does really well hinting at one surprise, but not another.
Speaking of Mooney, the sad part is his art falls off towards the end. He gives it away during the submarine sequence. The art’s really simple; the sequence works, but there’s none of Mooney’s action pacing. At the end of the issue it just gets worse; it’d be distressing but the twists are so good it doesn’t matter too much.
I’m sure Mooney will end the series well, even if he’s rushing to finish it. Half Past Danger proves the kitchen sink approach is sometimes the right one.
Ours Is But to Do and Die; writer and artist, Stephen Mooney; colorists, Jordie Bellaire and Ruth Redond; editors, Christopher Schraff and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.
No way, decent art from Balboni? It’s unbelievably acceptable, probably due to Marina Castelvetro’s pencils. Now, it’s not great but it’s far from the usual Balboni eyesore.
This issue is a done-in-one episode, which is kind of nice. The Enterprise finds a ravaged colony of prospectors; turns out the Gorn are back (from the “Star Trek” video game no one liked earlier this year) and Kirk’s holding a grudge.
Johnson tries hard to split the comic between Kirk and Spock, but he just gives Kirk way too much action stuff to do. I’m still confused how they lose track of Sulu when they should have communicators. I don’t even think he gets a line.
It’s not bad stuff, just a little too quick a read. I can’t remember Johnson doing a done-in-one issue like this one before; it’s how the series should go so probably won’t.
Writer, Mike Johnson; penciller, Claudia Balboni; inker, Marina Castelvetro; colorist, Arianna Florean; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
So Johnson doesn’t reveal the human female who is conspiring with the Romulans. It’s probably that chick Khan hooked up with in Space Seed but who cares. He comes up with a wacky way for Spock to get out of Pon Farr without having to fight Kirk (a sad oversight) or get busy with his Vulcan lady (and upset Uhura).
Chekhov–why’s he such a genius in the new Star Trek again–and Carol Marcus come up with the solution. Only Carol Marcus doesn’t really get any lines. Not sure why they put her on the Enterprise if she’s not going to have anything to do except play second chair to Chekhov, who’s really annoying.
It’s not terrible, though Fajar’s art gets tiring almost immediately. Badly painted comic art doesn’t seem appropriate for Star Trek.
The Romulan and Klingon thing is particularly lame as it doesn’t impact the main story.
After Darkness, Part Three; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Yuwono; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Not a particularly special continuation of the story… mostly because there’s so much extra stuff to complicate the “Amok Time” adaptation.
First, there’s no Vulcan anymore so Spock’s on New Vulcan. Turns out there’s a tribe of wild Vulcans running around the planet–in its volcanos, which leads to a terrible action sequence from Fajar, who tries way too hard to be cinematic. So far no big fight with Kirk.
Spock’s Vulcan girlfriend, T’Pring, is the same and Uhura takes it all in stride. Johnson writes some good lines for Bones on all the Pon Farr business, but gives way too many pages to the Romulan conspiracy, the Klingon war machine, Sarek and the new Vulcans… there’s just nothing for the actual cast to do but sit and mope.
Until that misfired action finish and then the crew’s all in environment suits and unrecognizable.
It should’ve been fun and isn’t.
After Darkness, Part Two; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorist, Stellar Labs; letterer, Chris Mowry; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Interesting, very interesting.
Well, sort of interesting. This issue, beginning a sequel arc to the Star Trek Into Darkness film, does feature a return to form for Johnson in some ways. He’s enjoying writing the scenes between the crew, not trying to fit in a bunch of silly new history. The worst he does is tie into the movie prequel comic IDW did, but he also recaps that series’s repercussions in decent expository dialogue.
And there’s the interesting twist to the whole thing… it’s actually “Amok Time.” Spock’s going into Pon Farr for the first time (and I also realized Star Trek III has a big continuity gaff in that regard) but things are different. He’s got a girlfriend now. A human one who can’t relieve the Pon Farr stresses.
It’s a great setup, hopefully Johnson can deliver. There’s political intrigue too, but who cares… it’s “Amok Time” time again.
After Darkness, Part One; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorist, Stellar Labs; letterer, Chris Mowry; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Not only don’t Sulu and Chekhov rate their own origin issues, they don’t even get one bad artist. They have to share two lousy artists.
I wonder if Johnson knew he was going to have two artists or if the told him later. The change is handled somewhat seamlessly. It goes from bad to bad; I thought maybe Sulu would get one part, Chekhov the other, but no… it’s all jumbled. Except Kirk shows up in Chekhov’s story arc because, well, apparently Chekhov’s even less interesting than Sulu.
Johnson’s problem with all these origin issues is pretty simple. He’s writing inane adventures in Starfleet Academy. Everybody’s in the Academy at one point or another in their stories and they’re all bad. It’s like Johnson hasn’t got it figured out how not to be condescending about the morals of the Star Trek universe. It’s a shame.
Produces terrible comic book too.
Writer, Mike Johnson; pencillers, Claudia Balboni and Luca Lamberti; inkers, Erica Durante and Lamberti; colorist, Arianna Florean; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Maybe there’s a reason Scotty isn’t the star on “Star Trek.” Johnson gets absolutely no mileage out of the character, even going so far as to include the transwarp Beagle incident the film writers thought so much of. It doesn’t help Balboni’s on the pencils, but there’s just no story.
Some of the problem stems from Johnson’s inability to distinguish the character from Simon Pegg’s highly effected performance. Reading the comic feels like reading a newsletter from Pegg’s fan club. Johnson does include a lot of little moments in Scotty’s history, but they’re all pointless.
And I’d love to see the odds one of his ancestors worked on the H.M.S. Enterprise. It’s probably billions to one, yet Johnson expects the reader to consume it without question.
The series’s original concept–revising the original television series episodes–is sadly forgotten. Johnson is just doing movie tie-in crap now.
Writer, Mike Johnson; penciller, Claudia Balboni; inker, Erica Durante; colorist, Arianna Florean; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Big surprise this issue. Mooney’s apparently real good at not painfully foreshadowing.
This issue is exactly how an all action comic should be done. Mooney keeps up a brisk pace and his panel compositions are complicated and sometimes breathtaking. He clearly wanted to do complex action set pieces and figured out how to best convey them. I’ve never been so fulfilled by a comic I spent so little time reading. Maybe because I can go back and appreciate his art pacing.
There’s also the matter of the good guys team structure. The scenes where the guys all fight against the Nazis together have a wonderful flow. It feels like they’ve gotten to know each other, which may be why Mooney spent the time developing their relationships. Makes the action work better.
Great ending too. Not a lot of surprises, but great cliffhanger thrills.
Danger is one heck of a comic.
Curiouser and Curiouser!; writer and artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; editors, Christopher Schraff and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.