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.
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.
What a truly awful comic book. Ryan Parrott takes over for regular writer Mike Johnson–really hope it’s just for this issue and not forever–and does the secret origin of Uhura.
There’s something to be said about how the new Star Trek promotes Uhura to the big three and downgrades Bones, but now’s not the time or place (and it’s not Parrott’s fault anyway). But her big moment? It’s actually not asking out Spock, which would have been more amusing, but saving her parents from disaster.
So what? It’s not really a defining moment for young Uhura. In fact, as her uncle (who talks her through the rescue–over the communicator because she’s a communications officer) points out, she’s just using her pre-existing skills. It’s pointless.
Parrott’s dialogue is so atrocious I didn’t even notice if Balboni’s pencils. They’re probably a little better than usual… but still bad.
Writer, Ryan Parrott; penciller, Claudia Balboni; inker, Erica Durante; colorist, Claudia SGC; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
The Bones McCoy origin issue. Not sure if Johnson doing origin issues is such a good idea after this one.
Definitely not if the art team of Claudia Balboni and Erica Durante continues. It’s sometimes a little amazing the artists IDW gets for Star Trek. It’s one of the oldest licensed properties out there and they get these not ready for prime time players on it.
In other words, the art is bad. So bad one occasionally pauses to bewilder at the terrible faces, especially on poor Bones McCoy.
Johnson–he brought an M.D. relation along as cowriter, though there’s almost no medicine discussed, only shown in montage–doesn’t have a story for Bones. I thought it was going to be about his father dying. Nope, it’s about what made him join Starfleet. It’s not convincing.
The writing’s not bad, just misguided and pointless. The art is bad though.
Writers, Mike Johnson and F. Leonard Johnson; penciller, Claudia Balboni; inker, Erica Durante; colorist, Claudia SGC; letterer, Chris Mowry; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Eh. You know, Johnson tries really hard sometimes and he ends up forgetting things. For example, doing the mirror universe version of the new Star Trek movie, he manages to lose sight of his best possible story threads.
Old Spock arrives–only he’s regular old Spock not old mirror Spock. Johnson refuses to play too much and sticks to having a good guy somewhere in this issue. Only the comic doesn’t need a good guy, it needs good twists.
Additionally, seeing as how it’s an imaginary tale, there’s no reason the twists couldn’t be outrageous. Johnson’s just too focused on doing a tight issue–there are no creative clips. It’s unfortunate.
The evil Kirk is a lot of fun, even if he’s too dumb to have ever made first officer. Johnson does a lot better with the comic when he’s in the spotlight.
Johnson’s Spock mishandling pretty much kills it.
Mirrored, Part Two; writer, Mike Johnson; artists, Erfan Fajar, Hendri Prasetyo and Miralti Firmansyah; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Tuwono; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Very interesting approach to doing the Mirror, Mirror adaptation. Instead of adapting the original episode–so far, Johnson just does a story set in a similarly dark alternate reality but one in the new movie continuity.
Spock’s the captain of the Enterprise, Kirk is his first officer. They’re warring against the Klingons, but there’s still the matter of Nero (from the first new Star Trek) to deal with. It’s a little late in the series, actually; it probably should have come earlier on… unless Johnson does tie it into the regular reality.
There’s some weird, kind of painted art from Erfan Fajar. He gets the likenesses in broad strokes, which is neat. He doesn’t try too hard. The visual flow is good, even though there aren’t a lot of action scenes. Actually, his action scenes are probably his best work.
Johnson, free of adaptation constraints, has some real fun here.
Mirrored, Part One; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Tuwono; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
These little original issues don’t work out bad at all. Johnson uses this one to flesh out the Keesner character–Scotty’s little alien sidekick–and it’s pretty good.
Turns out the character is from some planet of little aliens where he’s ostracized for being too tall. He ends up in Starfleet–following an odd cameo from Kirk’s father–and Johnson tracks his career until he meets up with Scotty.
The stuff without Scotty is the best, because with Scotty around, Johnson has to focus too much attention on him. He can’t make Scotty too big a jerk. When it’s just Keesner, it’s an interesting enough look at life in Starfleet from an unusual perspective.
And the issue needs another page or so. The ending is truncated.
Molnar’s art is okay. He doesn’t do too well in the close-ups of Keesner, but does all right everywhere else.
It’s harmless stuff.
Writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Stephen Molnar; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
I think this issue has to be the best in the series so far. Johnson structures it around a redshirt who is writing home to his parents from the Enterprise. The character does have a name–and some ties back to the movie–but he’s sort of interchangeable.
There’s a brief recap of the movie and the series so far, which is kind of cool. Johnson never takes a break to actually write in the other issues, just adapts the old original series episodes. He’s actually doing something new here and it works.
Then there’s an adventure, along with this neat–if obvious–quiet moment where Uhura and Spock flirt in front of the issue’s protagonist. Johnson finishes off with some very self-aware stuff about the redshirt knowing what it means to be a redshirt… a little too meta, but it works.
Maybe Molnar’s best art so far too.
Writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Stephen Molnar; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.