Our Trek Comics editor Patrick Hayes is back with a review of this month's issue of IDW Publishing's Star Trek comic series, "Parallel Lives, Part II."
Cat Staggs once again provides the regular cover and I like it! I enjoy seeing alternate versions of the crew, so why not a gender swap? Each character is unique, and she doesn't use a cookie-cutter approach to making their faces. I also like the cosmic swirl/mist around the characters, which is a nice way to highlight the Enterprise below them. A special credit is given to Gabriel Koerner for the Enterprise model used for this illustration. Grade: A.
A Subscription photo cover is the other choice for you to pursue this month with a nice shot of Zoe Saldana as Uhura from Into Darkness. This picture choice is appropriate as it's the closest we've gotten in rebooted Trek with a strong female. I wish the border at the bottom and the top of the page had been brighter because, though it does match her jacket, I'm afraid it's going to blend in with other new comics on the shelves too easily. Grade: A–.
I could have had this story go on for another issue. Mike Johnson's final part of this two parter, with a story consultant credit going to Roberto Orci, has both crews meet after the space anomaly has both Enterprises starring each other down. This could have been a real cheese-fest, but Johnson hits all the right marks with terrific character comments. I wish that something more had occurred than just their meeting, though.
Oh, sure. You know that at some point both Spocks are going to look upon one another and say "Fascinating," but you would not expect the bottom of Page 4, the last panel of 5, the stunning cameo on 16 (worth the price of the issue alone), the stunning cameo on 17, and the terrific last line of the fourth panel on 19.
This was fun. I can't remember the last time a Star Trek comic was fun and not concerned with the end of the universe or someone's death. It's about time Trek was fun again. Grade: A–.
I liked Yasmin Lian's art as well. Now that the crew that I'm used to seeing has appeared, it's neat to see her take on them. I was impressed with how closely the faces I'm familiar with resembled the actors who play them. Particular stand outs were Scotty and Chekov who looked terrific!
There are still the occasional problems with characters' hands (Jane's at the top of Page 7 and Spock on 16) and there are some awkward poses (The first panel of 11 and that "blue" handgrip on 14). True, the Enterprise...er, Enterprises are too simple, but there's more than enough pluses to win me over (Scotty's grins, McCoy's frowns, and Pages 16 and 17's surprises).
I would be more than happy to see Liang be the regular penciller on this book. Grade: A–.
Zac Atkinson does a good job on the book's colors. His shading of the characters' faces (Pick any page or panel--it doesn't matter where your eyes fall) gives them a nice dimensional quality. I was happy to see the conference room, if only momentarily to get away form the lens flared bridge. The guest appearances were great, with muted colors to show their otherworldliness.
I'd be delighted to see Atkinson on this book monthly as well. Grade: A.
Dialogue and narration, plus ten sound effects from Gilberto Lazcano. This isn't a sound-heavy book, but those that do appear look okay. The sound at the top of 14 is lost due to the coloring which has it meld too much with background. A red would have been better and been a thematic clue to the fourth panel on the same page. Grade: A–.
Bottom line: In the words of William Shatner's James T. Kirk, "It was fun."
It's about time Star Trek got fun again. Grade: A–.
- Reviewed by Comics Editor Patrick Hayes