Mike Johnson and Tony Shasteen will always have my unrelenting gratitude for making the Kelvin Timeline something that I can enjoy.
Star Trek: Boldy Go #4 is the final issue in the Borg encounter story arc but four issues isn’t enough for this story. As much as I enjoyed reading it and the resolution, it was over too soon.
It’s like it needed just one more issue to properly display Spock’s assimilation encounter with the Borg or the joint battle with the Romulan Fleet. Johnson had a great story here and like all things enjoyable, this just ended too fast, too soon.
When we last left the intrepid crew of the USS Endeavour (Yeah … it’s weird it’s not the Enterprise but logically it adds a layer of authenticity to the recent events of the Kelvin Timeline), Spock had been taken captive by the Borg, Captain Kirk had taken the ship into the Neutral Zone and a Romulan fleet was prepared to defend their home system against the Borg ship searching for the anomalous Narada – the ship that initiated the Kelvin Timeline in the first place.
Which, of course, is one of the reasons why I think this story works so well. In my opinion, part of the reason why the 2009 film received a negative response from some viewers was that it felt sudden and tried to create a bond with Star Trek fans in a matter of a couple of hours who had a bond with a fifty-year franchise. Yet by recalling an incident that is now six years into Trek history, Mike Johnson has built upon that and generated a sense of greater access for readers in terms of back history and integration into the main universe.
I imagine there was a similar response by Marvel fans when the Ultimates Universe was created back in 2000. However, while the J.J. Abrams film in 2009 might have given fans the impression that it was to supplant the original franchise, the recognition of the Narada incident as a temporal branching now gives it a sense of legitimacy to allow it to co-exist with the original timeline. Johnson’s work is giving it further breadth.
Johnson and Shasteen’s portrayal of the Romulans in this universe was an act of creative initiative. To introduce a race into the comic that Paramount hasn’t in their introduced in their films yet if an act of creative initiative. Not to mention the creation of new crew characters like Valas, who for some reason, I instantly liked and related to strongly.
Maybe it’s because she represents the welcoming attitude that the United Federation of Planets is supposed to represent that long-time Trek fans would appreciate. She is a unique outlier and I sense that we are going to see future stories that are based around her. Also, as I indicated the last time I reviewed this comic, bringing the Borg into the Federation years before the Next Generation era is also a bold story development.
Johnson’s portrayal of characters is completely believable. Zachary Quinto’s voice is very present when I read his verbal engagement with the Borg during the assimilation process; it’s uncanny and highly entertaining.
Tony Shasteen expressed concerns in an interview section in this issue about whether or not he could properly do the Borg due justice in his rendition of them; in my opinion, he can leave those doubts behind about properly illustrating the iconic Borg. He certainly had their number as his illustrations depicted the Borg as a hegemonic race made up of various technological parts. His detail and attention to their structure was excellent.
- Look at the covers for this issue. The regular cover by George Caltsoudas certainly has a stark appeal to it that matches the ruthlessness of the Borg. The display of Spock’s assimilation not only fills the reader with a sense of trepidation but also communicates the severity of the situation.
- Tony Shasteen’s subscription variation is a straightforward portrayal of Zoe Saldana’s Nyota Uhura with her current assignment record in the background. This is in a series of crew portrayals that I would love complete and all-together. Perhaps IDW will arrange for a special print of all these? I hope so.
- The first retailer incentive cover is a photo-cover. Karl Urban’s McCoy graces this cover in a typical heroic pose. I’m not a fan of photo-covers as I think they should be the sole medium of comic artistry but as photos go, it’s acceptable.
- The second retailer incentive cover is another of Marc Laming’s paper doll series. This one is of Spock, and it’s the accouterments that I love to see in these covers. After all, the uniforms are just clothes, but the choice of items like Spock’s 3D chessboard or the portrait of the TOS crew are wonderfully personal and communicate a real understanding of the character. Simply because of the nod to Shatner and company, I have to say this one is my favourite.
These creators’ interpretation of events after the third Kelvin film has taken the crew to new heights and they even manage to make the absence of the Enterprise an authentic and workable element in their storytelling. With their ingenuity, action and character interpretation, they manage to bring a sense of dynamism to Kelvin Trek that makes it not only accessible to die-hard prime Star Trek fans like me, but also incredible enjoyment.
Even though this Boldly Go #4 seemed hurried, I still love it and I’m eagerly anticipating what the next arc will be.