Eaglemoss has a firm tradition of respecting the Star Trek franchise, and in partnership with another organization with the same value are reprinting a choice collection of IDW Publishing’s original, high-quality Trek graphic novels – but are also reaching in to the Trek comic archives for the classic UK newspaper comics, the Marvel Comics Trek line, and more in the coming months.
When you have a partnership of like-minded purposes, can there be anything wrong?
Volume One in this hardcover collection is Countdown, the four-issue series from IDW that was originally published in early 2009 as a lead-up to the first Kelvin Timeline Star Trek film – a much-needed prequel that clarifies both Spock Prime and Nero’s backstory (before they crashed into the alternate reality seen in the film).
Creatively written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, this is a book that embraces the origin point of the break between the two timelines that is the commonality that all true Trek fans need to remember.
What I enjoyed about this story was that it set the scene for the 2009 film in a way that allows Prime Timeline fans to better appreciate the new universe. Set about eight years after Star Trek: Nemesis, this story sees the original crew of the Enterprise-E in different roles.
Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge is now a starship designer, Captain Picard is now The Federation Ambassador to Vulcan, and Data has survived his explosive death aboard Shinzon’s warship and has taken command of the Enterprise (now living in the former body of his android progenitor, B-4).
Ambassador Spock has been living with the Romulans for the past twenty years, and has become of aware of a grave threat to the Romulan Empire in the form of an unstable star. The basic plan is to use the mining vessel, the Narada (under the command of Captain Nero), to search for the mineral Decalithium, and transport it to Vulcan — and change it into red matter for the purpose of stabilizing the Hobus star.
(Of course, the further explanation of this noble cause would have been extremely useful in setting up the premise for the Abrams film.)
We meet a more relatable Nero in this series; a Romulan who understands Ambassador Spock’s plan in trying to save the the Romulan Empire. In this series, he is an ally and we learn more about the transfiguration to the vengeful villain we see in the 2009 film. Nero is more comprehensible and is actually more heroic and sympathetic.
We also get to see more of the Enterprise-E crew. I was particularly entertained by the notion of Geordi LaForge designing Spock’s enigmatic one-man ship from the film, dubbed the “Jellyfish.” It’s these links back to the classic timeline that bridges the gap between classic and the new cinematic Trek.
For the first pick for its series of reprinted graphic novels, Eaglemoss has made an excellent choice with Countdown. Eaglemoss is widely respected for its miniatures and supplemental literature to support those models, and this wonderful story choice reflects a unifying force between both classic and new Trek fandoms.
Of course, with the fact that Countdown sold out within two weeks of its publication, according to IDW’s editor, Chris Ryall, this is clearly an excellent choice for Eaglemoss to reprint. It’s a fond memory and must-have for those fans who originally purchased it and is an excellent starting point for new readers eager to begin a new library of comic Trek.
The additional bonus to this book is the Dick Wood story, Planet of No Return, originally published by Gold Key Comics back in the late 1960’s. Gold Key is famous for giving its creators very little data of the original show to work with, which resulted in many apocryphal and sometimes contradictory canonical details appearing in the comic.
For example, the Enterprise often was shown with chemical propulsive effects or erroneous terminology for equipment, like the transporter room referred to as the “teleportation chamber” or phasers termed as “lasers.” While the story is obviously dated, it’s a nostalgic throwback that’s a lot of fun for long-time fans to remember and appreciate.
In terms of format, the hardcover is the perfect way to go. Not only does it encapsulate all four issues of this series in a rigorous format, but it is also a convenient purchase and the numbering makes it easier for collectors who like a numbered series on their shelves.
In terms of size, the pages are somewhat smaller, measure about 10 by 6.5 inches. While one would expect there to be an effect on the rendering of the art, I honestly couldn’t see any sacrifice of image quality in the reduced pages, which must come as a relief to artist David Messina and his solid work in this series.
In short, this is a great opening salvo for Eaglemoss’s entry into Trek graphic novel hardcovers. It’s a fan-favourite story that expands the background of the 2009 film and provides more insight into the characters and more understanding behind the film. This is a perfect story for a reprint and also begins a new Eaglemoss tradition or providing quality content in a new medium for this respected Star Trek licensee.
Now I feel the urge to buy a miniature Enterprise-E.
In Eaglemoss’ US store, TrekCore readers can use promo code TREKCORE at checkout for 10% off any ‘Trek’ collectible purchase $50 or greater (Starships, Plaques, Binders, or Graphic Novels).