Comics has an accessibility problem. After decades of existence some books can be really hard to ease into. That’s why the infamous “jumping on point” was created — single issues designed to garner new readers and lure back old fans. Each week brave surveyors Luke Miller and Jamil Scalese will venture into the comics abyss and let you, the consumer, know just which series are worth JUMPING ON, and which are better left to be revisited at a later date.
Star Trek #55
(Mike Johnson; Tony Shasteen; Davide Mastrolonardo; Neil Uyetake)
Luke: I have an odd love/like relationship with Star Trek. Most science fiction is love/hate, where if it’s really good, I really love it. If it’s just mediocre to terrible, I hate it. However, thanks to continuity, even bad Star Trek (or Doctor Who or Star Wars for that matter) is still fairly enjoyable to me. I bring this up not because I think this issue was bad by any means, only because I might not be the most objective judge. I’ve seen all of TOS, TNG, DS9, and the movies – but I haven’t really partaken of anything Trek related since Into Darkness (or, as I will always call the reboots “Star Trek (X)II”.)
This issue felt like a great way to get back into Star Trek. It felt fresh in that I have no idea what’s going to happen. The writer nailed Nimoy’s interpretation of Spock – there wasn’t a single line, inner monologue or dialogue that felt out of place. There were a couple continuity callbacks to Classic Trek that I had fun with. And there was a super mean Vulcan lady who looked exactly like how I would imagine Dame Judi Dench would look as a super mean Vulcan lady. There wasn’t a ton of action going on, but this first issue was mostly set-up, so other than that, what’s not to like?
Jamil: IDW’s Star Trek is great subject material to spark off this ongoing column. I’ve actually read this title since the first issue, but not continuously. For various reasons I’ve only picked up select arcs, and I’ve probably bought less than half it collectively. It’s one of the most accessible comics at the LCS each month, and all without a reboot!
Of course, that’s baked into the episodic glory of Star Trek. I definitely understand your point about how the mythology of Trek really allows you to take the bad with the good, and that’s kind of the formula behind a lot of favorite superhero franchises, right? I could argue some of the most stable characters (ahemsupermanahem) haven’t produced consistently great storylines for decades.
Star Trek #55 is an appetizing option to new readers because it’s a bit of a special occasion — an eulogy for one of the centuries’ best characters. The beginning of this four issue story all about Old Spock, portrayed by the late Leonard Nimoy, and his acclimation to life in the Abramsverse is one of the best issues of the series that I’ve read. Mike Johnson has been a good shepherd of the franchise for the past four years, demonstrating skill in capturing the voice of both the characters and the science fiction realm. He continues that with a pitch-perfect Spock embroiled in a political and cultural quagmire (with a jail break thrown in as flair). It almost reads as secret sequel to the 2009 movie.
Luke: Almost reads as a secret sequel? This issue/arc is about as sequel-rific as they come. The first 4-6 pages are literally scenes replayed right from the movie. No matter how this arc turns out, it’s clear the creators here wanted the final say in Classic/Old/Nimoy Spock’s sendoff story, so they decided to make sure the timeline for this story was airtight. No one is sneaking in a retconned secret mission in between the end of the 2009 movie and the start of this arc. Of course, this also makes me assume this arc will take us right up to the point of C/O/N Spock’s (undoubtedly) heroic death, but I’m getting ahead of myself and jumping to conclusions here.
That seemingly telegraphed ending might be my only complaint, but it’s not a big one. We obviously know Nimoy can’t film a heroic death scene for a later Trek movie (nor do I think he should), and he should have a grand sendoff fitting a character who’s been so embedded in pop culture for so many of us for so long. I hope he gets it.
So, Jamil, as a reader of this series on and off since it’s relaunch, was there anything you disliked about this particular issue/arc opener? Maybe relative to the rest of the series?