Tag Archive: Star Trek Countdown

Review by C.J. Bunce

Now that everyone has seen it who likely was going to watch CBS All Access’s next Star Trek incarnation, Star Trek: Picard, it’s time to delve into the series.  If you haven’t yet, take advantage of the free CBS All Access offer while you can.  Series star Patrick Stewart has said he decided to bring his character back to the screen because of the role he performed for even more years than Picard–Charles Xavier in the X-Men series–specifically because of the strong finish he was able to give the character in James Mangold’s Oscar-nominated finale Logan, possibly Stewart’s strongest performance in his film and TV career opposite Old Man Logan as Old Man Charles.  Stewart succeeded, as Star Trek: Picard, already expecting at least another season, showcases the beloved character as Old Man Picard and wraps far better fans’ last meeting with not only Picard, but Data, Riker, and Troi, too.  And surprisingly it does that for Star Trek Voyager, specifically for Jeri Ryan′s Seven of Nine, who also had a rather anticlimactic finale in the last episode of that series.  Her new take is very different from before, but still lots of fun.

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If you’ve finally caught up with the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Picard, now would be a good time to go back and check out IDW Publishing’s three-part prequel comic book series, which is scheduled to be released in trade paperback form this summer.  Star Trek Picard: Countdown is IDW’s latest Star Trek prequel series, following series like the stellar Star Trek: Countdown, where comic book readers first (and last) saw retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek canon, and Star Trek Discovery: The Light of Kahless, the lead-in to the Star Trek: Discovery TV series.

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IDW Publishing writer Mike Johnson continues to take Star Trek where no one has taken Star Trek before.  As he did successfully in Star Trek Countdown and Star Trek: Nero, Johnson continues the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew in the Star Trek “Kelvin” timeline–the new timeline begun by J.J. Abrams beginning in 2009.  Johnson is breaking new grounds along with artist Tony Shasteen in Star Trek: Boldly Go, a monthly comic book series featuring a standalone story issue hitting comic book stores tomorrow.

In the first four issues of Star Trek: Boldly Go, Johnson and Shasteen take readers beyond last summer’s hit movie Star Trek Beyond.  Kirk and his crew are divided now, serving aboard separate vessels.  Kirk leads the USS Endeavour, with Bones as second rank under another medical chief.  Chekov serves with them.  Spock and Uhura are on sabbatical on New Vulcan with Sarek.  Scotty is teaching at the Academy back on Earth.  Commander Sulu is serving under Captain Terrell (played by Paul Winfield in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) aboard the USS Concord.  And then a nemesis encountered much later in the Prime Universe pursues the Concord.  Why? Is resistance truly futile?  Find out when The Borg seize Spock.


Fortunately instead of being merely a gimmick to bring the key villains from Star Trek: The Next Generation into the realm of the original series, the change-up in the timeline is nicely tied to a logical occurrence in Kirk and Spock’s past, while further binding the ex-Enterprise crew together.


Tomorrow with Issue #5 Johnson and Shasteen set their focus on Jaylah, the heroine from Star Trek Beyond, and our nominee for the most kickass heroine of all the Star Trek films.  It’s a great, personal story, providing backstory showing how Jaylah ended up where she encountered the Enterprise crew at the beginning of Star Trek Beyond, and where the character is now.  Here is a preview of Star Trek: Boldly Go, Issue #5, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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star-trek-waypoint-1-cover    st-waypoint2-subscriptioncover

Tomorrow IDW Publishing is beginning a new bi-monthly anthology series, Star Trek Waypoint.  And we have a preview for borg.com readers from Issue #1 below.  The series is billed as a 50th anniversary look across all the Star Trek incarnations, and it features a host of writers we haven’t seen before in IDW comics.  Issue #1 includes a Star Trek: The Next Generation story featuring Geordi and Data and an Original Series story featuring Uhura.  Fans of the Star Trek Countdown prequel series should take note:  Although the anthology stories aren’t specifically pegged in the canon timeline, writer Donny Cates and artist Mack Chater’s story “Puzzles” feels like a continuation of the Star Trek 2009 prequel story, after Spock and Nero return to the past and create what we now know as the “Kelvin timeline.”

Star Trek Countdown (reviewed here back in 2011) was one of the comic medium’s most fascinating stories so far, revealing Captain Picard working again with Data, with new Starfleet uniforms and an engrossing future.  Similar uniforms appear in “Puzzles.”  It’s an exciting starting point for fans who want to see Star Trek continue to move into the future beyond past TV series.  The second story in Star Trek Waypoint features Uhura, and has the look and feel of authentic, classic Star Trek episodes.  Sandra Lanz serves dual roles on that story, titled “Daylily,” as both writer and artist.


In November Issue #2 will feature two more Original Series stories.  Look for a preview here in two months.  You can look forward to fan favorite Star Trek novelists Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore creating an homage to the classic Gold Key Star Trek comics (remember the great photo covers?), featuring Kirk and Spock on an uncharted planet.  Artwork will be provided by Star Trek comic book artist Gordon Purcell.  The second story is a “red shirt” story, written by author Sam Maggs with art by Star Trek and Doctor Who artist Rachael Stott.

Check out this great preview to Issue #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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Countdown to Darkness Issue 4 cover

If you haven’t read IDW Publishing’s Star Trek Countdown–the comic book prequel to the 2009 reboot movie Star Trek–you’re missing out on a fun book. We argued here earlier that it was a better ride than the actual film, incorporating post-Star Trek Nemesis Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Data into the backstory leading up to the movie.  And there were even some elements that helped explain some of the time travel elements of the film that didn’t make as much sense without reference to the backstory in the comic book prequel.

Tomorrow IDW Publishing wraps the next prequel to the Star Trek reboot franchise with Issue #4 and the trade paperback release of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness.  As with Star Trek Countdown, readers can expect an interesting story preparing us for next month’s movie release.  Although we hope to see Klingons in Star Trek Into Darkness without their helmets as first seen in deleted scenes from the 2009 Star Trek, they return in this new four-part series.  We also get to meet for the first time Captain Robert April–known to fans of the Star Trek novels and the Animated Series as the first captain of the starship Enterprise, but not necessarily to followers of the modern Star Trek film universe.  Below we are posting previews to both the trade edition of Countdown to Darkness and the fourth issue of Countdown to Darkness, both slated for release Wednesday, April 10, 2013, provided to borg.com readers courtesy of IDW Publishing.

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If you saw Star Trek, the 2009 reboot of the Star Trek universe with a new cast (except for Leonard Nimoy returning as Spock from a different timeline) you probably either liked it or hated it.  Those who liked it credited it with being another fun summer action flick.  Die hard Star Trek fans argued about where it stood with respect to the past series and movies, and took turns poking holes in the movie’s plot.

But imagine for a second a movie that bridged the Next Generation cast’s appearance in Star Trek Nemesis with this new slingshot back to the time before the original series.  Imagine a movie that brought Data back to life, that included the further adventures of Captain Picard, Worf, and Lt. LaForge, and what transpired for Ambassador Spock after the events of the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part “Unification” story arc.  Now imagine this movie was written by the same guys that wrote the 2009 movie that was released.  The fact is, this story was written and it was released in comic book form as a prequel to the actual movie’s release.  And that prequel, called Star Trek: Countdown, is a far better story than what made it to the screen, and it explains a lot that went unexplained in the reboot movie.  In fact, it is difficult to understand how anyone understood what happened in Star Trek 2009 without having first read the comic book prequel.

To be sure, the 2009 flick was fun, and pretty good, if you could overlook the blinding lens flare camera pans that seem to typify director JJ Abrams’ recent shooting style.  The cast was a lot of fun, especially with Simon Pegg as Scotty.  The ships looked great, and the changes to the original history timeline at least were explained to fit where the story was going.

But several things were not explained.  Except for a brief flashback, why was Spock so engaged with the Romulans?  What happened to the Remans after Star Trek Nemesis?  Why did the Romulans in this new movie look nothing like the Romulans we’d seen in numerous series over the past 40 years?  Why were the Romulans wearing Klingon clothing?  Answers to these questions were answered in Star Trek: Countdown and a follow-on series called Star Trek: Nero.  And more than that we got to see what happened to the crew of the Enterprise-E after Data died in Star Trek Nemesis.

Star Trek: Countdown begins with Spock as the Vulcan Ambassador to Romulus, a few years after the events of “Unification” in Next Generation.  A star is going supernova and Spock has a plan to prevent the star from destroying Romulus but Spock can get no support.  Spock befriends a leader of a mining group named Nero who can help Spock move along with his plans.  We learn Nero begins as a good guy whose life falls apart through decisions and lack of decisions of others.  How can all the anger create the character we see in the film?  The answers are made clear here.

Both Spock and Nero meet up with the Enterprise, now captained by Data. They also meet up with Picard, now an ambassador. Geordi LaForge, now a private ship builder, is enlisted to help Spock with his project involving red matter, the project that ultimately sends him back to the time before Spock met Jim Kirk.  And by the end of the story Nero confronts the Klingons, including one General Worf.

The story is the story fans of Next Generation wanted to see, even more than Star Trek Nemesis. For those wanting to know more about Nero including why Nero’s crew shaved their heads and got tattoos and why they were wearing Klingon clothing including cloven toed boots, Star Trek: Nero fills in some gaps.

Whereas the plot originated from film writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, self-professed Next Generation fans, Mike Johnson and Tim Jones scripted this complex prequel.  David Messina’s art is solid, covering the old Trek and new Trek equally well and giving superb new uniforms to the Starfleet crew post Star Trek Nemesis.  Check out that painting of Spot in Capt. Data’s quarters above!  Credit for much of the look of this book goes to the great color work by Giovanna Niro.

Ultimately two years after its release, you can’t help but wish the production had made this movie first as an appropriate bridge to the new cast, and that the movie we’re waiting for in 2013 would be the 2009 version.  At least with this written version we got a peek at a good story that would have tied everything together, and Roberto Orci hinted at Star Trek: Countdown as being considered Star Trek canon, at least until someone changes any of its story elements on film down the road.

C.J. Bunce

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