I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
As a card-carrying nerd, one is expected to take part in the eternal debate: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Here's where I stand on it:
I DO love Star Wars. I probably love Star Wars more than I ever loved my first wife. But as much as I love Star Wars, I ALWAYS come back to Star Trek. There's just so much MORE Star Trek out there to enjoy. Star Trek has everything you could ever want. . .action, adventure, comedy, drama, high art and pure friggin' cheese.
Even better than Star Wars is that Star Trek doesn't just follow the same cast of characters. You can switch it up, watch your favorites and ignore the rest, leading to further debate. . .Spock or Data? Kirk or Picard? Enterprise or Deep Space 9?
But as much as I love Star Trek, I've never really gotten into the comic books for some reason. I guess it's because (like I said above) there's just SO much Star Trek out there already, I've never felt the need to supplement. . .unlike Star Wars comics, which I absolutely read a TON of because back in the day, new Star Wars was few and far between.
ANYWAY. . .
I picked up a longbox full of Star Trek comics a month or so back at auction. This was the only complete mini-series in the pile, so let's do this!
STAR TREK: THE MODALA IMPERATIVE (DC)
First, let's take a look at the best thing about this issue. . .the outstanding cover! I'll confess I've always had a bit of a "thing" for Uhura. . .but she never looked like THAT on T.V.! NIcely done Adam Hughes.
ANYWAY. . .
Captain Kirk and new Enterprise crew member, Ensign Chekov, beam down to the planet Modala to determine if they are ready for an invitation to join The Federation.
They discover that the planet is under the heel of a totalitarian government armed with off-world high technology weapons they shouldn't have. Before they can investigate further, they are caught up in a terrorist attack and taken prisoner by government forces mistaking them for rebels.
This first issue is a bit of a mixed bag. Generally, it's pretty good. The story so far is pretty simple. . .classic Star Trek "Away Team Mission Gone Wrong" setup.
The writing is spot on and captures the flavor of classic Star Trek and the personality and dialogue of the original series crew very nicely.
Unfortunately, the art is disappointing. Although the artist captures the essence of the characters, he doesn't do very well with their likenesses. . .a big minus in a licensed property. Also, some of the art seems rushed and unfinished, especially when off the Enterprise and on the planet Modala.
Overall, I really liked the spot on writing, but the art was barely tolerable in places, so taking the good with the bad, this book gets an average grade.
After communication is lost with Captain Kirk and Ensign Chekov, Spock and Doctor McCoy beam down to Modala to investigate, and are immediately put on the run from government forces and forced into hiding to avoid capture.
In prison, Kirk and Chekov meet the leaders of the Modala resistance. Kirk convinces them that violence is not the only way to wage a revolution.
Let's start with the cover. A bit disappointing after the stellar (heh) first issue. Spock and The Enterprise are great, but Kirk has a weird "O RLY?" look on his face and Chekov looks like a 16 year old kid. Not good. . .
The writing remains spot on. As I read the dialogue, I could almost hear the voices of the actors saying the lines. Very nicely done.
Unfortunately, the art is not only still dodgy, but actually takes a step down in quality. This whole issue seems rushed and in places unfinished. On page 13 there is a scene where Spock and McCoy are watching government troops forcing citizens to clean up the debris from the rebel bomb attack last issue. . .and nobody has a face. That's sloppy and definitely no bueno.
Overall, I'm really liking the writing on this series. On the other hand, the art is dragging it down in a big way.
In prison, Kirk is offered a chance to lead the Resistance, but he turns it down and suggests that Stroyka lead them instead. Once matters of leadership are settled, the prisoners organize a breakout.
Elsewhere, Spock and McCoy follow a lead that brings them to the prison. Unfortunately, while they are scouting it, Kirk and the Resistance stage their breakout and Spock and McCoy are captured by government forces as they sweep for escaped prisoners.
Overall, this issue definitely sags. The cover is probably the worst of the bunch. Once again, Chekov looks like a 16 year old kid. Come to think of it, the interior artist ALSO draws him very young. I wonder if either artist had any good photo reference to work from. Strange. . .it's a real person with photographs of him.
ANYWAY. . .
Like I said, this third issue definitely sags quite a bit. The dialogue is still remarkably authentic to the characters, but the story itself takes a turn for the worse as the two separate away teams swap places, with Kirk and Chekov escaping prison and Spock and McCoy being taken prisoner. And to be honest, it's all a little predictable and boring, for all the action in this issue.
The art also remains extremely dodgy. Like I said above, Chekov looks like a high school kid and this time around the artist has a really hard time with Scotty's face (He's in charge of the Enterprise while the planetside shenanigans go on).
All in all, what SHOULD be an exciting setup for the final issue turns out to be the blandest part of the story. A damn shame.
In this final issue, Kirk and Chekov enlist the Modala Resistance fighters to help them free Spock and McCoy, who are going to be publicly executed.
As the rebels and government forces clash, the Enterprise crew beam to safety and decide that Modala isn't quite ready to join the Federation.
And here we are at the big finish.
Overall, it's a pretty good wrap up to the series. Chekov gets a moment to shine, inspiring the rebels (really, shaming them would be a better description) to help free Spock and McCoy when Captain Kirk fails in his attempt to motivate them.
The scenes of everyone back on board the Enterprise are very nicely done, and once again, I have to say that the writer does a remarkable job of capturing the voices and personalities of the characters.
Unfortunately, the art continues to disappoint. This artist is barely passable during static conversation scenes, but is not able to carry action scenes at all. What should be exciting and explosive is barely tolerable in his hands.
All in all, there are some great character moments in this issue on the writing side of things, and the story is wrapped up very nicely. On the other hand, the art once again drags down what should be great into "pretty good" territory.
This mini-series was sort of a schizoprenic reading experience. On the one hand, the writer has a remarkable knack for capturing the voices of the original series T.V. cast on paper. The tone, the dialogue, the pacing is all spot on. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I could almost HEAR the actors speaking as I read.
On the other hand. The art was barely passable during static scenes of conversation and was almost completely incapable of carrying action scenes. Except for some nice covers (issue #1 made me look at Uhura in a whole new way) the art really dragged down what COULD have been a great mini.
Up next. . .
The story continues 100 years later. . .Star Trek: The Next Generation-style!
Be there or be square.
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