29 April 2009

"Star Trek: Countdown" TPB

Star Trek: Countdown TPB
Story: Robert Orci & Alexander Kurtzman
Writers: Mike Johnson & Tim Jones
Artist: David Messina
Color Art: Giovanna Niro
Additional Colors: David Messina and Paolo Maddaleni
Color Consultant: Ilaria Traversi
Letterers: Chris Mowry, Robert Robbins and Neil Uyetake
Creative Consultant: David Baronoff
Original Series Editors: Andy Schmidt and Scott Dunbier
Collection Editor: Justin Eisinger
Collection Design: Neil Uyetake
Star Trek Created by Gene Roddenberry
Originally published as Star Trek: Countdown Issues #1-4
Date of Publication: 21 April 2009
Cover Price: $17.99
104 pages

This is a prequel to the forthcoming motion picture, Star Trek.  In case you might be wholly unfamiliar with the Trek canon, allow me to put it this way.  In the 1960s, they made the TV show Star Trek featuring characters like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.  This series was set in the 23rd Century.  There were a lot of spin-off TV series, starting with Star Trek: The Next Generation, which began in 1987.  It featured characters like Captain Picard and Data, and was set in the 24th Century, by which time Mr. Spock was an old man.

Now, what Countdown explains is the premise for the new movie.  In the 24th Century, a star explodes and begins destroying entire planets.  Old Man Spock, ever the scientist, has been studying this activity and warns the Romulan senate that it must act quickly to contain this destruction before it reaches the Romulan homeworld.  His argument is only supported by Nero, a miner who saw firsthand the birth of this destruction.  Spock and Nero are disheartened when the senate calls them Chicken Little, but resolve to act in defiance of the senate.

The problem, though, is that the material needed to contain this stellar force is an experiment of the Vulcans.  Spock is half-Vulcan, but his work to reunify his homeworld with their estranged Romulan cousins has cost him his standing.  The Vulcans, too, elect to choose mistrust over action and the consequence is that all of Romulus is destroyed.  Nero swears revenge on Spock, believing the aged Vulcan allowed Romulus to die before acting to stop this awesome power from reaching his beloved home.

And that's pretty much the premise.  Countdown takes place entirely in the 24th Century, and we get to catch up with some of the Next Generation characters not seen since 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis.  It is this context which gives me hope for the forthcoming project, as screenwriters Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman provided the story for this prequel.  Time and again, official statements have been cryptic about how this new movie fits into established Trek lore, though they have frequently insisted that it is not a reboot (along the lines of Batman Begins or Casino Royale).  Countdown convinces me at least that Star Trek at least begins from a point of established continuity.  Of course, anything becomes possible in a time travel story, and that's what Star Trek is.

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