1362. Countdown, Number One
PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Countdown #1, IDW Comics, January 2009
CREATORS: Tim Jones and Mike Johnson (writers), David Messina (artist)
STARDATE: 64333.4 (8 years after Nemesis)
PLOT: Ambassador Spock has discovered that a star is going supernova and somehow feeding on the planets in its system, and that it may threaten the entire Romulan Empire. He petitions the Romulan Senate to lend him the costly materials to create red matter, which could be used to black hole the star into inexistence. The Senate refuses, fearing a Vulcan plot, but Nero, the captain of a mining ship who has seen the supernova first hand, believes him. He pledges to help Spock get the required ore even at the risk of being arrested. They undertake their mission, but are soon attacked by Remans. The Enterprise-E commanded by Data arrives to save them from this threat...
CONTINUITY: Acts as a prequel to J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. Nero and Spock appear, as do Nero's crewman, Ayel, and his ship, the Narada. The Remans first and last appeared in Nemesis. Data now captains the Enterprise-E. The Enterprise-E's helm console hologram seen in the final panel of this issue is the combat screen from the video game Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity. The future Starfleet uniforms are modeled on those of Star Trek Online.
DIVERGENCES: Spock claims to have lived on Romulus for 40 years. It should be closer to 20 (apparently fixed in the collected edition).
PANEL OF THE DAY - Or has B-4 gotten a software patch?
REVIEW: As a prequel to the latest Star Trek film, Countdown sort of becomes the very last original timeline story. I'm glad they set it a few years in the future of the original timeline franchise because it allows the TNG era space for a lot more stories in novel and comics form. For fans of the original stories, it also builds the new timeline on an "alternative future", which helps soothe the loss of the original. Confused yet? Ok, let's talk about the comic itself. First off, it is saddled with the nonsense technobabble MacGuffin of the film. No going around that. A supernova that can "eat" the entire galaxy, red matter, the whole thing. I don't blame the Senate for throwing Spock out of their chambers. Secondly, in the space of a single issue, Nero is made a more complete character than in the whole of the film. At this point, he is heroic and a family man, one with an uncertain relationship with Spock. I find him a lot more interesting than in the movie, where I didn't care for him at all. Throw in some beautifully drawn Remans and a surprise appearance by Data's Enterprise-E, and we've got some fun going on. The next issue will explain how Data can be back, but for now, an effective cliffhanger.