1428. Operation: Annihilate (Reboot)
PUBLICATION: Star Trek #5, IDW Comics, January 2012
CREATORS: Mike Johnson (writer), Joe Corroney (artist)
STARDATE: Unknown (sometime after the Star Trek movie)
PLOT: The comic follows the events of the tv episode "Operation: Annihilate!", with changes based on the new J.J. Abrams continuity (for anomalies that cannot be accounted for, see Divergences). The Enterprise visits Deneva, a colony taken over by brain parasites. Spock gets infected, and as the landing party goes underground, they meet Kirk's brother Sam.
CONTINUITY: The story includes the first mention of the rebooted Nurse Chapel. People and elements that appear here and in the original story include George Samuel Kirk, Deneva, the parasites, Yeoman(?) Zahra and an unnamed character who is probably Sam's wife Aurelan. A flashback to Kirk's younger days picks up from a deleted scene that features Kirk's mom and stepfather in the Star Trek movie.
DIVERGENCES: The title lacks the exclamation point. Hard to tell, has Zahra's ethnicity changed?
PANEL OF THE DAY - Take Spock drinking, buy him a new hat, well... you'll live to regret it.
REVIEW: Finally! Mike Johnson gives us a reboot script that diverges from the original screenplay in a meaningful way! Not just the redesigned Deneva and parasites, not just the youthening of the characters' timeline (it's doubtful, for example, that Sam has a son in this timeline), but also as far as structure goes (Spock gets infected earlier, for example). Thanks to the opening flashback, the issue has a stronger link to the film than to the episode, so it's about the new Kirk, not the new Kirk following the old Kirk's lead. His relationship to his brother is changed by the reboot - he now left Earth to get away away from his stepfather - and surprise! He's still alive when the Enterprise gets to Deneva (although, as in the original episode, Sam Kirk looks like he's being played by the same actor who plays Jim, except with facial hair). The comic format's strengths are well used to do bigger and better effects and action sequences, with the Denevan parasites looking so much better than the flying pancakes from tv (it wasn't hard). And almost 50 years on, Zahra is allowed to kick some ass. I feel like IDW/Johnson has been listening to fan criticism and despite the brief he's been given, he's finally making these stories part of the reboot universe and not retellings of what has gone before. Same premise, different story, which is what I want to see (at least if completely original stories are off the agenda).