Star Trek #1491: Children of Mars

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Two school girls with parents on Mars are at odds on the most defining day of their lives.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Its minimalism. "Heroes". Tantalizing teases for Star Trek: Picard.

WHY WE DON'T: Still kind of wish we knew more about the characters' conflict.

REVIEW: This prequel to Star Trek: Picard needs to do one thing, and that's set up some new conflict that Starfleet is in or has been (depending on when it takes place, but the picture of Admiral Picard on the news seems more recent than the series Picard) and it does by showing it through the eyes of innocent bystanders. Whoever the "Rogue Synths" are, we only see their ships, destroying the Utopia Planitia ship yards and Earth's colonies on Mars. Has a synthetic race risen in power? Did someone crack how to make more Datas and they're in open rebellion? It's all very mysterious and should whet people's appetites for more.

These events are filtered, however, through the eyes of two 12-year-olds who have parents working on Mars and who won't be coming home for First Contact celebrations (which must be upcoming, not ON the day, cuz c'mon, shouldn't be a school day). That's enough to put Lil, the human girl, in a bad mood, which drives her to bully Kima, an alien girl, until violence erupts. It's troubling that, in the Star Trek universe, this behavior seems racially motivated (what has Kima done to deserve this except be different - she seems isolated from ALL the other kids, even though they aren't all human), but in true Trek fashion, there is always more that unites us than divides us, and the death of their parents makes them forget all about their differences and hold hands to comfort one another. There isn't a lot of dialog as Peter Gabriel's rendition of David Bowie's "Heroes" plays over most of the action, pointing them in the right direction ("We could be heroes"), but doing so with Gabriel's melancholy. It's effective.

Children of Mars' attempt at world-building is worthy, but not quite as effective. Short Treks just don't have the resources to create proper sets that can't be amortized financially - it's why so many take place aboard the Discovery or Enterprise - and the school here is clearly some building in Toronto. I don't really bat an eye at that until they show a library full of books. Yes, paper books exist in the 24th Century, but we've always sort of been told they are antiquated. From there, I started noticing other old-school (sorry) elements, like the padlocks on the lockers, or even the fact these kids have to take the bus every morning (why is the dorm so far from school?). What saves this half-world is the cinematography, which creates perfect compositions with the modern spaces and the people moving through them. It's quite a good-looking short, and rather heartfelt.

LESSON: Shared adversity breeds alliance.

I like its lyrical quality and it never hurts to show more of the Trek universe outside the confines of Starfleet, even if it's not necessarily convincing on that budget.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine