Star Trek #1432: Vulcan's Vengeance Part 1

1432. Vulcan's Vengeance Part 1

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #7, IDW Comics, March 2012

CREATORS: Mike Johnson (writer), Joe Phillips (artist)

STARDATE: Unknown (sometime after the Star Trek movie)

PLOT: The Vulcans have recovered Red Matter from the site of Vulcan's destruction, but the Enterprise is unable to stop it from being stolen by a masked party. One of the culprits is revealed to be a former Narata crewmember who would really like to avenge Nero. What the Enterprise doesn't know is that he's working with Sarek. The Enterprise decides to follow them into the Neutral Zone without asking permission.

CONTINUITY: Various elements of the Star Trek movie are featured, including Rura Penthe, crewmen from Nero's ship the Narada, Red Matter, and Spock's father Sarek. Boma makes an appearance (Galileo Seven). The destroyed subspace relay on the Neutral Zone evokes events from Balance of Terror.

DIVERGENCES: The story starts in a "forgotten corner" of the Delta Quadrant, which seems a bit far for the ships of the era. Obviously, it's somewhere on its frontier with the Beta quadrant (and thus, the Romulan Empire), but the bar features Alpha Quadrant races like Tellarites and Andorians. Using the Beta Quadrant might have been more appropriate.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Kobayachied AND Marued!
REVIEW: Now that's more like it! The more vocal readers have been clamoring for material not based on TOS episodes, and we finally got one. More please! (Or at least pick stories that would be vastly changed in the new timeline, like Amok Time.) Using Nero's surviving crew is a good idea, as they have the ability to throw the timeline into even more of a lurch. But if they're goal is to give contemporary Romulus the means to build more ships like the Nerada and Red Matter weapons, why is Sarek on board with the plan? If the title is to be believed, then is Romulus actually about to get its ass destroyed? And if so, why are Nero's men on board? So it's got a nice little mystery going and big, big stakes. The comic balances action and characterization nicely, and I do like this more reckless Spock. He's happy to give his stamp of approval to crossing the Neutral Zone (no longer a bureaucratic impediment to Kirk as he was in the film), and gives a good speech about what it means to be a Vulcan survivor even as he threatens a Vulcan scientist with a forced mindmeld. The art is a bit uneven, perhaps too reliant on photo referencing, and the coloring tends to give everything an aura that just makes Phillips' clean lines muddier. These are minor complaints however. I WOULD like to see some proper covers on this series, though. The photo montage stuff is really generic even when it tries not to be.


Matthew Turnage said...

One change they made that I'm not crazy about is Spock beating Kirk at chess. In the old timeline, Spock's inability to beat Kirk at chess demonstrated Kirk's ability to analyse situations beyond using conventional logic in order to develop a winning strategy. It was an example of the trait that makes him a superior captain. I feel like Spock beating Kirk diminishes Kirk's tactical skills, and I'm not sure what positives we get out of it to offset the negatives.

Siskoid said...

They've been playing with this, and I think it's all a set-up for the time when Kirk figures out how to beat the Kobayashi Maru scenario Spock puts forward.

When we catch up to Kirk on the tv series, it is likely not his first game. As we have a younger Kirk here, and a newer relationship, he hasn't yet found a way to beat his first officer.

Matthew Turnage said...

Good point. While the Kirk of the TV series was fairly young, he had about 10 years of experience serving on starships prior to getting command of the Enterprise, whereas the reboot Kirk is straight out of the Academy, and hasn't had time to develop some of the same skills. I hope you're right.


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