Star Trek: Countdown #3

5

Average

Countdown3-minApparently “the first comic to be released in stores and on the iPhone on the same day”, this third instalment to Mike Johnson and Tim Jones’ “official prequel to the upcoming motion picture” almost exclusively focuses upon Nero’s descendent into barbaric madness and additionally provides a somewhat contrived explanation as to how the mining captain’s space-craft would prove so incredibly formidable once it had travelled back in time to the 23rd century, and encountered the U.S.S. Kelvin. Indeed, in many ways it’s hard to imagine a swifter descent into homicidal mania for the “particularly troubled Romulan”, and a more fortuitous encounter in order to better arm one of the Star Empire’s light drilling vessels…

Admittedly, this comic’s narrative starts with actor Eric Bana’s emotionally distraught character brimming with tears at the sight of his wife and unborn child’s death, yet in the very next panel the authors would have their increasing 12,486-strong audience believe the grieving widower is “suddenly, strangely… calm” and capable of instantly forming a stratagem which will persuade the nearby Federation planetary evacuation fleet into dropping their shields so he can teleport massively destructive explosive charges aboard the vessels; “I have several injured refugees in need of medical attention. Can I beam them to your ships now?” To make matters worse, the driller doesn’t even rationalise his appallingly merciless behaviour as revenge, but rather states, presumably in some advanced case of prompt paranoia, that Starfleet is only there “to claim Romulan space for their own”?

Just as arguably grating is Nero’s incredible good luck at being “hailed by the ruling council” from their senate shuttle and, having butchered the ever-egotistical praetor, subsequent attainment of the encrypted code required to enter the Vault; a station which “is the last hope of the Romulan Empire.” Not only does this amazing coincidence place the captain in contact with the commander of “an advanced military facility whose existence is known only to the Romulan High Command” and who seemingly doesn’t care whether she’s lied to just as long as he obtains “vengeance for all of the survivors of Romulus”. But also provides his “simple mining vessel” with “the most advanced weapons system in the galaxy” courtesy of the Borg…

All of these “Trials and Tribble-ations” are pencilled by David Messina competently enough, with his imagery of Nero receiving his “ancient symbols of love and loss” upon his forehead proving a particularly impressive illustration. However, the Scuola Internazionale di Comics graduate does seem to struggle with the likenesses of some of this comic’s other more recognisable cast members, such as Ambassador Spock and Jean-Luc Picard, and resultantly these sequences can prove a little troubling to the eye.

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5

Average

Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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