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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Space Between #2

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TNG - The Space Between #2 Publisher: IDW Publishing
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Issue: #2
Date: February 2007
Title: The Space Between
Writer: David Tischman
Artist: Casey Maloney
Cover artists: Jeremy Geddes, Zach Howard
Stardate: 45315.1

Synopsis: Following Ambassador Spock’s decison to stay on Romulus, Picard takes a week off in the ruins of an ancient city on Rajatha Prime with old friend, Dr. Marjorie Devarona. The dig team finds the wreckage of a two-hundred year-old Starfleet shuttlepod and five valuable harmonic diamonds with skeletal remains of the pod’s occupants. The diamonds divide the archeological team and the killing begins. Picard must solve the puzzle of the diamonds and the dig before he becomes the next victim. Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Dr. Crusher and Counsellor Troi experience a little Saturday night fever.

David Tischman and Casey Maloney take us to an impressive rainforest planet complete with ancient ruins, NX-era shuttlepod remains, skeletons, singing diamonds, Andorians, Bolians and Bajorans, oh my. But that’s not what’s got Troi worked up. It turns out that Beverly is a doctor and a disco diva. Of course, Troi joins in the fun.

The B-story is amusing, but this issue features Picard solving a mystery and almost getting killed while on vacation for a week. Captain + Vacation = Trouble. You’d think Starfleet would’ve figured this out by now. Once again, we’ve got a story with the feel of a television episode. There is a bit of action, a bad girl, and an arrival in the nick of time. What more could you ask for?

Now that the first issue of IDW Publishing’s Star Trek: The Next Generation mini-series has disappeared from shelves at local comic shops and the second issue is about to arrive, I’d like to add some followup commentary to my review of issue #1.

Reviews from around the blogosphere and at various Star Trek forums are about what I expected. Most reviewers agree that writer David Tischman captured the essence of the first season TNG and penned a story that could easily have been a televison episode. Casey Maloney’s art has drawn mixed reactions. His technique is very different from past incarnations of Star Trek comics. Artists like Gordon Purcell and Jerome Moore are revered by Star Trek comics fans and are frequently held up as examples while discussing The Space Between #1. There’s no question that past artists have done exceptional work, but I find Maloney’s work both different and interesting.

Troi

IDW typically publishes variant covers for every comic. It looks like each issue of The Space Between will have art and photo covers for regular distribution and one or more retailer incentive issues with variant covers. Dennis Calero’s art for issue #1 is a fine introduction to the new line of comics and has been widely praised. The incentive covers by Zach Howard offer a different perspective on the characters. As for the photo covers, well, they’re photo covers. GRINNNDDDD. That’s the sound my teeth are making, because I have a compulsion to buy every variant issue.

IDW has assembled an enthusiastic crew of creators and I’m hoping for a long run. Personally, I feel that diversity is a good thing in comics as well as in life. I’m looking forward to more of the different from IDW.

This issue will have four covers and there have hints on the web that there is something tying together the six issues that will make up this mini-series.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Space Between #1

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IDW Publishing is bringing Star Trek comics back to comic shops January 2007. This review is based on an uncorrected proof provided by Dan Taylor, editor of IDW’s Star Trek comics line. I’ll keep the review brief. It’s been more than a dozen years since the last time I pretended to review Star Trek comics (search rec.arts.startrek.reviews and rec.arts.startrek.current if you don’t believe me) and I’m certain that brief is better for everyone concerned.

The Space Between #1 Publisher: IDW Publishing
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Issue: #1
Date: January 2007
Title: The Space Between: History Lesson
Writer: David Tischman
Artist: Casey Maloney
Colors: Leonard O’Grady
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Editor: Dan Taylor
Cover artist: Dennis Calero (Cover A)
Cover artist: Zach Howard (Cover RI-A and RI-B)
Stardate: 41590.8

Synopsis: The Enterprise arrives at Tigan for discussions with an isolationist society. Will Riker, Tasha Yar, and Data beam down to meet Chancellor Lomac and find a population hardwired for information, but no Lomac. While the away team tries to learn why there’s no record of anyone contacting the Federation, the Enterprise is hit by a massive gravimetric pulse fired from the planet’s surface. Pushed across the galaxy at near light speed, Picard and his crew must find a way to stop the ship and return to retrieve the away team.

The bottom line first: Everyone working on this comic clearly has an appreciation for Star Trek and I think Star Trek comics fans are in good hands.

The story by David Tischman has the feel of a Star Trek episode; a little mystery, a bit of banter between crewmembers, and suitable technobabble. The away team takes liberties with their hosts’ computer network. I would’ve shot them as soon as they laid hands on a terminal, but it took the Tigans several panels before they gunned down Riker and his pals. Tischman also throws in a few lines of dialogue that Star Trek fans will appreciate, and time travel. I always cringe when I read the T words in Trek lit, but they’re used sparingly in this issue. Oh, and Klingons can do math. Who knew?

Casey Maloney’s art looks more like animation than traditional comic art. I think the folks who cut their teeth on DC’s Star Trek comic art may complain, but new styles and techniques are a good thing. And what’s up with Riker? In a couple of panels, he’s a dead ringer for Dr. Leonard McCoy. Does Maloney know something about Riker’s ancestry that we don’t? By the way, Tasha looks hot when she’s kicking ass.

Issue #1 may be the loudest Star Trek comic I’ve ever read. Visual sound effects for transporter beams NHHHNNNHHNNNNNNNHH, pulse weapons ZZZEEEHHHHH, ZZHHZZZAAAATT, EWWOOHHM, phasers HHWAAUUUGHHHHH, alarms EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, communicators SRREAK (or something similar), and the occcasional BOOOM, abound. Geordi even SNAPs his fingers at a eureka moment. Made my eyes ring.

Riker or McCoy?
Will Riker, McCoy’s great-grand lovechild?

And that’s about it. This issue will have four different covers: two art covers, a sketch cover and a photo cover. Run down to your local comics shop and demand a copy. Due out late January 2007.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 4

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The cartoon Clone Wars adventures continue to be entertaining, both the stories and the art. Writers and artists include the Fillbach brothers, Justin Lambres, Rick Lacy, Ryan Kaufman, Haden Blackman, and Dan Jackson. Good for kids and adults.

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Books. ISBN 1593074026

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

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The comic book adaptation of the movie Revenge of the Sith was adapted by Miles Lane and drawn by Doug Wheatley, with cover art by Tsuneo Sanda, and additional artwork by Dave Dorman. I read the comic before seeing the movie. It couldn’t hurt to read the novelization either. Now what?

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Books. ISBN 1593073097

Star Wars: Visionaries

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This book of ten tales by concept artists who worked on the film Revenge of the Sith ranges from fabulous art without dialogue, to weird art and unreadable dialogue, to run-of-the-mill art and dialogue. In terms of the Star Wars saga, several stories are interesting preludes to the film.

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Books. ISBN 1593073119

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 3

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Another entertaining volume of Cartoon Network’s Clone Wars stories and art with scripts by Haden Blackman, Ryan Kaufman, the Fillbach brothers, and Tom Mucci; and art by the Fillbach brothers. Anyone interested in the complete Clone Wars saga should view the cartoons and these adventures, even if you aren’t six years old.

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Books. ISBN 1593073070

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 2

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The second volume in this series contains stories by Haden Blackman, Welles Hartley, and the Fillbach brothers who also did the artwork. All stories in this and the previous volume are self-contained. In other words, you don’t need to know too much about the Star Wars universe or the Clone Wars backstory.

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 1593072716

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 1

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This series is inspired by the Cartoon Network’s Clone Wars cartoons. While these stories are really for kids, Star Wars junkies of all ages can read them. Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone. With stories by Haden Blackman and art by Ben Caldwell and the Fillbach brothers.

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 1593072430

Whiteout

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This graphic novel collects the four-issue mini-series published by Oni Press. The story is by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Steve Lieber with additional artwork by Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Mike Mignola, and Dave Gibbons. Rucka’s tale about a U.S. Marshall serving in Antarctica and investigating multiple murders on the ice, is lean and taut. The black and white artwork fits the stark location and the main character’s personal demons nicely.

Published in trade paperback by Oni Press. ISBN 0966712714

Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt

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This graphic novel is a sequel to the film, set long after our alien friends tangled on Earth. In this tale, foolish humans repeat the mistakes of the past. Written by Mike Kennedy, pencils by Roger Robinson with Dustin Weaver, and inks by James Pascoe with Randy Emberlin. The small size of the book doesn’t do the artwork justice.

Published in trade paperback by Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 1593072570

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