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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 Trek: Titan – The Red King

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Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin have moved onto my short list of Star Trek authors who can be counted on for a good read. This volume features the continuing adventures of Captain William Riker’s first command, the USS Titan and its diverse crew.

Published in mass-market paperback by Pocket. ISBN 0743496280

Star Trek: Vanguard – Harbinger

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I enjoyed this retro TOS novel by David Mack. Mack introduces a fleet of new characters for this story arc, all very intriguing, as is the mystery of the Taurus Reach. Of course, Kirk, Spock, and a few other familiar characters are there. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

Published in mass market paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 1416507744

Star Trek: Tales from the Captain’s Table

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This amusing collection of short stories is edited by Keith R. A. DeCandido who also contributes a story featuring Klag. Other featured captains are Riker, Picard, Elizabeth Shelby, Kira Nerys, Chakotay, Demora Sulu, David Gold, and Jonathan Archer. Of course, none of them can live up to the legend of Porthos, badass beagle and cheese connoisseur.

Published in trade paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 1416505202

Star Trek: New Frontier – The Captain’s Table Book Five – Once Burned

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The title is a mouthful, but Peter David comes through with this first-person tale told by Captain Mackenzie Calhoun. The Captain’s table format gives both David and his character an opportunity to tell a very personal story. I found it entertaining. You can find PAD among the crowd of the cover art.

Published in mass-market paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 0671020781

Star Trek: Articles of the Federation

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book by Keith R. A. DeCandido, but his characters are vividly drawn and the story is engrossing. I guess this is sort of a tribute to the television show The West Wing with a trek twist, giving us a view of Federation President Nan Bacco and several months of her administration. Different and entertaining.

Published in mass-market paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 1416500154

Star Trek: Titan – Taking Wing

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I can count on Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels to provide a fast-paced and enjoyable read. This novel is the first of a series featuring Captain William T. Riker and his first command. We get a wildly diverse crew, Klingons and Romulans in a bad mood, Spock, and numerous threads from the Star Trek tapestry of tales.

Published in mass-market paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 0743496272

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Hollow Men

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Una McCormack writes a deeply emotional novel about the aftermath of Sisko’s decision to bring the Romulans into the war against the Dominion by deceit, told in sixth season episode In the pale moonlight. This a fine portrait of Sisko, Garak, their similarities and differences.

Published in mass market paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 0743491513

Star Trek – The Brave and the Bold Book Two

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Keith R. A. DeCandido concludes his crossover tale weaving together the adventures of Archer, Kirk, Sisko, Picard, and Janeway. The Maquis discover a third weapon, while Picard and Klag of the IKS Gorkon must deal with the fourth and most terrible weapon. This duology is a fun read.

Published in mass market paperback by Pocket Books. ISBN 0743419235

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