Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reading Room Spotlight-
"Star Trek: Spock- Reflections"
From IDW Publishing

Name: Star Trek: Spock- Reflections
Published by: IDW
Written by: Scott & Dave Tipton
Art by: David Messina, Elena Casagrande, Federica Manfredi, & Arianna Florean

The Rundown: Ah... Star Trek comics. They've been produced by just about every comic publisher at one time or another, with varying degrees of success. The Gold Key stuff was fun but sometimes highly inaccurate, the DC run was long-lived but had a very mixed bag when it came to good stories and art, Marvel had it twice but didn't deliver much memorable stuff, Wildstorm was just a brief flash in the pan... which leads us up to IDW. For the first time (at least in my eyes), I feel a publisher is treating Trek comics as a truly viable medium to continue the onscreen adventures. I have yet to be disappointed in an IDW Trek book. Each one that I read seems to capture the "feel" of the characters better than anything presented by those previous publishers. So for my first comic spotlight, I'm picking one of my favs from the IDW era: Spock- Reflections

Reflections is a four issue mini-series that spans Spock's life, from his days as a young outcast on Vulcan up through his efforts of reunification on Romulus. The story is told in flashbacks set against a "current" story of Spock on a mission to bid a final farewell to an old friend. You can either snag the trade paperback pictured above to get it all in one handy volume, or if you prefer single issues, here's what you'll be looking for (the retailer incentive cover, if one was available, is pictured to your right)-

Issue 1 finds Spock leaving Romulus in secret for Earth. Spock has to deal with a talkative Saurian, and through their exchanges we see a little more behind the reasoning for Spock's departure. A brief flashback with Captain Harriman, and a scene from Spock's youth on Vulcan give you a feel of what to expect from the series.

The second issue continues Spock's talk with the Saurian. In this issue, we get flashbacks of Spock's return to the Enterprise in "The Motion Picture", his time serving with Pike, and a brief scene on Romulus that basically set the stage for the "current" story. The TMP scene is especially well done and may be my favorite Trek comic moment EVER. It truly feels like a deleted scene from the movie.

Issue 3 finds Spock leaving the company of the Saurian to charter a ship for a little pickup before completing his journey to Earth. We get to see more of Spock's past, from an encounter with an old flame on Vulcan during the time of Spock's attempt to complete the Kolinahr Ritual back to an adventure during the original 5 year mission with Kirk and company (a moment I had anxiously awaited since the first issue).

The closing issue of the series finds Spock completing his mission to Earth interspersed with flashbacks to his experiences with Saavik around the time of "Wrath Of Khan". The story ends with a very touching moment shared with an unexpected special guest...

Overall, "Spock- Reflections" is one of the best Trek stories to hit comic shelves. The Tiptons know their Trek and can really get inside the mindset of these characters (something lacking from many of the previous Trek comic writers). The art too is elevated to a point beyond what the other publishers have offered and has a truly cinematic feel to it. You can tell by reading these books that this isn't just a job to these creators, but in fact they really do care about this property and are putting everything they have into delivering a high quality product. Can't wait for more!

Picking up the trade is probably your best bet if you just want to read the story (which you SHOULD do). Amazon has it for the low price of only $12.23, which is well worth it!



  1. Interesting... most (if not all) of the Trek novels written about the "rebooted" Trek Universe (Abrams'-continuity) have been suspended "indefinitely" while the publishers watch the market. Their hesitation to tap into the new Trek storyline doesn't seem to be an issue for these comics.

    I wonder: how strongly does the comic intertwine the "reboot" Universe? Or does the later life of Spock ignore the new continuity?

    You had asked me for book recommendations: almost anything by these three authors: Christopher L. Bennett, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and S.D. Perry.
    But a problem arises in that most of the current Trek novels "build" on novels that came before. Some don't, however: without hesitation, I'd recommend: Buried Age by Bennett. It's part of the Lost Era saga, and follows Picard in the events preceding the launch of the Enterprise-D. Thus, very little "building" upon other books. Beyond that, it's an outstanding piece of fun writing and well written.

    Second, try DeCandido's The Art of the Impossible, again a part of the Lost Era saga, following Klingon politics and Ian Troi during the gap between TOS and TNG.

    Hope I helped in some small way.

  2. Well, the comic takes place a bit before Spock's trip through time, so no Abrams-verse continuity is involved whatsoever.

    Hmm... I will have to look up those authors. I'm more of a TOS-centric guy though, so any idea if they've all done work in multiple "eras"?

  3. Yes and no. KRAD and SD Perry no. Bennett wrote Ex Machina which is an amazing book, and was a close second to Buried Age. Ex Machina follows the TOS crew right after the V'Ger incident. And unlike other post-TheMotionPicture novels, it directly deals with aftermath of V'Ger: the "newborn" entity that was V'Ger, Spock's epiphany with emotion, etc.