Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review - Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"Inviting unwarranted speculation is illogical."

Star Trek is one of the most enduring science-fiction franchises around. The property continues to find new ways to offer elaborate takes on what we believe to be out there among the stars. The franchise was rebooted on film a few years ago and now IDW Publishing is offering readers more in regards to that movie in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1. The issue is written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott, illustrated by Derek Charm and lettered by Neil Uyetake.

A bold new chapter begins here, in an all-new series that shows you what life is like for cadets at the galaxy's greatest school! Witness the student days of the iconic cast before they joined the Enterprise, immediately before the blockbuster 2009 film. Plus, meet an all-new group of students as they embark on bold new adventures of their own.

The Star Trek reboot was a pretty big hit and it breathed a ton of new life into a franchise that wasn't the freshest as of late. Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 taps into this revitalization, as Johnson and Parrott team up to give readers a look at the characters before they got "big." Their interactions are set against the backdrop of the more familiar characters and the story focuses instead on a scenario that makes Starfleet Academy tick. It's an interesting choice to focus the issue on T'Laan, a relative unknown when compared to the more familiar cast of characters, but it does give the book a unique angle. It's easy for tie-ins to get bogged down in the characteristics that made the movie so successful, so it's welcome that Johnson and Parrott chose the approach they did.

While Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 has a familiar cast of characters, Charm does a great job of making them easily recognizable. The characters look like their film counterparts while other characters look correct--that is, Vulcans looks like Vulcans for instance. Despite that, it's pretty clear that Charm focused more on making the familiar players look more familiar. Charm jumps back and forth between emptying the gutters and outlining the panels with black borders to filling the gutters with black and using white to outline the panels. The various approaches help give the book more of a space feel, offering pretty fantastic looking panoramas of the Academy and its surroundings.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 is setting up a pretty simple premise with new characters. The old players are dealing with something grander, while T'Laan and the new crew are dealing with Starfleet Academy issues. Johnson and Parrott balance the two sides well, not giving away too much when it comes to revealing to the reader where the story will go. Charm's artwork is clean and characters are defined by sharp, black lines. Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 is definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed the reboot of the franchise on film.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 is in stores now.


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