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Comic Review: Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #2
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Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #2

Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #2
Story by Roberto Orci & Mike Johnson
Script by Mike Johnson
Art by David Messina
Ink Assist by Marina Castelvetro
Colors by Claudia Scarletgothica
Letters by Chris Mowry
IDW Publishing
Release date: February 20, 2013
Cover price: $3.99

I am super-excited to see Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, when it comes to theaters this May. But before we can head into darkness, first we must “countdown.” As with the first film, IDW Publishing is doing a 4-issue prequel comic book miniseries, this time called Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness.

Details about Star Trek Into Darkness have been scarce so far, and ever since the sequel was first announced, fan have been looking for any clues they could find of the appearance of famed Star Trek villain Khan Noonien Singh in the follow-up. The reveal in Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #1 of an existing character who’s new to the rebooted Trek universe fueled the fire of that speculation. Now, with Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #2 we find out a little more about this character and his motivation.

The U.S.S. Enterprise crew is on a mission to survey Phaedus IV, a planet on the edge of space exploration. Since Phaedus IV is listed as a planet for which the Federation has never made contact, Captain Kirk and his crew are there just to observe, but once they’re hovering above the planet, they pick up high-energy transmissions disrupting their ship’s signals and equipment. So, Kirk and Spock, who are novices to space exploration in the rebooted universe and are both dealing with some inner conflicts, lead an away mission to the surface of the planet to figure out what’s going on. When they arrive, they’re surprised to meet the aforementioned existing character, who was presumed dead long ago.

If you’ve read Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #1, then you know that this reintroduced charactered is Robert April, who commanded the U.S.S. Enterprise before Captain Pike and was only seen onscreen in Star Trek: The Animated Series. In Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #2, we learn of the warring factions on Phaedus IV and what April is doing there. How April fits into Star Trek Into Darkness has yet to be fully revealed, but the last name of his former first officer will set off a red flag to Trek fans and provides a clue for the movie. I’m guessing April won’t make it out of this prequel miniseries, which would be unfortunate because Countdown To Darkness has already made him an intriguing character.

As for the crew back aboard the Enterprise, there’s not much for them to do in this issue as they wait for the away team’s return. With their communications jammed and the transporters disrupted, they’ve sitting ducks in space, hovering blindly above a planet they have no clue is in the midst of a civil war. What will Uhura, Scotty, Bones, and Chekov do? (Sulu was part of the away team.) As far as they know, the inhabitants of Phaedus IV have never encountered beings from outside their world and the planet is classified as not ready for First Contact, so thanks to the Prime Directive, the Starfleet officers are not supposed to let their presence be known. Though the crew members don’t see any action, we get to see how they interact and the dynamics among them as they debate what to do next. This is important because it’s the first time we’re really seeing them in an official capacity without true leadership. Also, Lt. Uhura has the conn for the time being, which is something we never get to see unless every male on the ship is away or incapacitated, but this rebooted universe is apparently more progressive than the original one, created in the 1960s. While the gang is waiting around bickering, they spot an approaching vessel and once again, Trek fans will recognize another name that’s introduced.

The story for this miniseries was conceived by Roberto Orci, co-writer on Star Trek and its upcoming sequel, so there’s probably even more tidbits here than we even know about yet. Mike Johnson, who came up with the story with Orci and does the writing for the miniseries, is so far doing a perfect job with dialogue and pacing. And although Phaedus IV is a new planet, artist David Messina’s work makes us feel like it belongs in the Trek universe. By the time you’re done with Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #2, you will be itching for me, just like me!

Jump onto the series with Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness #1 and be sure to get issue #3 when it’s released on March 20.

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