Saturday, September 26, 2009

Comics Review : Star Trek Spock Reflections Issue 3

The covers: David Messina (with colors by Ilaria Traversi) is once again responsible for the "Non-Incentive" cover. It continues the pattern set from the previous two issues with an icon (this time thedelta shield) on the top half of the cover with a close-up of Spock below. It's (as usual) a nice picture of Spock, this time in his captain's togs. For the "Retailer Incentive Cover" David A. Williams (with colors by Moose Baumman) again takes the helm. It, too, is a nice picture of Spock, in the foreground, with Kirk to his left, both looking to the right, while under a 60s planetary sky. The art is good, but the colors really sell this piece. It's vibrant when compared to the general release cover. Overall grades: Both A.

The story: Spock has reached the point where he must changeships on his journey to Earth. His Saurian companion, thankfully, exits the series, only to set off Spock on his next "reflection" when he hears the word "home." Back to Vulcan goes the tale, where T'Pring appears. T'Pring has always been an unused resource of story possibilities and Scott & David Tipton have used her excellently. As shown in "Amok Time" T'Pring was an opinionated woman who knew what she wanted. Her conversation with Spock is neither curt nor pious, but pure Vulcan. As a human, I felt the pain that the human side of Spock must have felt at her words. This was an utterly fantastic moment set before the events of Star Trek The Motion Picture. With a change in ships, Spock next flashes to his first year under Kirk's command of the Enterprise. The reason why this memory occurs is apparent with its echoes to Wrath of Khan on Page 13. I really didn't care for what happened on Pages 14 through 18. Didn't hate it, just indifferent. I found no sympathy or connection for the supporting character. Its conclusion, however, was a kick to the gut from McCoy. I've never really felt that McCoy's ribbing of Spock was mean spirited; I've always enjoyed it. But given the present circumstances of Spock, it hurt me to read it. The final four pages reveal where Spock has been headed and who sent him the message to begin this trek. The execution of dialogue with art is moving. There are many possible characters to encounter as well as places for Spock to go, but I couldn't state with any certainty what's to come. The series could have ended with this issue and I would have been very satisfied with it. Still, two to go, though. I'm looking forward to more Vulcan introspection. Overall grade: A

The art:
Woof! This issue went through three people to come out. "Layouts by David Messina; Finishes by Federica Manfredi; Inks by Federica Manfredi and Arianna Florean." The book has the strong layout of Messina: Page 4 being the most recognizable (a full figure is introduced on one side of the page, while four panels continue the story). Another Messina layout is the transition between the first two panels on Page 7. The cross hatching behind Kirk on Page 11, panel four is also typical of Messina, though it might be due to either Manfredi or Florean (I'll have to go through some back issues to double check). With the finishes and inks by the two others, the characters don't look as angular as they do when Messina flies solo. It's neither better or worse, just different. T'Pring is very soft and sleek, with her intense stare on Page 6, panel three positively riveting. I loved that whenever she shared a panel with Spock she had to look up to him. Cool! It was also interesting to see the newest movie's version of Vulcan be the background for both of these classic characters. The pilot of the new shuttle had me wondering if Captain Rixx had a brother. Kirk's likeness does get a little troublesome on Page 11: four different shots, with each Kirk mildly different from the other. On close-ups (Page 13, panel two) it's rock solid, though in the panel underneath it's very Tom Strong-ish. The final four pages are gold, with the third panel on Page 21 a heartbreaker. Overall grade: B+

The colors: "Ilaria Traversi; Color Assist by Chiara Cinabro of 2B Studio." The dark blues and greens of Deep Space Station E-5 melt into the cool browns and whites of Vulcan. Thankfully, T'Pring's dress brings some emotion to the page. The second reflection story is really darkly colored. It was dim enough for me to actually expect Scotty to come onto the bridge, go to his station, flick some switches, have the setting lighten, and state, "I fixed the lights, cap'n." I think this darkness was a contributing factor towards my blase feelings for this episode. The final four pages had me almost forgiving the final flashback with the gorgeously done sky. The coloring on Spock's face on these pages was also exceptional. Overall grade: B

The letters: Robbie Robbins continues from the previous issue with only one sound effect on Page 1 to stand apart from all the narration and dialogue. Competent job. Overall grade: A

The final line: Some dialogue in panel eight of Page 8 suggests one "secret" that has yet to be revealed. As I stated earlier, the series could have finished here and I would have been very satisfied. More to come? That's just gravy on top! Overall grade: A-