Friday, January 15, 2010

Comics Review : Star Trek Captain's Log : Sulu Issue 1

The covers: David Messina (with colors by Giovanna Niro) provides the Regular cover of Captain Sulu standing in front of some samurai armor. Not a great likeness, but it's a decent shot. The Retailer Incentive Photo Cover is George in the captain's seat. I keep waiting for him to spin around and ask, "Praxis?!" This is a cover I have to possess! Overall grade: Regular B+ and "RIPC" A+

The story:
Scot & David Tipton (IDW, give them a monthly Trek title already!) provide Hikaru with an interesting situation: the Excelsior must cool down a diplomatic situation involving the Tholians. Tholians?!? YES! Before the plot begins, however, there is a nice bit of foreshadowing with Sulu and his first officer involved in an activity that I expected to see Jean Luc Picard be revealed. There's a nice condensed version of "The Tholian Web" to alert readers old and new what the crew's fate could be. I was very happy to get my favorite Sulu line (Page 13), though his thunder is stolen in panel two, Page 15. As expected, dealing with the Tholians does not go as planned (DUH!), and Sulu comes up with a solution that bookends the issue neatly. This is not an action story, but a strategic story to prevent a battle. The joy of this tale comes from Sulu solving a problem in a way unique to him, one that is very different from Kirk, Picard, Sisko... I haven't read/seen Sulu solving a situation in this way and I'd like to read more. Overall grade: A-

The art:
Frederica ManFredi does a decent job on the art. The layout is very smooth, and she is a better than average artist in moving the reader's eyes with different angles, Page 4 being a great example. Her exterior shots are also good. Her bridge scenes are also highly detailed. The Tholians are obviously a screen capture, but I don't know how else to have them done effectively, because back in the DC Trek days when they were drawn they always looked like Gumby super villains. ManFredi's interpretation of Sulu is not great, and made me wonder about the stardate: for example, Page 3, panel two, not bad -- Sulu's got some age, but two of the bottom panels on the same page have him losing 15-20 years. Sulu's thoughtful panels on Page 17 made me wonder if grandpa fell asleep. And Janice on Page 21 -- ouch! So the likenesses aren't the greatest, but at no time did I not know who the characters were supposed to be, which lesser artists have had problems with. Again, decent work. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Andrea Priorini, with an assist by Chiara Cinabro, does a great job. The red rust uniforms with the blues, silvers, and browns of the Excelsior's interiors are gorgeous. Priorini and Cinabro really show their skills in shading the faces of the characters to have dramatic reveals (Page 3, panel 2) or shock (Page 16, panel 4). Both are at the top of their game. Overall grade: A

The letters:
Neil Uyetake provides dialogue and an acceleration sound and a ZOOOM. I liked the zoom, but the acceleration made me think of Indiana Jones because of its style and coloring. Overall grade: A

The final line:
Not an action packed story but an entertaining puzzle to solve before it detonates. A good introduction to the Captain's Log series. If the art was a titch better, I'd be raving, though I'm still satisfied. Overall grade: B+


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