Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Star Trek: Crew

Comics legend John Byrne has become one of the mainstays of IDW's Star Trek comics, and I'm coming around to the idea that that's a good thing. Though I haven't been crazy about some of his Romulan stuff, the Assignment: Earth miniseries was a fun read, and I really enjoyed Crew, too.

Crew is a prequel to the original series, featuring Number One from "The Cage" at several points in her career leading up to that episode. It's a great idea, and one that should appeal to fans of the Star Trek: Early Voyages comic that Marvel produced a few years back and IDW reprinted this year in trade paperback.

Crew has a very deliberately retro feel; this could have come from the 1960s in some respects. This isn't the familiar and well-explored galaxy of modern Trek, it's a place with a lot of dark, unexplored corners. There's even what may be a reference to Forbidden Planet, with an image of a colonists' graveyard on a hillside. There's also some nice use of continuity -- when Number One arrives on the Enterprise, Bob and Sarah April are the captain and chief medical officer, and Christopher Pike and Spock are new arrivals as well. Unlike Early Voyages, which gave Number One the name Robbins, Crew doesn't name its protagonist, but it doesn't try to come up with a silly rationalization about Number One being her name, either. There's also some continuity with Byrne's Past Trek comics: one story is a sequel to one of his Assignment: Earth stories.

If there's any downside, it's the high body count (a lot of people get killed in the course of these stories), and the fact that two stories feature impostors posing as crew members. Overall, though, I really enjoyed it, and strongly recommend it, especially to old school original series fans. John Byrne fans will also enjoy the bonus features: original black and white artwork for one issue and a cover gallery featuring black and white and finished versions of the covers.


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