I recently read STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN, the movie prequel comic, and I have to say it was downright awesome. I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a comic in quite a while. The story really enriches the movie by telling you “Where One Man Has Gone Before!” That one man is of course Spock.
Before I get into the comic let me say a few things about he movie. Now, if you haven’t seen the movie then don’t read any further. See the movie first and then come back. I’ll wait.
The greatest thing about the new Star Trek film is that everything we’ve seen throughout the various television series (with the possible exception of Enterprise) is still valid and true. That Star Trek universe still exists. The new movie is an alternate universe directly created by the events in this prequel story. I thought it was a brilliant way of rebooting the franchise, allowing the creators to focus on the essence of the original crew members while being free to go in any direction they want with it (Spock’s mother dying, Vulcan destroyed).
One of the few things I didn’t like about the new movie was the tattooed Romulans and their ridiculous looking ship, the Narada. But the comic provides a reasonable explanation for these things as well and really fleshing out the Nero character (who was somewhat two-dimensional in the film) and his motivations.
The prequel is divided into four chapters. In chapter one we encounter Nero on one of his mining expeditions. Here’s the cool thing: he has hair and his ship has some semblance of Romulan design. Already we’re off to a good start. The art by David Messina is excellent and he really captures the likenesses of the key characters well, which is very important in a Star Trek comic.
Nero experiences first hand an early flare-up of the Hobus system’s sun, which is about to go supernova. Next, we see Spock address the Romulan Senate, doing his best Jor-El impersonation and like Jor-El no one is taking his claims about the Hobus sun seriously enough. We learn that the unification movement is now starting to impact Romulan society and that Spock is now a legal resident of Romulus. Most of the leading Romulans still don’t trust him and they really get upset when he suggests that Vulcan technology is the only thing that can save the Romulan Empire. Nero, who mines the ore (decalithium) which is processed to make the “red matter” used by the Vulcan technology, throws in his support for Spock’s claims about the sun. Nero, against the Romulan Senate, agrees to help Spock get some decalithium and transport it to Vulcan. However, the Narada is attacked by Remans (the ugly Romulans from Nemesis) while getting the ore, the USS Enterprise arrives just in time to help out. Her captain? Data.