Star Trek: Alien Spotlight, vol. 1

alien-spotlight-tpbI’m not a trekkie. Despite the fact that I pride myself on my nerdiness, Star Trek has never caught my interest. I know details that have permeated pop culture consciousness and I saw the most recent Star Trek movie, but that’s about it. So I picked this book up to see whether it would be intelligible and/or interesting to the casual reader. And the answer is yes on both counts. The many stories in the book give it a nicely episodic nature, so rather than having to read and comprehend the full volume at once, one can take it in bite-sized chunks. The stories stand on their own, but also made me want to find out more about the larger Star Trek universe.

The stories are interestingly diverse. The first one is a simple tale about why shooting first and asking questions later can be bad, at least when it involves a reptilian species called the Gorn. The second is a story about why Vulcan logic can succeed when human emotion fails. The third (and one I liked best), focuses on a species called the Andorians and showcases the argument about why joining the Federation could be seen as a good thing for a race, but why, despite the positives, that race might not want to anyway or might want to break away; both sides offer compelling and well-written arguments. The fourth tale is a simple revenge story involving someone from Orion. The fifth story and final stories are about the Borg and Romulans respectively and basically demonstrate how evil each race is, while simultaneously showing its “human” side, which is tricky to do simultaneously. Tthe writers should be commended for pulling it off.

The art varies throughout the stories, but is suitable to each. Each artist seems to use it to highlight the nature of the race. The Borg story is minimalist and gritty, but that fits well for a cyborg collective. The Vulcans’ and Romulans’ stories contain the most realistic-looking art, which is appropriate, given how cold and logical they are. The way the art varies in each story really helps to sell the stories as varied parts of a larger universe, which therefore made the reading them that much more enjoyable.

This is very much a book for older teens. Between fairly graphic violence and blatant sex scenes keep this for 16-year-olds and over.

Whether or not you’re already Star Trek fan, this is well worth a read.

Star Trek: Alien Spotlight, vol. 1
Scott Tipton, David Tipton, Rick Remender, Paul Storrie, Andrew Steven Harris, and John Byrne
Art by David Messina, Josep Maria Beroy, Leonard O’Grady, Elena Casagrande, Sean Murphy, and John Byrne
ISBN: 978-160010179
IDW Publishing, 2008