This graphic novel was released as a prequel to Star Trek (the 2009 movie remake) to explain the back story of how all the Star Trek characters we love and know are now re-booted in a different time line.
Nero is a hard-working miner who loves his wife and loves Romulus. When the Romulan high council won’t listen to his warnings about a possible impending supernova that could destroy Romulus, he joins forces with Ambassador Spock (Trekkies will know that at the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation Spock left Vulcan to join the Romulan underground movement to work for peace. If you’re not a Trekkie, the comic sums this up for you so you know why Spock is conveniently on Romulus). With the assistance of Starfleet’s Captain Data (again, Trekkies will know Data is an automaton, non-Trekkies get a quick intro.) they fly to Vulcan to beg the high council to share its secret for making Red Matter, a highly unstable compound that can be used to create a singularity, a black hole, that will consume the coming supernova. But the Vulcans are too wary of giving the technology to Romulus. After so many years of fighting, it is too hard to trust. In a Huff, Nero leaves to go back to Romulus in an attempt to save his pregnant wife , vowing to take his revenge on all of Vulcan if she dies. He is especially angry with Spock for leading him on what he sees as a wild goose chase that kept him from being with his wife.
The storyline and writing in this graphic novel are tight. Each character is introduced with a bare minimum of explanation. Just enough that if you are just discovering Star Trek you are not lost, but not so much that you bore old fans who already know who’s who. The story moves along briskly with lots of action coming from the time pressure to save Romulus before it is too late.
I am not a big fan of the style of the art. It reminds me of that movie A Scanner Darkly, where the images look like the artist painted on top of a picture. The art here has that same feel. I think some will appreciate the added level of accuracy that this adds (Data looks like Data). I find it a little distracting. But barring that, the art is wonderfully dark and foreboding with lots of close-ups of people with their face half in shadow.
Contains some non-bloody violence and dead bodies floating in space. No nudity.
Good for mature middle-schoolers and teens.
Star Trek Countdown
by J. J. Abrams, Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Tim Jones, Mike Johnson, David Messina
IDW Publishing, 2009