STAR TREK: PICARD – COUNTDOWN (2019) #1 review

Star Trek: Picard - Countdown (IDW Publishing)

You can pickup your copy of Star Trek: Picard – Countdown #1 now where all good comics are sold!

Synopsis

You’ve seen the trailer… now, witness the events leading to CBS All Access’s Picard. Before he retired to his vineyard, Jean-Luc Picard was the most decorated admiral in Starfleet. Then one mission changed his life forever. The Countdown starts here!

Review

Easily the most anticipated TV event of 2020, Star Trek: Picard is getting the comic book treatment in order to catch the audience up on what’s been going on since we last saw the character.

IDW has been doing some excellent work with the Trek universe of late so I was excited to see how they would handle the legend of Jean-Luc Picard and his transition in to a more contemporary Trek world.

Over the decades Picard has been tied very closely to two major alien species within the universe. First and foremost: the Borg and secondly the Romulans. When we last saw the Captain (now Admiral) in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis he was staring down the barrel of a Romulan disaster in the form of his own clone, Shinzon (played by a young Tom Hardy).

In 2009’s Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams, we know that Romulus was destroyed and this is what sent Nero (Eric Bana) back in time and created what we now know as the Kelvin Timeline.

Where we find Picard at the beginning of this issue, Romulus is facing a similar apocalyptic event. Picard and the crew of the USS Verity are helping to evacuate populated words in the sector in order to ensure the future of the species.

There’s a handy cameo from Geordie LaForge to remind readers of The Next Generation, something which the TV series is set to steer away from. The idea of cameos from former characters is much less intrusive in the comic, it could be argued this is loosely cannon but also with only a fraction of the potential TV audience reading it doesn’t have as larger impact on the narrative.

It feels very much in the vein of how each of the Star Trek TV series would pass the baton to the next during their pilot episode. This is particularly poignant when the next scene introduces us to Lieutenant Commander Raffi Musiker. If that name sounds familiar to you that is because Raffi will appear in the TV series, played by Michelle Hurd.

When we attended the Star Trek Universe panel at NYCC earlier in the year the cast and crew kept quiet on Raffi’s relationship to Picard. But here we learn that she is his first officer on the Verity.

This level of detail, informing the reader about characters we have yet to meet in live-action, is peppered throughout the issue and is excellently done. There’s nothing heavy-handed about the storytelling which is impressive for a TV series tie-in book.

Instead Countdown is as measured as its lead character. Story beats are well planned and the caper unfolds at a very pleasing pace without reliance on legacy characters for shocking plot twists or unnecessary exposition.

Kristen Beyer and Mike Johnson brilliantly set up an intriguing story with a palpable understanding for the fact this is only a three-issue mini series. It’s not overly complex but conversely isn’t too simple to hold the readers attention.

Angel Hernandez’s artwork also perfectly toes the line between attempting to recreate actors likenesses and evoking the personality of the character through more unique visuals. There’s a strong likeness for Patrick Stewart and other characters, particularly LaForge are easily recognisable.

Scenes in space are typically murky and the ship designs will be familiar to fans of the franchise. The alien worlds glimpsed in this issue are immersive and representative of what fans of IDW’s Star Trek books will come to have expected.

Verdict

Countdown #1 is as measured as its lead character: distinguished, refined and entertaining to end.

8/10

Star Trek: Picard – Countdown #1 is written by Kirsten Beyer & Mike Johnson with art by Angel Hernandez, colours by Joana Lafuente and letters by Neil Uyetake. Cover art is by Michael Pangrazio.

Star Trek: Picard – Countdown #1 cover art by Michael Pangrazio

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About Neil Vagg 4080 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG