Star Trek: Deity (Part 1)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Tony Shasteen (internal and cover)
Colourist: Davide Mastrolonardo
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Sarah Gaydos
Story Consultant: Roberto Orci
Release Date: 05/08/2015
Warning: this review contains spoilers!
“PREVIOUSLY IN STAR TREK… After escaping from the trap set by the Tholians, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise has repaired the damage to the ship and resumed its five-year mission of discovery into uncharted regions of the Alpha Quadrant…” After arriving in the Banks-216 system, Kirk informs Sulu that he’ll be leading an away team with a stealthy prototype designed by Scotty to study a planets indigenous species, but as always, nothing really goes to plan.
Finally it seems that Kirk and Spock take a back seat in a Star Trek story which means we finally get to appreciate a bit of Sulu action. As supporting cast it’s not often we see Chekov, Uhura or Sulu take the lead so this makes a refreshing change. How will Sulu handle the pressure of an away mission after beaming down to the planet with his hand-picked away team? Hopefully we’ll get to see in issue 49 as this issue really only sets everything up which is to be expected in the first of a 2 part story. And obviously it wouldn’t be a Star Trek story if everything went smoothly and Scotty’s new invention worked perfectly! Suffice to say there may be trouble ahead, and I’m enjoying Mike Johnson set that trouble up! Once again a lack of McCoy though, however, as we’ve now got a Sulu story to enjoy I’m pretty sure McCoy will be back in the limelight soon enough.
Once again we have some brilliant art from the talented Tony Shasteen. Since ‘The Q Gambit’ previews appeared on the internet Shasteen’s art has just stood out, raising the bar for not only art in Star Trek comics but comic art in general. He is king of the likenesses and is a very consistent artist and once again his Kirk is on point. Saying that though, I do feel that for this issue, Mastrolonardo really dropped the ball. Although Shasteen’s line art has previously been seen to be coloured very darkly, this issue I feel it’s just too much. Too many dark tones and shading on nearly every page, making what is normally a light and exciting read seem overly heavy and dingy which is disappointing.
I’m also not sure if Shasteen or Johnson are aware of Warhammer 40K, but if you like it then you’re in for an arty treat. It might just be me but it seems this comic is laced with 40K art inspiration, from the slight washed out colouring (a painting style at Games Workshop), to dramatic capillary tower-like structures (Tyranid plants) and an alien side of beaky Tzeentch (think Lord of Change and you’re on the right track). The alien language was also a nice touch – will we be getting a universal translator in part 2 though? Even the alien weapons are stylized in Tzeentch form. So Tony Shasteen or Mike Johnson, is there something you want to tell us?!
Before the overly dark comic interior however, is the cover. Drawn by Shasteen this cover is nothing like the interior art. Coloured by Shasteen himself as opposed to Mastrolonardo, the colours seem clear, defined and vibrant and give a bright edge the interior is simply lacking. Another fantastic Shasteen cover. The photo cover for this issue is Simon Pegg’s Scotty, which seems appropriate for the story.
It’s always difficult to sum up the first of a 2 part comic story. Set up for the second part of the story is so important and Johnson has done a great job with this, not only with the main plot but in setting up a story with a rather unused and unappreciated character, which is refreshing in another universe still dominated with stories of Kirk and Spock. I want to know more, I want to see more and I can’t wait for part 2.