Star Trek: Reunion (Part one of two)ST_53-pr-page-001
Published by: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Tony Shasteen
Colourist: David Mastrolonardo
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Cover by: Tony Shasteen (Standard) and Cat Staggs (Sub)
Edited by: Sarah Gaydos
Story Consultant: Roberto Orci

Release Date: 13/01/2016

Warning:  this review contains spoilers.

Overview:

“Previously in Star Trek:

The crew of the Enterprise found themselves face to face with their doppelgängers in a Mirror Universe. They escaped with help from the Augmented human Singh, and have resumed course on their Five-Year Mission of Exploration….”

Looking at one of the characters first seen in Star Trek 2009 we discover how Gaila and her brother Kai became first Orions to join Starfleet while escaping a life of forced marriage and servitude. However, their past cannot escape them as the Enterprise faces off with a renegade faction of Orions who will stop at nothing to get what they want. While for Gaila and Kai, a reunion awaits them….

The Story:

Considering we only saw the character of Gaila briefly in the 2009 film it was a surprise to find there was going to be a two part story involving her character. The story moves at a fast pace and the first part packs a lot into it. Sometimes origin stories can be quite slow and tedious but Mike Johnson has a chosen a really good character to write about. The Orions have an interesting culture, one we only began to see in Enterprise and Johnson has taken those cultural differences and used them to show how Gaila and her family defied them and made a life for themselves.

The use of flashbacks were not overused and helped moved the origin story along without taking anything away from events happening aboard the Enterprise. It was also nice to see that Gaila and Kai were united and not at odds with each other, a plot device that is often overused. It will be interesting to see how Gaila and Kai work together to get out of their current predicament, hopefully it will not be left to Kirk to save the day.

While the main cast of characters (with some missing completely) are in the background for most of the issue the moment when Kirk and Gaila were reunited after their brief encounter in Star Trek 2009  was well written and very funny. The line where Uhura says she was taking no pleasure out of their discomfort made me laugh and was again shows how well Johnson knows the characters.

An ongoing theme throughout the ongoing series has been Kirk becoming comfortable with command and himself. Within the issue Kirk is talking to Captain Campbell from the Tereshkova who voices the concerns we all had after the 2009 film that Kirk was too young to take command but after recent events she feels that he is the right man to command Enterprise and other captains think the same. I enjoying seeing how Johnson continues to grow the character before we reach Star Trek Beyond.

The Art:

From the flashbacks scenes at the beginning where we are introduced to the Orions and the Pacari to the dramatic escape of Gaila and Kai, Tony has excelled in bringing the story to life. Whether we have space battles or fire fights on floating cities Tony knows how to draw action scenes and we are treated to both within this issue. The design of the Starship Tereshkova was good; it was similar to the Kelvin which we saw in Star Trek 2009 and as always the Enterprise looks magnificent.

The likenesses of the main characters were consistent and those of Rachel Nichols were pretty good throughout the issue. I did chuckle seeing Orions on Earth wearing modern day clothes and flip flops with the America style fridge in the background. Throughout the issue the background details are again what we would expect from Tony with the bridge of the Enterprise looking most impressive and the lounge area of the Tereshkova reminded me of Ten Forward from The Next Generation. The Orion ships reminded me of Stargate’s from SG1 and the Orion’s themselves were drawn well.

The standout panels for me were the opening pages where we are introduced to young Gaila and the Enterprise and Tereshkova being surrounded by the Orion fleet. The colouring in this issue is also of a high standard, the story moves from Orion to deep space to Earth and in each instance the colours have brought to life Shasteen’s art.

The Covers:

The standard cover is drawn by Shasteen and features Kirk, Gaila and Kai on the cover with a star field and design drawing of Enterprise in the background. However, the Enterprise looks like the Original Series version. Of course there is a lot of green on the cover but the colours work really well. The likenesses of Pine and Rachel Nichols (who played Gaila in Star Trek 2009) are spot on and are what you would expect from a Shasteen cover.  This is a really good cover by Shasteen and for me highlights how good an artist he is.

The subscription cover is by Catt Staggs and is simply of Gaila and Kai with the Enterprise in warp. The likeness of Nichols is not as good as the standard cover but it’s still a likable cover and the essence of the cover is a sister and brother standing together. I hope that we will see more of Stagg’s work on the covers over the coming year.

Overall:

This was an enjoyable first part that left you wanting more. Mike Johnson has taken a character who has only been seen for a few minutes in the first film and gave them an interesting origin story which hopefully will continue past this two part story. The art by Tony Shasteen continues to impress and I’m eagerly awaiting the concluding part.