Star Trek: Ongoing – Issues #55-58
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Tony Shasteen
Colourist: Davide Mastrolonardo
Letterer: Neil Uyetake, AndWorld Design
Covers By: Various
Edited By: Sarah Gaydos, Ted Adams
Story Consultant: Roberto Orci
Released Monthly From: 02/03/16 – 07/06/16
Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers!
This arc consists of issues 55-58 of the Star Trek Ongoing Comic
The fate of the Vulcan people hangs in the balance as Spock tries to prevent all-out war with the Romulan Empire. Will the Vulcan’s find a new homeworld on which to rebuild their civilization…or does this spell the end for their species?
An all-new story set in the universe of the new Star Trek films celebrating the life of the most iconic character of them all: Leonard Nimoy’s Spock.
This emotional story starts in the immediate aftermath of Star Trek ’09 with Spock Prime’s farewell with the alternate younger self and follows his attempts to work with the remaining Vulcan population to establish a colony after their world’s destruction by Nero. His efforts are thwarted by the fact that the Vulcan survivors know that he was from the same timeline as Nero and consider him responsible, at least in part for what happened.
I loved the way Johnson handled the meeting between Spock Prime and his father’s Kelvin Timeline counterpart – Sarek. The scenes in which they interact are deliciously written and begs the question “Why did we not see this in the movie?!”
There’s a quote from Spock in issue #55; “It is most curious to walk the same paths I walked so many years ago. So many decades ago. I have my arrival in this alternate timeline to thank for the opportunity, and although there are surface details that differ, the spirit of the place remains the same. I have no doubt it will thrive as it did in my time, and I suppose in a sense I will still be here to witness it”
You can imagine that these are not only Spock’s feelings toward this new place he’s found himself but also Johnson and fellow Star Trek fan’s feelings toward the Kelvin Timeline. They certainly echo my own. This is as Meta as Johnson’s Star Trek scripts have gotten so far and this was the perfect story in which to do so.
Johnson nails Spock’s voice perfectly and it’s easy to hear Nimoy’s voice while reading the book.
I loved the little nuggets to classic TOS episodes and the way Johnson used Spock’s memories of the way things used to be and the people he used to know to gain new standing in this timeline, very cleverly done.
Without giving too much away, I loved the villains of the piece also as their inclusion not only puts them on an even keel as Spock (they also come from Prime Earth and as such have knowledge of an alternate future) but it also answers a thread long dropped in the films – That Nero and his crew were imprisoned and tortured by the Klingons for decades before Spock Prime came through to the new timeline.
Just because it is part of the ongoing series does not mean it feels any less important than the recent separate series Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War or Star Trek: Manifest Destiny. The Legacy of Spock is just as much an ‘event’ as those titles and along with The Q Gambit is a quality showcase for just how epic the ongoing series has gotten and the rate at which Johnson is telling truly quality Star Trek stories..
Since Tony Shasteen took over art duties on the main Star Trek Ongoing, fans have been treated to some of the best artwork the franchise has ever seen in comics. When I say that his work on ‘Legacy of Spock’ is potentially the best we’ve seen of his so far, I do not say it lightly. The art on these four issues are absolutely incredible with every panel filled with such respect for the character of Spock you can’t help but marvel at it. The likeness Shasteen manages to convey of Nimoy, through his ages is astonishingly uncanny. Not only does Shasteen do the interiors for this story but also the main covers for the arc, each one as effortlessly rendered as the last.
Kudos also must go to colourist Davide Mastrolonardo whose colours complement Shasteen’s art perfectly. I loved the way the colours changed from the sombre tones of Spock’s journeys in the Kelvin Timeline to the bright shades used while Spock reminisces of his past. The palette change is not jarring at all as not only does the choice make perfect sense (The Original Series does use bright colours) but also is the perfect way to reflect to readers Spock’s feelings at that time without being told outright (he is Vulcan after all).
A pat on the back must also be given to IDW for including Mastrolonardo’s name on the covers. The colourist contributes just as much to the impact of a story as the rest of the creative team and I hope this sets a president for not only future Star Trek comics, but for comic covers in general.
Practically impossible to pick a favourite panel from four issues of Shasteen magic but I have to pick the final five pages of issue #58. The sequence is a tribute in every sense of the word and through it, in the light of Nimoy’s passing, the creative team are allowing fans to say goodbye to Spock. We’ve seen the respectful way Star Trek Beyond payed tribute to Nimoy and his iconic character and the Legacy of Spock handles a goodbye with every inch of class the recently released film did. I believe Nimoy would’ve been proud.
Here are my picks for my favourites of the covers released for each issue:
My pick for the best cover for the first issue in the arc goes to the incredible JK Woodward for his stunning subscription variant cover. This beautiful painted image shows us the face of Spock Prime with Vulcan’s search for a new home in the background. It really is a perfect representation of the older Spock we came to know in the rebooted films and was clearly a labour of love for Woodward. Bravo!
For me the main cover by Tony Shasteen was the clear choice. It depicts Spock, Kirk and McCoy in their Prime Universe incarnations standing against the saucer section of the Enterprise which we see from a birds eye view. The likenesses are absolutely spot on and depicts Nimoy, Shatner and Kelley as they were in The Original Series perfectly.
My pick for this issue was the subscription variant effort by Angel Hernandez. I enjoyed his work on Star Trek: Manifest Destiny and I do so here, it depicts Spock Prime and the two Romulan survivors of Nero’s crew against the backdrop of the destruction of the planet Vulcan. It’s a haunting image when you consider Spock’s mother from this alternate timeline was on the planet that day. It’s also stunningly coloured with the light of the explosion lighting the other characters to excellent effect.
The choice for this issue was also a clear one, and goes to the classy affair that is Tony Shasteen’s main cover. It depicts the face of Spock carved into three portions each showcasing an era of the characters life. The left side of his face is Nimoy as he was during the Original Series. The middle section depicts Spock as he was during TOS’s movie years and finally the right side of his face renders Spock as we came to know him in the Kelvin Timeline. Put all the sections together and you get a complete picture of Nimoy as Spock in all his various guises. It really is a breath-taking image and a fitting tribute to everyone’s favourite Vulcan and the actor who portrayed him for the best part of five decades.
The Legacy of Spock is gripping from start to finish. Johnson & Shasteen are clearly working perfectly in sync and are playing to each other’s strengths brilliantly. Not only is it another feather in the cap for the creative team who have given us consistently brilliant stories in the anniversary year but it is also a brilliantly fitting tribute to Leonard Nimoy and his legendary character.