Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness
Written By: Roberto Orci, Mike Johnson
Illustrated by: David Messina, Marina Castelvetro, Claudia Scarletgothica
After the destruction of Vulcan, Spock must come to terms with who he is; luckily on the USS Enterprise there’s always something to distract, expecially on the way to the events of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Written by one of the writers of both JJ Abrams’ movies, Roberto Orci, Countdown to Darkness acts as a stop gap between both big screen adventures of the new crew of the Enterprise. And overall, it’s a distracting if flawed adventure. When the Enterprise visits what should be a still developing planet and encounters technology that rivals their own, Kirk and his crew must investigate, even though it puts them in direct violation of the Prime Directive which basically says they cannot interfere in a still-developing society, em, just like in the movie. But when they do interfere they find that a much bigger plot exists here and it already involves Star Fleet, or at least a part of it’s history, em, just like in the movie.
While the story reads well and the dialogue feels faithful to the characters we now know from the new movies, this does feel like it’s just an exercise to name drop – Peter Weller’s Marcus character from Into Darkness is name-checked, Mudd – from the Original series episode Mudd’s Women pops up, only here he’s a hot blonde(!) – and John Harrison makes a very brief appearance here too.
It also sets up much of what we see in the second movie – Spock and Uhura’s relationship issues over Spock’s determination to get put himself in danger, Spock’s struggle with his feelings as he develops friendships and – gasp – feelings, Spock and Kirk’s rocky relationship as their friendship develops despite all the odds and the notion that after the events of the first movie, Starfleet is no longer the near utopia that Gene Roddenberry had created but rather in the wake of Vulcan’s destruction it has become a post 9-11 metaphor as darkness lurks beneath the surface of this society – not so much ‘live long and prosper’ but more ‘trust no-one’.
And it reads ok, the story races along and it hints at the wider universe of this Trek and the art, while varying from nothing like the actors to spot on likeness from panel to panel, captures the look of new Trek and even throws in the odd camera flare too.
Overall it’s a distracting read but brings nothing to the table as everything it hints at in the underbelly of the story is developed and established perfectly well on the big screen without this added chapter.
If you love new Trek and just want more then it’s a worthwhile read but really it’s not essential to the JJ Abrams Trek experience.