Written by Mike Johnson
Art by Tony Shasteen
IDW, July/August 2016
The crew of the USS Enterprise find themselves on the USS Enterprise… but not the one they know…
To mark the finale of IDW’s first ongoing series of adventures featuring the crew of the Kelvinverse Enterprise, the team have pulled out all the stops, telling a parallel adventure of two USS Enterprises, two Jim Kirks, two Spocks, two McCoys… It’s a cliché but this really is a story that can only work as a comic book, with Shatner and Pine sharing a page, as do Nimoy and Quinto, Kelley and Urban etc. The conceit is simple but brilliant: the top half of the page is what’s happening in one reality, the bottom is what’s going on in the other, simultaneously. Kirk and his crew react to a situation exactly as you’d expect them to – as do Kirk and his crew…
The plot beats are the same, but the minor differences between the universes (the controls on the bridge, the shape of the table in the briefing room, certain advancements in technology) are key, and the dialogue is fractionally different, but in telling ways. I’m by no means the only person to feel that much of the most recent movie could have worked with Shatner, Nimoy et al and this comic just emphasizes how close the Kelvinverse characters have come to their forbears. There’s the odd key difference of course between them – as Prime Universe’s Uhura discovers – but as the final page shows, it’s what binds them that’s important.
Such a story could only work if the art was spot on, and it is. The likenesses are very strong: you know that it’s Pine’s Kirk on the Prime bridge, talking to Nimoy’s Spock, and Shatner’s Kirk with Quinto’s Vulcan – and the “looking in a mirror” moment comes off well. The body language of the different actors comes across; Urban vs. Kelley’s McCoy in Sickbay is a great example, or Koenig vs. Yelchin’s Chekovs at their consoles. It closes with a wonderful moment for both Jim Kirks – and a final tribute that may bring a lump to your throat.
Verdict: IDW’s Kelvinverse stories have had some weaker moments along the way, but this iteration of them is definitely going out on a high. 9/10