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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Monday, June 8, 2009

Star Trek Countdown

My interest in Star Trek comes and goes. When I saw a TV ad for the new Trek movie, it hit me that I hadn't seen the last few Trek movies and that I could not even recall exactly how many movies that was. Nothing in the ad caught my interest; I figured it'd be another Trek movie I didn't see. Then, for no particular reason, I grabbed Star Trek Countdown [IDW; $17.99] off the review pile and decided to read it. How illogical of me.

Countdown reprints the four-issue series of the same name. It's an "exclusive graphic novel prequel" to the new movie, which threw me for a moment because the new film is set before the original Star Trek TV series and this prequel features Spock, Data, Picard, Worf, and other characters. It clearly takes place years after the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A quick glance at Wikipedia revealing the villain of the new movie is from the "future" eased my confusion.

Countdown is written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones from a story by the movie's writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It's a great big story with lots of action and human drama and there's not much I can say in the way of specifics without giving away stuff I would rather not give away. The characters I know from past Trek shows and stories are handled very well. The new characters are an intriguing bunch. The story overall is a page-turner. It's a solid Star Trek adventure on all counts.

Artist David Messina did a fine job with the storytelling and the likenesses. There's an occasional stiffness when he closes in on some character we know from TV and tries maybe a little too hard to get the image right - perhaps too much reliance on some bit of photo reference - but it's fleeting. The coloring's a little dark for my taste, though not unacceptably so.

Star Trek Countdown is a must-read tale for Star Trek devotees and a recommended read for less avid fans. It even changed my mind about seeing the new movie and thus earns an impressive four out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

******

ADDENDUM

I saw the new Star Trek the second week of its release and, like the majority of you who have voted on our current Tony Polls, I liked it a great deal. The movie offers a fresh new canvas for the future adventures of the legendary original crew and does so without eliminating the Trek tales that have gone before. I used to joke that I wanted to see Trek relaunched with younger, better actors - a joke manifestly unfair to the fine actors of the original series - and this film's players are, for the most part, almost as good as the originals. But not always.

The new Uhura may be gorgeous, but I didn't think either the actress or the portrayal of the character was good. Uhura was not much more than Spock's uncomfortable romance and Kirk's unrequited lust-bunny. This is unconscionable in a film that only gives screen time to four women: the green-skinned eye candy, Spock's mother, Kirk's mother, and Uhura. Is this future really devoid of positive female role models?

My second quibble. The new Chekov is even more of a caricature than the original. He was painful to watch.

However, even with these shortcomings, Star Trek was a fun film. Not a classic of the science fiction genre by any means, but an entertaining evening at the movies.

On a related note...

Today is your last day to vote on the Tony Polls that ask you to rate four recent genre films:

Star Trek
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Terminator Salvation
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

You can cast your votes here:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

There will be new questions posted tomorrow.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 06/05/2009 | 06/08/2009 | 06/09/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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