Star Trek: Countdown - The Novel
By Andy Frisk
May 11, 2009 - 18:53

IDW Publishing
Writer(s): Mike Johnson and Tim Jones
Penciller(s): David Messina
Inker(s): David Messina
Colourist(s): Giovanna Niro
Letterer(s): Chris Mowry, Robert Robbins and Neil Uyetake
ISBN: 978-1-60010-420-6
$17.99 US

Romulus is in grave danger of being destroyed by a supernova and Spock, now the Federation Ambassador to Romulus, who hasn’t been seen since the undertaking of his mission to work for change and tolerance in the Romulan underground, has a plan to save Romulus.  Nero, Captain of The Narada, a Romulan mining ship, in defiance of the Romulan Senate, decides to help Spock execute his plan to save Romulus.  When their efforts fail, Nero turns bitterly against Spock, The Federation and Vulcan, Spock’s home world, with disastrous consequences.



Star Trek: Countdown is a great prequel to the feature film Star Trek which opened on May 7th, 2009 revitalizing the Star Trek Mythos.  Countdown isn’t just a great read for its tantalizing hints at the movie’s upcoming events but is a great read because it accurately, reverently and very wisely, from a marketing point of view, focuses on and utilizes five of the all time most popular Star Trek characters, one of which is, arguably, THE most popular character of the entire mythos, Spock. Ambassador Picard (formerly Captain Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise), Captain Data of the U.S.S. Enterprise (formerly Commander Data under Picard), Starship Designer Gerodi La Forge (formerly Chief Engineer of The U.S.S. Enterprise), and General Worf of the Klingon Empire (formerly Commander and Chief Security Officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise) also appear.  All five of these characters, four of which hail from the most successful Star Trek series of them all, play pivotal roles in the events leading up to the film.  To detail these events would spoil the events of the film, but a look at some interesting revelations about the history, backgrounds or details on ships, dress, etc explained in Countdown will do nothing but enhance the film watching experience.


In Countdown we learn that Data was “resurrected” by an imprinting of his neural nets onto B-4’s “existing program.”  B-4 being the android body that survived the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, unlike Commander Data himself.  While this revelation isn’t necessarily revelatory of anything particular in Star Trek the film, it does goes a long way to appeasing Next Generation fans who lamented Data’s “death” at the end of Nemesis and creates  bond between Spock and Data since they “share a unique experience.”  Spock himself was “resurrected” at one point in the past.  We further learn that Nero’s ship, The Narada, was retrofitted and upgraded with Borg and Romulan secret technology thus attributing to it its fearsome look and extended power and capabilities it exhibits in the film.  It is revealed that Spock’s ship, which in Countdown is referred to as “The Jellyfish” is a unique design of none other than Geordi La Forge (way cool if you as this Next Generation fan) and just what Spock was up to on Romulus all these years.  Perhaps most interestingly we learn the reasoning behind Nero’s and his crew’s facial markings and their relevance.


The most satisfying aspect of Countdown for me and for thousands of Next Generation fans is a look at very plausible futures for our old favorite members.  Picard as an Ambassador, Data as Captain of the Enterprise, and Worf as a General in the Klingon Armada are all logical destinies for these great characters.  Also, we get to gaze at and see in action again one of the most impressive and beautifully designed Federation Starships, the NCC 1701 E.



David Messina does a great job of capturing the visual image of the Enterprise E with enough accuracy that one can easily bring to mind what it looked like the last time we saw it on screen.  He also does a very good job of capturing the likenesses of Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Leonard Nimoy and Eric Bana to name a few.  While their faces are not very expressive throughout the work, perhaps because Messina, to capture their likenesses really had to maintain portrait like stillness in his renderings of them, you definitely recognize the characters as if you’re looking at a photograph of them.  He also accurately and with great detail captures the Vulcan Science Council’s Hall, Vulcan and Romulus’ architecture and environment, as well as the ships, including Enterprise, Narada, the Klingon Birds of Prey, and the Starfleet Medical Frigates.


Overall, Star Trek: Countdown is a very enjoyable read for Star Trek fans and will no doubt enrich Star Trek as a movie watching experience.  It also stands well on its own for giving all the Next Generation fans another glimpse at their beloved characters and favorite Starship.  Highly recommended.


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Rating: 10/10

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