By Leroy Douresseaux
September 14, 2006 - 16:16
STAR TREK: THE MANGA: SHINSEI/SHINSEI
“Side Effects” by Chris Dows and Makoto Nakatsuka
“Anything but Alone” by Joshua Ortega and Gregory Giovanni Johnson
“’Til Death by Mike W. Barr and Jeong Mo Yang
“Oban” by Jim Alexander and Michael Shelfer
“Orphans” by Rob Tokar and EJ Su
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the venerable, much-loved television series, “Star Trek,” which debuted Friday, September 8, 1996 on NBC, TOKYOPOP and CBS Studios, Inc. joined forces to produce Star Trek: the manga – Shinsei/Shinsei. I have to gush and say that this is one of my favorite American-produced manga, and these are to date the best Star Trek comics I’ve read.
Star Trek: the manga is an anthology of five stories, all of them set in the universe of what fans now refer to as Star Trek: The Original Series or ST: TOS. Each story captures the essence and feel of the original episodes, even the one in which east meets west – Star Trek meets mech, Rob Tokar and EJ Su’s “Orphans.” The art in this volume is in the style of either anime or manga, especially the opening tale, Chris Dow and Makoto Nakatsuka’s “Side Effects.” Some of Nakatsuka’s tech and machinery looks like it hopped over from Akira, in this tale of theoretical physics and sentient beings used as lab rats.
The anthology’s fourth tale, Jim Alexander and Michael Shelfer’s “Oban,” about a genetically created pet used as a stealth doomsday weapon, couldn’t have been an episode of the original series because the kind of SFX needed weren’t available (except maybe puppetry or stop-motion), but it would have made a good episode of the old Star Trek animated series. As a bonus, Star Trek: the manga includes an excerpt from the forthcoming Star Trek prose anthology book, Constellations, a story by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore entitled “First, Do No Harm.” All in all, this is good stuff – good enough to be a must have in the collection of any Star Trek reader.
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