Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Celeste Bronfman
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Release Date: 8th December 2021
Packed full of bizarre contrivances and unconvincingly manufactured set-pieces, Celeste Bronfman’s narrative for this =one-shot set in the Mirror Universe of The Next Generation arguably won’t land with fans of Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction franchise anywhere near as well as the mini-series’ central title. Indeed, apart from supposedly returning Data and Reginald Barclay to “peak operating efficiency”, it’s hard to see just how this particular twenty-page periodical progresses the year-long event’s overall storyline.
True, the comic does open with the crew of the I.S.S. Enterprise suddenly seeming to have acquired a Romulan cloaking device from a recent ‘off-screen’ mission, and such stealth technology will clearly be of enormous benefit to Jean-Luc Picard’s plan to become the sovereign ruler of the Terran Empire. But the lack of its acquisition’s coverage within the book is definitely one of this publication’s biggest disappointments, especially when it becomes clear that the “biological cousins of Vulcans” could actually have arranged for the Galaxy-class starship’s away team to steal the invisibility screen simply so the vessel would later blow itself up when it was activated; “Do you also believe we killed an entire ship of Romulans and risked out lives to retrieve a device we can’t use?”
Instead, the “award winning” author pens a sedentary tale in which the Enterprise just happens to be passing Reg’s home planet, and upon which a hundred year-old mystery involving the Barclay family and Klingon treachery is just waiting to be solved by Data. This principal plot seems highly implausible, with the Lieutenant’s ancestors historically being accused of conspiracy by the Erya estate and the engineering officer’s bloodline subsequently being threatened with extermination as a result. Unsurprisingly, Noonien Soong’s creation soon discovers a bottle of Klingon bloodwine in plain view inside of Erya’s cellar, and one quick scan of the imperial network later conveniently discovers “video footage of Merliak granting the Klingons access to Solaris’ defence systems.”
Far more enjoyable than this wafer thin ‘whodunnit’ are Roberta Ingranata’s layouts, which do a prodigious job in depicting Bronfman’s script, especially during Inquisitor Troi’s rather tense disagreement with her Captain over whether they should activate the Romulan cloaking device before La Forge returns from some mysterious assignment in the Delta Quadrant. The Italian artist’s illustrations are also noteworthy for her attempt to occasionally give the reader an entirely different perspective of proceedings, such as Data’s almost ‘Teminator-like’ view of Erya’s armed minions when his covert reconnaissance of her holdings is discovered.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]