Originally published on Set The Tape
The mirror universe has always been an area of the Star Trek universe that has interested fans since its first appearance in the original series episode ‘Mirror, Mirror’ back in 1967. Since then it’s appeared several more episodes over the years, chiefly in Deep Space Nine, where it furthered the mythology of the mirror universe with the introduction of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.
Star Trek The Next Generation: Mirror Broken uses the storytelling of the Deep Space Nine episodes as a foundation for it’s story, examining what happened to the Terran Empire following the rise of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Taking place after the fall of the Empire, with humanity having to have retreated to a much smaller territory centres around Earth, the story joins the crew of the ISS Stargazer, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
This is not the Picard that we have come to know and love. Much like the other mirror universe counterparts he’s a much darker, evil version of himself. He appears to run his crew through fear and the threat of pain. He’s willing to go against orders and betray people around him if it means he can get further ahead and make more money. This is reflected in those in his command crew, including dark versions of Data and Reginald Barclay, along with Inquisitor Troi, who uses her Batazoid abilities to spy on the crew for Picard.
The first issue introduces a Terran Empire that is on the back foot, looking for a way to turn the tide of their conflict with the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Rumours abound of a new star ship that will allow them to do so, though no one appears to know if this is real or just desperate hope.
After capturing a Cardassian ship, killing all but two of the crew in the process, Picard learns that the project is real, and that the Empire is building a new, Galaxy-Class, Enterprise. Teaming up with one of the engineers on the project, Geordi La Forge, they plan on stealing the advanced vessel.
The plot is very much what you would come to expect from the mirror universe, with characters out to further themselves even over the good of the Empire as a whole, resorting to trickery, lies, and even violence in order to do so. These darker versions of the Star Trek: The Next Generation characters are shocking in how different they are, even an emotionless and logical Data comes across as a horrible person.
The artwork in the book reflects this tonal shift, with the beautiful painted art of J.K. Woodward using darker, muted colours to not just capture the darker themes of the book, but the colder world that the characters inhabit too.
Whilst it is almost guaranteed that Picard and his crew will get their hands on the new Enterprise, how they go about it, which other familiar characters they will meet on the way, and what they plan to do when they succeed are all entertaining prospects that will bring audiences back for future issues.
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