Originally published on Set The Tape
Star Trek: New Visions is a strange comic book series. There’s no art inside the pages of this book. Instead, the story is told in a photo montage style, using images from the original Star Trek television show, as well as new computer generated elements, to tell original stories.
The sixth volume collects together three issues of the series: issue #15 ‘The Traveller’, issue #16 ‘Time Out of Joint’, and issue #17 ‘All the Ages Frozen’. Whilst most comic series tell a story across several issues, bringing them together in one story in the graphic novels, Star Trek: New Visions tells a complete and self contained story in each of their issues, meaning that we get treated to three different and distinct Star Trek adventures in one book.
In the first story the crew of the Enterprise come across a mysterious ship, home to a humanoid entity called The Traveller, who is at war with a mysterious race. The second story has the Enterprise come under attack by strange aliens with a power over time, shifting Kirk through his own timeline. And the third story sees the crew going in search of missing Federation scientists, but discovering a long lost civilisation instead.
The stories are well told, and despite only being a single issue long, have a well put together pace, never feeling too short, but not overstaying their welcome. This quicker, snappy pace feels very much in line with the classic Star Trek series; a show that very rarely told stories over more than one episode, and often had plots move quickly.
The writing captures this feel incredibly well, with a great deal of the dialogue fitting in with the original show. The writing never feels too high concept, and a lot of the story is told in simple ways, and whilst this may put some people off, it does make it fall more in line with the show that it’s emulating.
The biggest issue for myself, however, is the artwork in the book. Photo comics are always a stand out, because they’re very rarely done in the industry. Whilst in many cases this comes down to people not always being able to create the kinds of images they want, Star Trek: New Visions is able to draw from the original series in order to tell its stories.
This means that this is the comic that looks more like Star Trek than any other book you’ll read, because it’s made from Star Trek. However, the panels are made up from several different elements, and can often feel slightly off. Dimensions and sizes are sometimes wrong, colours don’t always match, and characters can appear like they’re not quite real.
This sense of something not quite right is often compounded when images from the original series are combined with completely new CGI images, where it’s very obvious that we’re not looking at images of the show, but photoshopped pictures. Perhaps it’s just me, but this makes the book hard to read in places? This may not be an issue for everyone, but it’s possible that it may drag you out of the book and spoil your experience.
Overall, Star Trek: New Visions is a well made and competently made book, with some interesting and engaging stories within its pages, but an interesting and unique art style may put some people off.
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