IDW Publishing 2017
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Josh Hood
Coloured by Jason Lewis
Lettered by AndWorld Design
In a world where the Romulans discovered Earth before the Vulcans, Earth is now a brutal penal colony. Resistance fighter William Riker has uncovered a vast conspiracy, and together with his band of prisoner outlaws (you just might recognize a few!), must fight to rescue a mysterious prisoner in the darkest level of the Romulan dungeons. The only man on Earth that still holds the key to humanity's return to the stars!
This is a story that would kind of reboot the Next Generation in a way that’s unexpected, interesting and dare I say blasphemously good. Think about it the Enterprise crew went back to when that first test by Cochrane happened to prevent the Borg from succeeding in their nefarious plans. But what if it weren’t the Vulcans who came a calling when Cochrane’s flight was made and instead it was the Romulans? That would change EVERYTHING!
Okay so get past that Donny is reworking the mythology here because he’s a good solid writer and more than capable of making something like this work. Also NO this isn’t a new reality moving forward it’s just a What If…. so enjoy it for what it is. What it is is a darn good story that is smartly written with some great characterisation and unexpected appearances by familiar characters. The whole idea behind this that the Romulans came to Earth and pretty much made it a penal colony and enslaved the human race isn’t so far off. I mean if you remember at the time Earth was still recovering from wars and such so it’s not a leap of logic for this to have happened to easily.
The character redesigns are kind of awesome. I like that this takes place so far in the future that we skip over the original cast and are already at the Next Generation’s time period. So seeing how Josh interprets this is fun and way cooler than I expected, including Data whom I wouldn’t have thought would be around but hey it works for me! His use of page layouts with their angles and perspective are fantastic and the colouring from Jason completes everything beautifully.
There are a million What If stories that could be written regarding the Star Trek Universe and that we’re finally seeing one with the TNG cast and that it’s this creative, imaginative and well executed makes me sorry it’s a one-shot. Or is it? After all this does end with something of a cliffhanger so it could continue should the powers that be say go for it, oh and the fans too.
The differences in the characters personalities that we see here are extremely well done in my opinion. They represent them living a hard life and that reflects in how we perceive them though at their core they are the characters we know and love. Though I will say that there’s one character that fans love to hate who isn’t in this at all should make many happy.
Comics are supposed to be fun and showcase talented creators doing the best work they can and that’s what this here does!