We checked out the final installment of Star Trek The Next Generation – Terra Incognita from IDW publishing and found something…lacking.
I’d been looking forward to Issue No. 6 for a while. The five previous editions had given us a nice twisty-turny story that fitted neatly into TNG‘s fourth season.
It’s tricky to avoid spoilers without giving any of the plot away seeing as, naturally, the entire run hinges on the revelations presented here.
Suffice to say it was a fantastic build-up, rewarding us who stayed with the story with some lovely pay-offs and smile-inducing scenes. But because of the very nature of the story, I found I had to double-back and confirm to myself which characters were who. I guess, though, that was part of the fun? Hmmm. Perhaps, but it did give the feeling that we were rushing to the denouement, as if writers Scott and David Tipton couldn’t wait to reveal the final panels.
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Much had already been made of the inspiration to this story: there have been multiple novels, one use in TOS, a number of appearances in DS9 and a whole story arc in Discovery about it, so TNG using the idea here actually worked – but only to a point. Because ‘Terra Incognita’ is set in environs we are very familiar with, its the use of this alternative take that seems to be visually missing from this series. Yes, the alternative stance has been used by IDW previously, so there is the argument that repetition would be a thorn in the side. That said, should the writers have taken the position that not everyone would have been aware of previous IDW entries, that this story arc that began before ‘Terra Incognita’ might have been somewhat unfamiliar to some? I’m all for multiple cross-overs and sequel comic series, but I was really hoping to see something visually different here, certainly in the last few panels. Still, there was a lot happening in the corridors of the Enterprise-D.
Okay, so that aside, as a resolution to ‘Terra Incognita’, it wasn’t half bad. It made sense of our antagonist’s rationale and how certain actions were viewed by those who had sent them on this particular mission. The script was snappy and clean and virtually free of technobabble (which was a blessed relief because I’m currently watching Voyager and every other sentence feels like I’m listening to a dramatic reading of a Swedish furniture construction manual) and the art was spot-on – artist Carlos Nieto captured Riker particularly well, Barclay not so much.
The ending itself featured a nicely satisfying but at the same time frustrating little ‘?’, so we can be assured that the story isn’t over just yet. And I hope, then, that’s why Issue No. 6 left me feeling like I’d missed something.