Evil goatees, exposed midriffs and devilish twists on family friend characters have become iconic images in Star Trek since the Mirror Universe first debuted 50 years ago in 1967. The Mirror Universe was restricted to one story in Star Trek, a handful of times in Deep Space Nine and Enterprise but fans have always speculated what it would have been like if The Next Generation received the Mirror Universe treatment.
Now we learn that Picard and his band of misfit pirates have seized control of the Enterprise, seeking out a bigger prize they set their sights on Empire Starships.
Writers Scott and David Tipton bring years of fan discussion to life in this series and no more so than in Issue 4. After scheming and sharpening their knives in the previous issues, they finally have control of the Enterprise. It is impossible not have a smile on your face as you watch those most family friend and politically correct crew in Starfleet become a band of evil, immoral, plotting rogues and given a makeover that is more Mad Max than Star Trek. Many of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s finest episodes were when the crew broke from the familiarity of their roles and universe and this is true again in comic form. Scott and David Tipton’s twists on these characters don’t make them completely alien but apply the Mirror Universe filter to those familiar legends and you can still hear their voices as you read through the comic strip.
J.K. Woodward’s artwork is incredible as always, Woodward’s photorealistic style that we have seen before in ‘Star Trek – The Next Generation: Hive’ series continues here and it pulls you completely into this mirror darkly universe. One minor complaint is that Wesley Crusher’s appearance looks more like mid-40’s Wil Wheaton than the baby-faced Wesley of the series.
The story isn’t as strong as previous issues, with the mutiny plot providing a momentum that took us through the first three parts. Issue 4 feels very much like the calm before the storm as we are introduced to three new elements that are likely to pay off later in the series. Guinan is introduced at the start of issue when she’s shipped onto the Enterprise in a box and looking very feral, the new Enterprise crew visit a starbase that is a proving ground for torture chamber technology and showdowns with Empire Starships and Cardassians. It’s a lot of elements that are introduced with the promise of more drama and action to come. Guinan’s arrival of the Enterprise is probably the most exciting and the promise of a twist on the special relationship with Picard to come.