'ST: DS9 - N-Vector Chapter One' ReviewBy Jim Zimmerman
Posted at June 10, 2000 - 11:29 AM GMT
STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – N-VECTOR
Written by K. W. Jeter, Pencils by Toby Cypress, Inks by Martin & Irwin
Published by WildStorm Productions
I suspect there have been few other Trek comics more long-awaited than this one since the advent of the WildStorm line. While announcements came rather quickly for various Voyager, Next Generation and Original Series projects, news about DS9 was lacking for many months. In part this is understandable. The TV show had just ended and time was needed to evaluate where to go from here. Still, it was interesting to see how often editor Jeff Mariotte was questioned about this very thing: When will there be a DS9 comic?
Finally, more than six months after the beginning of the new line, we at last see a DS9 project, the first issue of a four-part mini-series. It is only the second mini-series thus far; all of WildStorm's other projects have been the more expensive, "prestige" books. Like its predecessor, "TNG: Perchance to Dream," it is printed on high-grade newsprint and is 22 pages long, for the price of $2.50 (U.S.).
The first thing that strikes the reader about this book is the artwork: it is highly stylized. This is not necessarily a bad thing in comics; some artists who do work of this nature are highly regarded. However, I should admit at the forefront that my own personal bias is against stylized (versus more realistic) work. In any case, almost everyone seems to agree that it is ill suited for Star Trek. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a dozen times. Trek fans want the comic book characters to look like the actors they're supposed to represent. I concur.
This is a major problem here, and the source of many a bad review. This is highly stylized stuff, and not at all suited (in my opinion) for Star Trek. Contrary to what some others have said, I didn't really have any major problem identifying the characters, and I don't think any other dyed-in-the-wool fans would either. On the other hand, if you have only a passing familiarity with DS9, I can see that it might be a problem. So if you're only interested in the artwork, and you want it to be realistic, you'd better pass on this one. If you're also interested in the story, however, read on.
As implied earlier, this tale is set immediately following the series finale: "What You Leave Behind." All of the characters who were "left behind" on the station are in place: Kira (as commander of the station), Nog (acting security chief), Bashir, Ezri Dax, and Quark. All are portrayed very much in character. Even Morn can be seen in his place at the bar.
At this point, I have no idea what "N-Vector" refers to. (But then, the same could be said about "Perchance to Dream" in its first issue.) The story is a multi-layered mystery, which so far is intriguing. There are a number of strange things going on in the station, some of which are doubtless related. 1) Quark is acting very out of character, giving away both free drinks and interest-free, no collateral loans. 2) A Romulan scientist has arrived on the station to resume some mysterious experiments begun there earlier. 3) Someone has repeatedly sabotaged the station and all evidence points to Chief O'Brien, who has just arrived on earth to begin teaching at the Academy. 4) Someone is killing off the people Quark loaned money to and anonymously returning the latinum. And 5) the Defiant is late returning to the station. As was also the case in "Perchance," it's difficult to fairly evaluate the story on the sole basis of "part one of four." So far, though, it's got my interest.
The writer responsible for this story is K. W. Jeter. Jeter is a well-known science-fiction writer with two Deep Space Nine novels to his credit. One of them is the one-and-only DS9 hardback, "Warped." Though I personally have not read it, it has received its fair share of criticism. In fact, if I understand correctly, the poor sales on that book are in large part responsible for the fact that there has never been another DS9 hardcover.
Be that as it may, I am personally satisfied with Jeter's work in this first issue, at least. Wouldn't it be a shame if poor sales on this series resulted in no further DS9 comic books? If this happens, I'd say Jeter is simply a victim of circumstances. The story's fine; it's the artwork.
Jim Zimmerman is the webmaster of the Trek Nation comics site.