Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Star Trek: Nero by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurzman, Mike Johnson, Tim Jones and David Messina

So because of the Star Trek: Countdown graphic novel we know that a Romulan from the Future named Nero got sucked into the past to take revenge on Star Fleet after the attempt to save Romulus when its sun went Supernova failed. Nero, the leader of the Romulans who had been helping Spock, blamed him for the death of Romulus and that of his wife and unborn child.

Attempting to take revenge on Spock and the Federation, who Nero feels were also to blame, Nero gets sucked into the past, along with Spock and an experimental Federation ship that was supposed to be used to repair Romulus's native star. But he appeared in the past long before Kirk and the rest of the crew made their first voyage on the Enterprise. So, what was Nero doing all that time that he wasn't taking his revenge on the Federation? Studying martial arts? Navel-gazing? Learning to cook plomeek soup?

This novel explores what happened to Nero during that time. In essence, Nero and his ship appeared in the wrong area of space, and He and his ship are attacked and captured by the Klingons. Trying to find out why he and his crew are in Klingon space, the Klingons overpower him physically and take him to the Prison Planet Rura Penthe, where they torture him and his crew, trying to get him to talk. But even a constant diet of drugs, hard labor, physical and mental torture and being used as a gladiator for the amusement of the Klingons can't get him to open his mouth.

Better yet, his silence, and the diet of drugs open his mind, strengthening the normally weak mental powers possessed by the Romulans to a strength at or above those of the Vulcans. Now he can communicate with his crew without even opening his mouth, and read their mental replies in return. A former member of Starfleet approaches Nero. This man, Clavell, is a star surveyor. He was working on the edges of Klingon space when the Klingons captured him and accused him of being a spy. He knows that Nero is up to something, and he wants in on it.

Nero agrees, silently, one of his crewmen, a man named Axel, speaking for him. Nero wants Clavell to calculate when Spock will enter this universe, since they didn't appear together. Clavell works on the problem and presents Nero with his best solution. Meanwhile, above the planet is Nero's semi-sentient ship, the Narada, powered down and useless. The Klingons want to find out its secrets and use the ship to conquer the Federation, but thus far, they have been stymied. Until the ship abruptly comes to life, and incinerates the two Klingons on board.

Back down on the planet, Koth, the Klingon in charge of the Prison, wants an explanation for why the ship has come to life again. But he's found Clavell's estimates hidden in Nero's cell, and Koth plans to kill Nero. Instead, Nero grabs his weapon and escapes from Koth, creating a jailbreak with the other members of his crew, and Clavell as well. They beam up to the Narada, but it's not responding to their control. Instead, it has picked up something, something strange, at the edge of the Delta Quadrant.

Once they get close enough, Nero can hear ir, too. It's something sentient, something that tries to understand Nero. It scans the ship with bolts of lightning, and members of the crew die, including Clavell. Nero steps into one of the bolts and disappears. The crew doesn't understand where he has gone, but Nero has an encounter with a ship at the heart of the ship, revealing it to be V'ger. In this Universe, it has not yet encountered Kirk, Spock and the others, but Nero uses it to calculate when Spock will appear and grabs Spock and his ship. He has a plan to destroy Vulcan the same way Spock's inaction destroyed Romulus- and he wants Spock to be able only to watch it.

Spock, for his part, knows he is 125 years in his own past. He thinks to himself that he is at Starfleet Academy, Jim is still alive. But how can he, a single Vulcan with no resources but his knowledge of his own history and the past, manage to stop Nero from fulfilling his fiendish pledge?

Well, this book had lots of stuff going on, but I found it kind of forgettable. Okay, Nero gets a minor power-up and he basically sits around waiting for Spock to show up. He just wants to find out where. Now, admittedly, I didn't see the new Star Trek movie, but I had no investment in Nero's character. Okay, what happens to him in the future is pretty bad, but I knew he was the villain of the new movie, so I felt like, "Why should I care about him?

And, I don't. So this graphic novel, that focuses so strongly on Nero, ended up being a big borefest for me. I was hoping for Spock to show up earlier, and for there to be some sort of more verbal or physical sparring between them than what this story boasted. To put its faults more clearly: too much Nero, not enough Spock. Unless you are really interested in Nero, most of this story is marking time until Spock appears, and he doesn't until very late in the story. I could have done perfectly well without reading this.

So, like I said, unless you need to know where Nero was for the twenty-five years before the film started, from the end of Star Trek: Countdown to the beginning of the movie. you can give three words: In Rura Penthe. And add three more: Then he escaped. Six words sum up this entire volume in a nutshell. But unless you are that interested, it's not worth spending your money on. Read it from the library if you must- it's not worth spending $18 on. Not recommended, unless you are a serious Nero fan with money to burn.

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