05 November 2019

Review: Star Trek: First Contact by John Vornholt, Terry Pallot, et al.

Perfect-bound comic, 48 pages
Published 1996
Acquired June 2019
Read October 2019
Star Trek: First Contact

Adapted by John Vornholt
Art by Terry Pallot (pages 1-36 & 40-48)
Layouts by Rod Whigham
Pencils by Rod Whigham (pages 37-39)
Inks by Philip Moy
Color Design by Shannon Blanchard
Lettered by Edd Fear

In my review of the Generations adaptation, I said the First Contact adaptation from Marvel (the last-ever adaptation of a Prime Universe Star Trek film) hadn't been collected. I tracked it down to read it and discovered that even though it's a one-shot comic... it has an ISBN for some reason. Which under my personal rules means I can count it as a book. I don't know why, but I'll take it.

If you haven't seen the film or Voyager, it's not even clear this guy is a hologram! What's an "EMH"? (art by Terry Pallot, Rod Whigham, & Philip Moy)

John Vornholt scripts; I didn't know he did any comics work, actually, as I primarily know him as a prolific Star Trek novelist in the 1990s, including the YA novels of all four Next Generation films, meaning this is one of two adaptations of First Contact that he wrote. It's an okay script. The first half captures the film well, but something is off with the pacing, and the second half gets very choppy, with a lot of the movie's great scenes cut down so much they lose their impact. The argument between Picard and Lily where he breaks his ships becomes a calm conversation; the great bit about Moby-Dick literally becomes: "You're like Captain Ahab." "Have you read Moby Dick?" "Actually, no." Zefram Cochrane is a particular victim of the condensation; the values conflict between him and the Enterprise crew doesn't come off at all.

The thing about Cochrane's music also doesn't come off in a medium that can only represent "Ooby Dooby" and "Magic Carpet Ride" with "TWANG-DA-DA-TWANG!" (art by Terry Pallot, Rod Whigham, & Philip Moy)

The art by Terry Pallot, Rod Whigham, and Philip Moy looks nice; it has that nice 1990s pre-computers style that I like, reminding me of people like Mike Collins or Matt Haley. (Which I guess makes sense, because Mike Collins worked on Marvel's 1990s Star Trek comics.) The action is often confusing, though, especially the shipboard fights against the Borg. I'm not sure a reader could follow the Dixon Hill scene if they didn't see the film. But then, who is reading this who didn't see the film? Like most film-to-comics adaptations, I'm discovering, it's serviceable, but adds little to your experience.

Next Week: From the 24th century to the 30th: I revisit Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes!

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