Star Trek: The Webcomic

URL: www.trekcomic.com
Creator: Mark Farinas
Run: ?-current
Section: "Basis of Proof"

This Star Trek fan comic originally started out as an attempt at making an animated Star Trek TV show. I'm not a Star Trek fan, so I wanted to see if this fan comic would appeal to a webcomic reader like me who's just a fan of science-fiction in general. Fortunately, the comic's about original characters who live in the Star Trek universe, so there isn't any requirement for readers to be familiar with the real characters.

Writing


A lot of webcomics are boring because the pacing's bad, the plot's unoriginal and/or the characters are unsympathetic. The Star Trek fan comic is boring too, but it seems to be boring on purpose.

Most of the comic focuses on explaining the spaceship's engineering challenges, and I literally fell asleep when I tried to read it. I was able to finish the story on my second attempt, and it gets better by the end as it focuses more on the tense relationship between the crew and their new captain.

I might have enjoyed the comic more if I had a background in science or engineering. But personally, I would've been content with knowing just enough to understand that the crew's in danger. It isn't important to me how the ship's engine works or why antimatter is unstable.

A good example of what I mean is the cartoon Rick and Morty. Rick has a portal gun that lets him travel to different dimensions. I have no idea how it works, but I know that Rick can't get home if the gun breaks or gets stolen, which is an important plot point in several episodes. The show provides just enough context to understand what's going while leaving most of the episode's time for jokes and ridiculous situations.


Ideally, the chapter would have been stripped down to a short story about leadership. Captain Barrett is a competent but condescending leader who struggles with her crew's emotional and psychological needs, and the story should have focused entirely on that problem. At least 80 percent of the technical details can be cut or rewritten without negatively impacting the story.

Art


The No. 1 problem with the art is that the panels are too small.

With a web browser as your canvas, there's no reason to have small artwork other than maybe if you're making a print version as well. But even then, it usually makes sense to just add more pages.

Each "page" of this comic is really about four pages' worth of content, and it would've been much better to have fewer panels with larger illustrations. Specifically, there would be more medium, wide and establishing shots if there was more room to work with. The current layout is similar to a comics section in a newspaper, which is all about using space efficiently.

I would describe the artwork as functional. It's clear what's going on, but the backgrounds are plain and the space shots are bland. All of the scenes in the various sections of the ship blend together. And while the many close-ups of faces are competent, they're a bad stylistic choice in a comic where most of the characters are stoic. Generally, there's just not enough room in the small panels for anything but the characters' heads and the dialogue -- and this comic has a lot of dialogue.

Overall


I think Star Trek fans will be enthusiastic enough about the setting that they won't mind the excessive complexity and the lack of action. And since all the characters are original, there's no issue with potentially misinterpreting or ruining the real characters.

Everyone else, though, won't have the patience for such a slow and tedious webcomic. It's boring visually and has repetitive layouts, suggesting that there may have been some problems translating the content from an animated TV show to a comic.

Without the Star Trek tie-in, this would just be a forgettable and unremarkable science-fiction webcomic. But with the high expectations that come with the legendary franchise, the comic's an epic fail.

Scores (out of 5)
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1 comment :

  1. Against the recommendation of this review I decided to check this comic out. I’m a bit of a Trekkie from way back and the art looked like the gold key comics I used to read as a kid. I gotta say, I don’t know what the reviewer was talking about, because I tore through all five story lines in an hour. It was that good.

    I think it’s unfair that the reviewer actively dislikes tech speak so much and yet chose the only story line that has it as an example. It’s like he's trying to find something to complain about. I also don’t know why he thought there was so much of it. There’s three panels of it at the beginning, some in the middle, and a little at the end. Maybe six strips out of a total of almost seventy. The rest is all drama and action.

    I don’t get the Ricky and Morty comparison. That’s a great show, but it’s also a comedy with fantastical elements, not a piece of hard science fiction. It’s also funny that the reviewer seems to have missed the entire point of the story by waving away the tech talk - that paying attention to the facts and technical details, no matter how boring or nerdy, is important for a rational solution. The whole reason why the underlings failed was because they were unwilling to trust that process. Sounds like a certain election we just had.

    I’d suggest you read an entire comic before reviewing it, or at least start at the beginning. Picking up in the middle, even in an anthology, seems arbitrary. You’ll probably find that the author is capable of less tech centric stories and then understand why he wanted them here. You’d also know that this is the sequel to another, earlier storyline, which you don’t mention in the review.

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