It was announced before the movie came out that there would be an epilogue to ‘Into Darkness’ encompassed in issues #21-23 of IDW’s ‘Star Trek’, called ‘After Darkness.’ I, being a huge Trekkie, was naturally very excited.
At least, I was excited. When I picked up last issue, it was apparent that the three-part mini series doesn’t really feel like an epilogue at all. While, yes, it was explicitly stated that Khan will not make an appearance in ‘After Darkness’, its lack of anything to do with the movie is a disappointment.
That being said, I’m fairly certain I know why they chose the story they did for ‘After Darkness’, and I think it largely has to do with the huge plot hole destroying Vulcan brought up.
You see, Vulcans go through something called pon farr every seven years, and it can only be cure/relieved through a mating ritual that takes place on the planet Vulcan. Having destroyed Vulcan in the first movie, this naturally means there are going to be a lot of angry Vulcans that can’t complete the rituals to sate them. It makes sense that the comics deal with that little hole created by the movie.
Of course, I feel that should note that canonically across all of ‘Star Trek’, pon farr is not very consistent, so maybe the plot hole didn’t really need to be dealt with. After all, there have been cases of Vulcans sating their pon farr induced blood-fever through neural transmitters and mate/bonding with another species in Voyager.
So really, I don’t know what the purpose of this series is, or why it’s called “After Darkness”. It has very little to do with the movie, and fixes something that didn’t really need to be fixed.
But let me be fair and upfront here. Despite Chekhov’s first snarky and adorable appearance, “Amok Time”, the first episode to feature pon farr, is among my least favorite of the original ‘Star Trek’ episodes. Now, this could be because I don’t like the fact that a logical species would refer to women as property to be won or the fact that I don’t really like anything that suggests that sex and violence can be substituted for one another. Both indulge in too many precedences that I don’t think should be.
Whatever the case may be, I was not predisposed to fall in love with the three issues of ‘After Darkness’.
My other problems with the comic, however, are a bit more concrete: 1. T’Pring’s story from “Amok Time” was completely ignored (you know, how she’s Spock’s wife and she totally tried to get out of marrying him by forcing him to kill Kirk), and so was her amazing haircut; 2. I can’t really reason how even Vulcans, with their advanced biology, are able to walk around lava; 3. I’m not really sure how simulating Vulcan through a transporter solves the problem of pon farr (supposedly, according to the comic, feeling like you’re on Vulcan is all you need to do to feel better) when Spock was still in pon farr‘s clutches in “Amok Time” even when he was on the planet.
I mention the TV show so much because while the comic is apart of the reboot timeline, there are still some things that should be canonically respected, and I’m having trouble connecting all the dots.
Now, I’m not going to be so negative as to suggest that there aren’t some pluses to ‘After Darkness’. If you’re into Uhura and Spock’s relationship, this little series is a must for you. It has a nice back story that explains how their relationship started. Spoiler Alert: It’s kind of cute.
The art is good, though sometimes inconsistent– Uhura’s facial structure being the one to take the brunt of the inconsistencies. It’s laid out well, and continues the plot of the previous 20 issues with some nefarious Klingon and Romulan doings. Those, however, seeing as they are not the main plot of the issues, I shall ignore.
Unfortunately, my Trekkie opinions are too strong, and while I appreciated that the plot only took three comic books to tell as opposed to a mind numbing 45 minutes, I think I really could have skipped ‘After Darkness’. Still, if you need a little more pon farr in your life, don’t hesitate to pick it up.