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[REVIEW] Star Trek: The Next Generation “Mirror Broken”

[REVIEW] Star Trek: The Next Generation "Mirror Broken"

Free Comic Book Day Reveals The Next Generation’s Dark Reflection

What is the appeal of the Mirror Universe? Why do I fill with glee when my favorite Vulcan sports a goatee, or when witnessing Intendant Kira playfully torture Miles “Smiley” O’Brien? Diving into fringe universes allow us to question our own positions in our own reality. What would our world be like if we had gone left instead of right? It’s probably a question on most of our minds these days. Is the grass greener on the other side, or is the field simply barren. In Star Trek terms, the Mirror Universe certainly allows our crew an opportunity to play BIG, get weird, and antagonize the audience with a horrifically twisted portrayal.

The Mirror Universe is a plot device we’ve seen in The Original Series, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise but we’ve been left to fantasize about the crew of the Voyager and Enterprise-D. Until now. IDW Comics has been killing it with their licenses of late. With Boldly Go, Waypoint, Starfleet Academy, and their Green Lantern crossover, Star Trek comics have never been so well received by the mainstream comic book audience.

"Mirror Broken" cover art

“Mirror Broken” cover art | Photo: IDW Publishing

For Free Comic Book Day (the annual celebration where comics publishers offer a variety of free books for retailers to hand out, hopefully inspiring the crowd to also support local businesses with actual dollars), IDW unveiled Star Trek The Next Generation: Mirror Broken. Written and illustrated by the team that previously brought us Harlan Ellison’s unaltered vision of The City on the Edge of Forever (David Tipton, Scott Tipton, and J.K. Woodward), this short preview of the eventual mini-series offers a brief prologue into the fractured world.

In the afterword to the comic, the Tipton brothers state that “some people mistake the Mirror Universe for something like the Bizarro World; it’s not that people here are the opposite of the characters we know. Rather, they’ve been altered by their environment, and so the question of how much of that person’s gifts and liabilities are inherent, and how much is learned behavior, is what makes it interesting.” You don’t just slap a goatee on a character, and Voila! – Evil Picard! But the facial hair sure is a nice touch of narrative shorthand.

Star Trek: TNG "Mirror Broken"

The Tiptons choose Lt. Reginald Barclay for our gateway into the Next Gen’s mirror. That’s an obvious but brilliant selection; our meek, but steadfast engineer has a lot of dark thoughts percolating in his captions. He’s not at all happy with his position on the ship (not the Enterprise-D BTW, but the I.S.S. Stargazer), and is on the hunt for the next opportunity at advancement. That chance presents itself when Lt. Yar obliterates a convoy of Vulcan slave ships, and Barclay flexes some serious muscle.

As viewed by Barclay, “The Terran Empire is in a sad shape. Spock’s weak-willed era of reform made it feeble and indecisive.” As we saw in the Deep Space Nine excursions into the Mirror Universe, the events of the original series only offered a temporary relief from this cracked morality. The Klingons and Cardassians will eventually succeed in their domination over the Terrans, but Barclay will be damned if he’s going to go down with the rest of his race.

Star Trek: TNG "Mirror Broken"

As is painful with most Free Comic Book Day titles, this glimpse into the Mirror Broken series lasts only 12 pages; the rest of the book is filled with character designs and previews of other IDW Star Trek titles. However, we get enough to salivate. Barclay is ripe with terrifying potential. The Mindwitch Counselor Troi will certainly delve into dark territories of psychotic sexuality. Picard’s pet android, Lieutenant Commander Data appears to have been splicing Borg technology into his physique, and I’m betting will truly agonize our fandom with a devious display of villainy yet to come. Yet, the true draw of the series has to be the goateed and jacked on steroids, Captain Picard. Will he still have a flair for Shakespearean monologuing, or does he fulfill that creative spark by feeding crewmembers to his ready room python (not a euphemism, but an actuality)?

We will have to wait to see if Riker, Worf, and the rest of the crew show up in Mirror Broken; the first issue hits stores on May 17th, and will also be available to purchase digitally. Whether you’re already hooked on the IDW comics, or a newbie to the medium, you’re not going to be able to resist this series.

Unfortunately, you may have already missed out on this issue of “Mirror Broken” and the other offerings from this year’s Free Comic Book Day. However, some comic shops may still have a few copies available.

Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news on Star Trek comics.

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Written By

Brad Gullickson is a proud #TSSOFM member, and co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness podcast. He can be found online tweeting about Star Trek V and other unhealthy obsessions. You can follow Brad on Twitter @MouthDork.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. DS9 is King

    May 8, 2017 at 11:53 am

    What is more attractive about the Mirror Universe is it’s Dark Gritty and Real and the Terran Empire is so cool, they are Evil Backstabbers they don’t make peace they conquer and rule with an iron Fist I really hope CBS is reading this and taking notes cause I would love a Mirror Universe series in the Future.

  2. Angrycat

    August 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I’m sick of Star Trek’s infernal abuse of the time device in story plots. Look if we wanted to get down real Einstein technical about it, time and space are a constant reality you can’t really physically move through a universe without some form of time passing meaning time and space are interwoven. Time travel in Trek was a two trick pony ride, although it was almost always labeled time travel in some awkward way it was actually more along the lines of traveling into parallel worlds. Thus what Gene masterfully coined the “mirror universe” because calling it a parallel world or evil twin universe just wouldn’t catch on. I think “Back to the Future” nailed it much better, time wasn’t some random event occurring spontaneously. The great doc even laid it out in detail how there are many versions of realities happening right now how it could be used as a constant or split into different directions. In Trek we simply got shown time as an uber mystical force like Star Wars. The possibility to run across an evil twin universe is in fact on a ratio of Quintilian’s, you would in fact be running dice scenarios of epic magnitudes in order to land on an evil you universe. Assuming we remove the time machine from the plot altogether. I would say the statistical probability for random time travel happening is next to zero. This is what bugs me about Trek, Federation ships were never equipped with a flux capacitors.

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