Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken #1

Writer: David Tipton and Scott Tipton
Artist: J.K. Woodward
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Publisher: IDW

Hope is a word all too familiar with stories involving the Mirror Universe, which is quite ironic considering its dark existence. Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken #1 once again introduces the idea of hope into the Universe’s ongoing narrative. This time however, the story will not be about a Vulcan attempting to instil reform against a specific ideology or a group of rebels seeking to break free of servitude. No, this is a story about hope for the Terran Empire and whether it can reclaim its rightful place as rulers of the galaxy.

Portraying a very familiar world to readers, writers David and Scott Tipton open the story with a quick recap of the Mirror Universe before opening the tale through the eyes of one Captain Jean-Luc Picard, at the helm of the I.S.S. Stargazer. Besides the obvious difference in his outward appearance (sleeveless uniform revealing badass guns and a finely-trimmed beard), this Picard seems similar to the one fans encountered on the U.S.S. Enterprise – thoughtful and deliberate. In fact, most of the characters besides cosmetic changes seem very much unchanged (with few exceptions – who were introduced in IDW’s Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken Free Comic Book Day issue).

Darker worlds tend to be illustrated in a darker way, and painter J.K. Woodward has taken full advantage of the Mirror Universe aesthetics to introduce a shadowy color palette, with only the character uniforms providing any real pigment. Woodward, whose previous Star Trek work is universally lauded among fans, is at the top of his game with Mirror Broken #1. Starting with the opening panel of the story, which presents opposing images of Kirk and his evil-Mirror doppelganger, Woodward illustrates a wonderful and photo-realistic story. One particularly beautiful and gruesome scene comes after an encounter between the Stargazer and a Cardassian Galor warship. The only regret is his illustrations are limited to the 8×10 format of a comic.

Despite the obvious differences of these characters inhabiting this alternate universe and the mission at hand, the Tipton’s could very easily be penning a story set during TNG’s television run. The way the crew and Captain go about their objective and their professional behavior (aside from a threatened trip to the agony booth for one shocked Ensign) are almost indistinguishable between the two realities.

Incongruous story telling makes Mirror Broken’s debut a fascinating read. The idea of a culture latching onto the hope of a possible myth even as it continues to enslave alien species and act immorally portrays this Universe in a new and exciting way. Hope might empower the Stargazer crew, but they are still governed by personal agendas of power and wealth. The only question that remains is how similar these characters truly are to their explorer counterparts.

The Verdict

Buy It! Kudos to the Tipton Brothers for composing a non-formulaic Mirror adventure, one which provides fans with a checklist of the TNG crew’s evil counterparts, all the while seemingly remaining true to their personalities (even when they act horribly). Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken #1 is a must read for fans of the franchise, as well as those familiar with TNG but looking for something with a little more edge. It’s ironic however that the issue’s central theme is, “Every living thing needs a little hope, just to survive.”

Rich Schepis

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