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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

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"Countdown to Darkness" Part 2
Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #2 (IDW)
Story: Roberto Orci and Mike Johnson
Script: Mike Johnson
Artist: David Messina
Cover by David Messina

 

Kirk faces a Prime Directive conundrum when he and Spock meet former Enterprise Captain Robert April on the surface of Phaedus IV.

 

Notes from the Star Trek Chronology

 

The 4-part Countdown to Darkness mini-series leads into the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness.

 

Didja Notice?

 

The planet called simply Phaedus in "Countdown to Darkness" Part 1 is suddenly referred to as Phaedus IV in this and subsequent issues of the mini-series.

 

Page 1 of this issue reveals that Phaedus IV is on the edge of explored space.

 

On page 2, Kirk remarks that Captain April died commanding the previous Enterprise on a mission twenty years ago and that ship was decommissioned two years ago. During some flashback scenes of April's time as captain of this Enterprise, we get a few images of it and see that it has some aspects of the ship seen in the original TV series. April states that he was captain of the ship going on ten years when he first came to Phaedus IV twenty years ago.

 

On page 9, panel 5, the tricorder in use by Captain April is similar to the classic tricorders used in the original TV series (though not exactly the same).

 

On page 12, the present-day April is wearing a black undershirt beneath his Starfleet tunic. But in all following scenes of the present day, the undershirt is gone.

 

On page 16, Captain April tells Kirk of his first officer, Alex Marcus. In Into Darkness, we see that, in the present day, Marcus is now an admiral and the head of Starfleet. He is also the father of Dr. Carol Marcus, to whom Kirk is introduced in Into Darkness; in the original timeline, Carol Marcus was Kirk's lover for a time and the mother of Kirk's son, Dr. David Marcus, as seen in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

 

The Mudd woman piloting the cargo ship intercepted by Enterprise over Phaedus IV is presumably the daughter of Harry Mudd, who appeared in two popular episodes of the original TV series, "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd", and the animated series episode "Mudd's Passion", as well as a number of appearances in comic books and novels. In "Countdown to Darkness" Part 3, April comments on her "disreputable father", though he is not named. She appears to be at least partially Bajoran, judging by the ridgelines on her nose. The Bajoran species was introduced in the original timeline in the ST-TNG episode "Ensign Ro".

 

On page 20, Kirk looks through electrobinoculars. Panel 1 shows the binocular view. Notice that the top left corner of the binocular display shows not only the current magnification, but also what appears to be the current air temperature (100.4° F)! The bottom right corner shows what even today are standard symbols for power level and (lack of) wireless networking.

 

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