Comics Ate My Brain

January 3, 2008

Checking in briefly: TNG and 2007 comics buying

Filed under: 52, countdown, meta, star trek — Tom Bondurant @ 3:12 pm
Well, after a Nyquil-flavored New Year, I’m on the road to recovery … but also on the road in a more literal sense. Therefore, new posts will probably have to wait until next week. In the meantime, though, here are a couple of items which have rattled around my mind long enough.

* * *

The Modern Trek Project, through which I am watching every episode of “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” and “Voyager,” in as close to Stardate order as I can get, rolls on. Last night I watched “The Wounded,” TNG’s first Cardassian episode, which puts me into early 1991, approaching the halfway point of TNG Season 4. It won’t be too long before I start alternating TNGs with DS9s as per The Star Trek Chronology.

Still, that’s not today’s point. What really struck me about the beginning of TNG S4 was its emphasis on “sequels.” Virtually every episode up to “The Wounded” basically revisited a previous one.

“The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”: Duh; but also, “Q Who.”
“Family”: Duh, again; but Worf’s parents’ visit reminds him of his discommendation in “Sins Of The Father.”
“Brothers”: Looks back at events discussed in “Datalore.”
“Suddenly Human”: One of the least sequel-y. However, in making Picard a “parent,” it plays into the season’s secondary theme of “family.”
“Remember Me”: More with The Traveler from “Where No One Has Gone Before.”
“Legacy”: Tasha’s sister lets the crew re-examine Tasha’s death in “Skin Of Evil.”
“Reunion”: Ties together “The Emissary” with “Sins Of The Father” to begin the big Klingon arc in earnest.
“Future Imperfect”: We recognize Minuet from “11001001’s” holodeck program.
“Final Mission”: Caps off Wesley’s Academy arc, including The Boy’s recollection of his shuttle trip with Picard in “Samaritan Snare.”
“The Loss”: Neither sequel-y nor family-oriented, unless you count Riker playing the Imzadi card for the first time in a while.
“Data’s Day”: Follow-up to “The Measure of a Man.”

TNG had done sequels and follow-ups before, of course, but I don’t think to this degree. Moreover, combined with the “family” theme, the first part of Season 4 really felt like the show was consolidating itself into something cohesive which could both generate new subplots and re-examine alternative takes. It takes a certain amount of confidence to pull these disparate threads together, but obviously the cumulative effect runs the risk of creating too much familiarity.

Also coming somewhat from left field is the sudden emphasis on Miles O’Brien. Sure, he’d been around since the beginning, and I certainly don’t object to his being in the spotlight, but in the space of a few months he goes from being a good utility player in, say, “Best Of Both Worlds” and “Family” to major roles in both “Data’s Day” and “The Wounded.” I’m going to enjoy watching Miles develop, and I know it’ll help me appreciate his DS9 work even more.

* * *

And about those comic-book numbers: more analysis is on the way, but the short version is twofold. First, apparently I bought considerably more in 2007 than I have in the previous few years. Second, much of the increase can be attributed to 52, Countdown, and their ancillary series. I am trusting that this will correct itself through attrition in 2008.

Not surprisingly, then, I spent appreciably more on DC in ’07. Around 88% of the books I bought were from DC, as opposed to 80% in years past. Again, attrition may return that number to a more typical level, but we’ll see.

Back next week!

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