Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita by Tipton, Tipton, Shasteen, Hernandez, Nieto

Terra Incognita was well written by the Tiptons and had the feeling of a television season.
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In the Star Trek franchise, there is a parallel universe dubbed the "Mirror Universe" where the evil Terran Empire, which rules through terror, stands in place of the United Federation of Planets.  Its first appearance was in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," when a transporter malfunction during an ion storm causes the landing party of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to switch places with their counterparts.  It was a very compelling episode and the Mirror Universe has been revisited in different TV series and assorted non-canonical Trek media.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita collects issues #1-6 written by David & Scott Tipton and art by Tony Shasteen (#1), Carlos Nieto (#2 & 6), and Hernandez (#3-5). The previous miniseries Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through the Mirror concluded with Mirror Lt. Barclay sneaking into the Prime universe where he subdued and posed as his counterpart during a number of missions. This miniseries has a lot to offer fans of the TNG crew.

In Issue #1 finds the Enterprise assisting the Hood, which has broken down while transporting a Federation diplomatic team, largely Vulcan, to negotiate peace with the Cardassian Union. Mirror Barclay understands the Hood's problem, but has trouble being heard until he “add[s] a little drama to get their attention.” Though he remains a presence, he becomes less important to the stories until Issue #6.

In Issue #2, Deanna Troi joins the Vulcan and Cardassian ambassadors on an ill-fated shuttle journey and leads the rescue of her fellow travelers. In Issue #3, Dr. Selar, a Vulcan medical officer who appeared in the second-season episode "The Schizoid Man" and was mentioned in other episodes, plays a prominent role when she accepts the katra of dying Vulcan Ambassador Hendryk before the peace negotiations are completed. Trouble arises when she refuses to continue his work thinking it “an obscenity” to use her new status “for personal advancement or political gain.”

In Issue #4, Riker, Wesley, and Mirror Barclay beam down to the planet Faundori, which the Federation hopes to accept as a new member. The inhabitants are of a familiar sci-fi trope as they have been divided into three different groups with specific roles within the society. When an ensign disappears, Wesley breaks protocol to discover what has happened to his friend and finds she's not the only one who needs his help.

In Issue #5, Dr. Crusher leads a medical investigation of a plague afflicting the Lolligans, which not only brought upon themselves but has them “on the verge of distinction.” Issue #6, Mirror members come to retrieve Mirror Barclay for desertion, leading to a skirmishes within the Enterprise between the different crews. The issue ends with a suggestion of more to come but no specific title is given.

Terra Incognita was well written by the Tiptons and had the feeling of a television season. There was the season-long story dealing with Mirror Barclay's infiltration along with a subplot about the Federation needing to rebuild its strength before its enemies find out. In addition, each issue had its own story, allowing different members of the TNG crew to stand out, demonstrating the Tiptons's knew the characters. The work of the artists blended well together over the six issues, although for some reason Shasteen drew Picard with a completely shaved head while Nieto, whose issue was set just hours later, drew Picard with hair on the sides and back. Looking forward to what comes next.

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