Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through the Mirror by Tipton, Tipton, et. al.

The plotting is smart and fun, and it shows the writers have a good understanding of the characters and both universes
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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.

IDW's Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken "serve[d] as a very good origin story" revealing how Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew obtained Enterprise-D.  Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through the Mirror collects issues #1-5 written by David & Scott Tipton and art by Marcus To, Chris Johnson, Josh Hood, Carlos Nieto, and Debra Carita, which tells of Mirror Picard, et. al. venturing into the Prime universe. The first indication discovered is by Worf who sees someone who looks like engineering technician Lt. Jones at a mining facility. His pursuit ends with a transporter beam, making for a great cliffhanger.

Understandably, back on the Prime Enterprise in issue #2, Jones is questioned but has an alibi. Inexplicably, Worf makes no mention of the other people he saw, which ruins the previous issue's cliffhanger. When checking the security recording of a damaged Andorian spaceship, Picard and Riker see their dopplegangers.

Issue #3 shows readers how the Mirror crew plans to take over the Prime Enterprise and use both ships in the Mirror universe against the Klingon-Cardassian alliance or the Empire itself. The remaining issues deal with the Enterprise crews battling against each other.

The characters are recognizable in the artwork, but they and the backgrounds noticeably change with each artist, which takes a few panels each issue to get used to. The series would have been better served to have one artist or to have done a better job matching styles.

The trade paperback concludes with "Ripe for Plunder" written by the Tiptons and art by J.K. Woodward. It is the backstory that ran through each issue in 4-page increments and reveals how Picard discovered the Prime universe and what happened to Mirror Spock after his encounter with Prime Kirk.

Other than Worf only investigating Jones, the plotting in Through the Mirror is smart and fun, and it shows the writers have a good understanding of the characters and both universes. The outcome of the crews fighting against each other ends as expected but would have been better served with more drastic results. The miniseries concludes with a great twist, setting up Terra Incognita, which I am very curious to read.

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