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 collects issues #0-5 written by David & Scott Tipton and art by J.K. Woodward, with colors by Charlie Kirchoff for issues 2-5. The Empire is in decline, with its fleet pushed back to Earth’s solar system by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the I.S.S. Stargazer is not happy about this and sees an opportunity to return the Empire to its full glory when he learns of a new Galaxy-class warship being developed, the Enterprise-D.
Aboard his ship, he schemes with crew members Counselor Deanna Troi, newly promoted Security Chief Reg Barclay, and the android Data, who is comprised of some technology reminiscent of the Borg. He also reaches out to some who serve on the Enterprise under Captain Edward Jellico, such as former Stargazer officer Geordi La Forge and former Troi lover Will Riker, to gauge their willingness to mutiny. With Riker next in line to command the Enterprise, he’s content serving with the devil he knows, but Picard presents a compelling argument in the form of a four-page barroom brawl.
The writing of the Tipons demonstrates they have strong grasp of the Trek universe, in which they have previously written numerous stories, including the Mirror Images miniseries. There are nice little touches like the appearance of Tasha Yar and from TOS, the neural neutralizer. They also do a very fine job with the storytelling. There’s a major space battle that sees the characters use their brains to calculate a battle plan rather than just relying on the brawn of the ship’s weaponry.
Woodward captures the appearance of the actors well with minor embellishments to the Mirror versions of the characters. I enjoyed his artwork, which has a wonderful watercolor appearance. There are not a lot of bright colors used, which along with a lot of grays and blacks, conveys a sense of this universe’s darkness.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken collection serves as a very good origin story, setting the stage for future adventures. The on-going war with the Klingons possibly means no Worf serving in the Empire, so it will be curious to learn if he has role. Although this ruthless warrior version of the future is not something creator Gene Roddenberry would likely be happy with long term, it is an engaging extension of the Mirror Universe and one the creators have me very eager to revisit.