"Ship's Log: Star-Date 3133.4. This cinder, this empty death of a world."Reading the first issue of IDW's The City On The Edge Of Forever, it quickly becomes clear this isn't your grandfather's Star Trek, this is Harlan Ellison's.
This five-part adaptation aims to present Ellison's original vision for the highly regarded and immensely popular episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.
I almost baulked at picking the issue up when I learned that it was being handled by Scott and David Tipton, having been totally underwhelmed by their lacklustre Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who (where JK Woodward also handled the art duties) and Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time, but it's quite evident that their role is more akin to a midwife, shepherding the transition of Ellison's award-winning script to the comic book page, than actually originating the material.
Woodward's painted artwork has also improved since the distorted grimaces of The Next Gen/Doctor Who crossover tale the other year, and he really captures the likenesses of the original '60s cast as well as the otherworldly eeriness of the planet of the Guardians Of Forever.
It's a well-known piece of Star Trek lore that Ellison's original City On The Edge Of Forever differs wildly from the beloved version seen on TV and IDW's comic does an incredible "what if..." job, thanks to the Tiptons' respectful treatment of Ellison's words and Woodward's almost photorealistic art.
Wrap the whole deal in a Juan Ortiz retro cover and you've got yourself a winner.
I didn't think IDW could do any better with the Star Trek franchise than John Byrne's brilliantly entertaining series of 'photonovel' comics but The City On The Edge Of Forever looks like it might just do that.