Joe Phillips

Star Trek 8 (May 2012)

864291I’m trying to imagine what Phillips’s pencils must look like. He does so little work on faces–relying almost entirely on the colorist to fill in depth–I wish I could see the pencils. People probably look like blobs with eyes.

If you haven’t guessed, the art is terrible. Johnson still comes up with a fairly decent story. It gets talky at times; he’s better writing dialogue for the guest stars than the supporting Enterprise crew. Sulu in particular has no personality in Johnson’s Trek.

Johnson doesn’t so much rely on surprises as reasoned behavior, which is a fairly neat route to take… given some of the guest stars are Vulcan.

There’s a strange smallness to the issue too. It almost seems intentional; to mimic the confined sets of the old TV show. If so, it’s the coolest thing IDW’s done with Trek.

Besides the art, it’s pretty okay stuff.


Vulcan’s Vengeance, Part 2; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Joe Phillips; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Star Trek 7 (March 2012)

860890Johnson does a whole lot better when he’s not adapting episodes of the original “Star Trek.” Sure, it’s the whole point of this series, but this issue–the first original one–is leagues better than the previous ones.

Okay, Joe Phillips’s art is the same tepid, heavy on the likenesses, light on actual quality art the rest of this Trek series has had, but the story makes up for it.

This issue’s a sequel to the Trek revamp movie, with rogue Vulcans and Romulans in some kind of intrigue and the Enterprise getting involved. Johnson writes a really good scene for Kirk and Spock, something I can’t remember having happened before. Clearly the adaptations are too constrictive for his writing.

The other plus is the end reveal. It’s a great soft cliffhanger end reveal, feeling exactly like one before a commercial break.

It’s nice to actually enjoy reading this series.


Vulcan’s Vengeance, Part 1; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Joe Phillips; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Star Trek 4 (December 2011)

These comics ought to come with a fifty cents off coupon for buying the original “Star Trek” episode online.

If I’ve seen the episode, The Galileo Seven, I don’t remember it. But I do know the resolution must be somewhat different because Johnson’s finish for this issue is firmly in movie continuity.

The issue’s a failure, partially due to the awkward pacing, the rest due to Phillips’s art. Molnar is reduced to a layouts credit.

Johnson can’t make the comic, based on television pacing, exciting. Meaningful looks fail, as do the action scenes. And Phillips is so weak, any time Johnson does come up with a good moment, it flops. There’s one in particular, with Kirk spouting off regulations, where Phillips misses the humor. He’s clearly just too busy poorly tracing publicity photos of Chris Pine.

If I were reading Trek for quality, I’d give up now.

I’m not, however.

Star Trek 3 (November 2011)

Once again, Mike Johnson does well enough adapting an original “Star Trek” episode to the new movie’s continuity. Well enough means it utterly lacks any personality.

This issue Uhura gets the most “movie” personality, just because of her romance with Spock. But even with those added details, she barely makes any impression.

Instead, it’s all Spock, McCoy and the red shirts stranded on a hostile planet. No one agrees with Spock about how to proceed, but he’s in charge, yada yada. He’ll undoubtedly save the day.

The issue also introduces Yeoman Rand, who didn’t get a movie appearance, and Johnson just does it as a nod to the original series. I don’t think she has a line after her first panel.

The art’s a mess. Stephen Molnar manages to use the movie likenesses, Joe Phillips doesn’t. Neither is particularly good, Molnar just fulfills the task better.

Trek remains a curiosity.

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