Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Picard: Countdown 3 - Background Info Abounds

If ever a delay told you a thousand stories...

The third and final issue of the prequel comic for Picard landed just after its premiere and you can kind of see why there was a delay given some of the material contained therein.

Note - there are unavoidable story spoilers to follow...

Countdown returns us to Yuyat Beta where Picard and Raffi have managed to avoid imprisonment discover that not all is well within the Romulan populace. 

Revealing a little more than the producers might have wanted to tell about a couple of characters ahead of Remembrance, issue three explores what seems to be a good commander and first officer relationship between "JL" and Raffi. Indeed, it appears that this story takes place just before the attack on Mars and Picard's subsequent resignation from Starfleet.

The action is pretty fast-paced here with us returning to the settlement to discover what the Romulan governor has been up to - and we find that their goal is not what it might at first have seemed. 

Issue three shows us that there has been some headway between the Romulans and Starfleet/the Federation but not a lot considering the dire straits of the former. The biggest factor here is in what we discover about Laris and Zhaban and ultimately how they come to be in Picard's employ at the estate. The characters in the show have received a little fleshing out and their reveal to be members of the Tal'Shiar came in episode two and not as it would have done in this comic had the original release schedule been adhered to. 

My thoughts are that the choice to delay - if it was for that reason - were wise, allowing viewers to query exactly what had driven them to Picard's side rather than remain in the crumbling Empire. Reading issue three after Maps and Legends ties in very nicely and actually makes the two much more distinct in their personalities so the writers here have to be given adequate credit for building on their characters. 

Also significantly and wisely, the relentless nature of the Tal'Shiar resonates through this story and most prominently in this issue - one thing that has already been of the greatest importance in the opening salvos of Picard itself. The distrust of the Romulans is something we have seen since The Original Series although truly manifested most decisively in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Here it still exists, especially when help is coming from a most unlikely source and we know that that source will ultimately let them down.

Picard: Countdown, you realise is one heck of a significant story once you pair it up with the TV series - it's Picard's final mission out in space, his final chance to make a difference and here he stands by all the values we would expect from Starfleet's most revered commander. If you've enjoyed the flashback pieces included in the show so far this will help your understanding that little bit more and since it comes from the pen of Kirsten Beyer who is part of the series' writing staff, you can be confident that this is recognised as fully canon material within the Star Trek Universe.

Picard: Countdown Issues 1,2 and 3 are available now.

You can read our coverage of the trilogy here

What were the key points you took from Countdown?

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