Abrams ComicArts, out now
An annotated guide to the complete Topps trading series.
Star Trek experts Block and Erdmann turn their attention to one of the less well-known offshoots of the franchise, the trading cards series. Starting with a potted history which puts the cards into context – with some surprising links to a Gerry Anderson show along the way – each of them is reprinted, front and back. Beneath are notes as to which episode the picture came from, and clarifications (in fact sometimes they go as far as being contradictions) of the original text.
It’s in these notes that the authors’ great love and knowledge of the franchise is most avidly displayed, and even if you’re a Trekker of long standing, chances are that you’ll learn something from these.
If you’re a Mr Sulu fan, you may be rather surprised by the cavalier treatment that your favourite helmsman received in the cards – George Takei’s back is seen very occasionally, but there are no major references to him, and even the cast list of the key characters fails to list him. Refusing to be deterred by this, and determined to place him in his correct place in the trading card pantheon, Block and Erdmann have overseen creation of cards that fill the gap…
While part of me wishes that the cards had been ‘recreated’ rather than just reprinted – i.e. clearer versions of the stills used, with the original text overlayed – as a historical record, this is probably the best way to go If only the British cards had made it as well… or are they going to be in book two?
Verdict: A fascinating insight into an occasionally forgotten side of Trek. 8/10