by Michelle Erica Green

Wildstorm's new Deep Space Nine comic, N-Vector Part One, possibly has the ugliest artwork in the history of television-based comics. Other than the aliens, who are recognizable because of their lobes, nose wrinkles and Trill spots, I couldn't recognize a single character. The backgrounds are dark and lifeless, the rooms look large and empty, and from reading this book you'd think there were only 20 people on the entire station - boxy, unwieldy, amateurish-looking people. K.W. Jeter's story is serviceable, but the pencils by Tony Cypress and inks by Martin & Irwin really are painful to look at.

N-Vector - I have no idea what that refers to, we don't find out in this issue - begins with a couple of strange events. Nog discovers evidence of sabotage, and, stranger still, Quark gives away free drinks. As if Colonel Kira didn't have enough problems: not only are Sisko, Worf, and her lover Odo gone in the wake of "What You Leave Behind," but a Romulan wants to reopen his lab on the station.

Kira's awfully uptight and obnoxious, and seems rather insecure in command, but given the residual tension from the loss of half the command crew, that probably shouldn't be surprising. Bashir's not sure what's up with Quark, since Ezri finds his monomania completely in character for a Ferengi. When a suspect for the sabotage finally emerges, it's something of a shock. I'd feel better about trusting Jeter if Jeter hadn't written the only Deep Space Nine fiction hardcover, Warped, which apparently sold so poorly that Pocket Books has yet to publish another.

Moreover, N-Vector would be far more interesting if a single character looked anything like his or her television counterpart. Fan art contests at conventions feature more accurate, colorful and lively work than this. You'd have to be a serious fan to have any clue who these people are; casual viewers aren't even going to pick this comic up. Everyone wears dour expressions, even normally perky folk like Ezri and O'Brien, and the station's lights must be malfunctioning because everything looks dark and washed-out.

I'm sure this was a stylistic decision on the part of the editors rather than a lack of skill on the part of the artists, but that doesn't make it any less hideous. The Wildstorm original series and Next Generation books have thus far been excellent; let's see more of that kind of material, please.

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