Although I wrote up a very spoiler-filled piece for Movies.com on the comic book prequel to the Star Trek Into Darkness film, I avoided any critique of it. Readers of that site want to know about the film and how the book might relate to the film, and don't care if I think David Messina wears his Terry Dodson influence on his sleeve.
Typically, I find Trek comics boring, though I count myself as a Trek fan, and I think I was mostly relieved to find that this comic wasn't dull. More than that, I'm so hooked by the last page reveal, that I'm definitely in for the second issue, if only to sate my curiosity as to how this all fits in with J.J. Abrams' sequel. As movie tie-ins go, Countdown to Darkness #1 is quite the little tease.
Licensed comics with recognizable likenesses are not the best showcase for an artist, as they're usually hamstrung by photo reference, but Messina does a nice enough job. Kirk looks almost boyishly young, missing some of the darkness in Chris Pine's face, but his Spock is right on (and appears more than Kirk in this first issue).
Screenwriter Robert Orci lends Mike Johnson a hand so that the book can be canonical with the Abrams version of the Star Trek universe. The set-up for this issue is strictly Star Trek 101 stuff - routine scanning turns into something unexpected, the Prime Directive is questioned - so for hardcore devotees, the real reason to pick it up is for promise of the last page. If you're not too into Star Trek, or you're only really familiar with the 2009 film, then this book does a capable job as the start to what should be an interesting space adventure.
(Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness is a four-issue limited series from IDW. The first issue is released today.)