By Peter David, Tom Sutton & Ricardo Villagran (DC Comics)
Here’s another comfortingly superior comic adventure of the most venerable science-fiction franchise in history seamlessly blending spectacular drama, subtle character interplay and good old fashioned thrills, with the added ingredient of madcap whimsy thanks to the strip debut of Peter David as scripter. This tense, swashbuckling space-opera (originally printed in issues #49-55 of DC’s monthly Star Trek comic-book) pulls together many old plotlines (but in an easily accessible manner for newcomers) in a fantastic whodunit liberally sprinkled with in-jokes and TV references for the über-fans to wallow in.
In the aftermath of a drunken stag-night near-riot (caused by three very senior officers separately spiking the punch) The Enterprise crew discover a rogue Federation ship is destroying remote colonies in an apparent attempt to provoke all-out war with the Klingons. At one decimated site they find a stunted, albino Klingon child who holds the secrets of the marauders, but his traumatised mind will need special care to coax them out.
Things are no easier aboard ship. Not only is the big wedding of two officers suffering last-minute problems, and a promising ensign must be cashiered for the High Crime of Species Bigotry, but a telepathic crew-member contracts Le Guin’s Disease (that’s one of those in-jokes I mentioned earlier) endangering the entire ship as Kirk is fighting for his life after being stabbed…
This inter-galactic murder-mystery masterfully weaves a compelling web of elements into a fabulous yarn of great and small moments, capped for the faithful by the “return” of Kirk’s Starfleet Academy nemesis Sean Finnegan (who first appeared in the classic TV episode Shore Leave – written by the legendary Theodore “Ted” Sturgeon) as the investigating officer dispatched to solve the case.
Seductively understated art from Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran perfectly augments this magically compelling script to produce one of the greatest Star Trek stories in any medium, which will please fans of the franchise and any readers who just love quality comics.
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