Star Trek: Gold Key Archives volume 5


By Arnold Drake, John David Warner, George Kashdan, Allan Moniz, Alfredo Giolitti & various (IDW)
ISBN: 978-1-63140-598-3

Star Trek launched in the USA on September 8th 1966, running until June 3rd 1969: three seasons comprising 79 episodes. A moderate success, the show only really achieved its stellar popularity after going into syndication; appearing in all American local TV regions perpetually throughout the 1970s and beyond.

It was also sold all over the world, popping up seemingly everywhere and developing a fanatically devoted fanbase.

Comicbook franchising specialist Gold Key produced a series which ran for almost a decade beyond the show’s cancellation. Initially these were controversially quite dissimilar from the screen iteration, but by the time of the tales in this sturdy full-colour hardback collection (reprinting issues #25-28 and #30-31 from July 1974 to July 1975), quibbling fans had little to moan about and a great deal to cheer as the series was the only source of new adventures starring the beloved crew of the Starship Enterprise.

Following an Introduction – ‘Discovering New Tales’ by Trek writer expert Bjo Trimble – the exploratory escapades resume with a fast-paced thriller written by Arnold Drake and illustrated as always by Alberto Giolitti.

Here the USS Enterprise arrives at a planet which seems recently deserted, only to discover aberrant solar radiation is causing planetary matter and objects to shrink into non-existence. With the landing party captured by the diminishing natives, Chief Engineer Scott investigates the sun itself and gets a major overdose of the radiation. In a desperate race against time, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy must pull out all the stops to save the incredible shrinking man and the ‘Dwarf Planet’

John David Warner scripted and Angelo Todaro assisted Giolitti in crafting ‘The Perfect Dream’ for the next issue as the Enterprise crew face a Starfleet board of inquiry after their last mission ends with the obliteration of a planet.

As the testimony unfolds the bemused officials hear the incredible story of an unstable world-sized ship, a utopian culture chillingly reminiscent of Earth’s feudal Shogunate of Japan, a deranged geneticist using clones to build an impossibly idealised and stratified society and a mad scheme to repeat the experiment with Vulcans grown from Spock’s stolen DNA…

In ‘Ice Journey’ (Warner & Giolitti) the Enterprise is conducting a highly suspect population survey on sub-arctic world Floe I which soon drops Captain Kirk, Spock and evolutionary specialist Dr. Krisp into the middle of a eugenics-fuelled race war…

‘The Mimicking Menace’ – written by George Kashdan – pits the veteran starmen against deadly duplicates of themselves on a bleak volcanic asteroid before they discover the attacks and bizarre energy drains are the result of First Contact with a radically new form of life…

Star Trek #29 was a reprint of the very first issue so we skip here to #30 and ‘Death of a Star’ (scripted by Allan Moniz) with the Enterprise on site to observe a star going nova and catapulted into calamity as sensors pick up a planet full of life-readings where none should be. Moving swiftly to evacuate the endangered beings they are astonished to discover only one creature: an old woman who claims to be the dying sun…

Warner then concludes the entertainment with ‘The Final Truth’ with the Starfleet vessel officiating as new planet Quodar officially joins the Federation. The mission goes dreadfully awry after Captain Kirk’s shuttle – full of crewmembers and a Starfleet Admiral – crashes on pariah world Tristas where the survivors are captured by sadistic scientists obsessed with discovering the secrets of life. As Spock organises a rescue mission the embattled Kirk uncovers a staggering cosmic secret the Ministers of Science have been carefully concealing for eons…

Rounding out this compelling compendium are cast photos, a gallery of painted covers and a picture-packed historical feature highlighting ‘George Wilson: Gold Key Reprints’. Stunning sci fi thrills and dashing derring-do abound in this thrilling collection of comics classics which will delight not just TV devotees and funnybook fans but also any reader in search of a pictorially powerful grand adventure.
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