By D.C. Fontana, Derek Chester, Gordon Purcell, Joe & Rob Sharp & various (IDW)
Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: A Cosmic Christmas Cracker… 8/10
Star Trek debuted on American televisions on September 8th 1966 and pursued its declared “five-year mission” for three seasons comprising 79 episodes and running until June 3rd 1969.
Although a moderate success, the series only truly became a phenomenon after going into syndication, running constantly in American local TV regions throughout the 1970s. It was also sold all over the world, popping up seemingly everywhere and developing a remarkably passionate and devoted fanbase.
The stellar brand is probably one of the biggest franchise engines on Earth, permeating every merchandisable sector imaginable and becoming part of global popular culture and idiom. You can find daily live-action or animated screen appearances constantly screening somewhere on the planet, toys, games, conventions, merchandise, various comics iterations generated in a host of nations and languages and a reboot of the movie division proceeding apace even as I type this. There’s even a new rebooted TV series Star Trek Discovery…
Many companies have published comicbook adventures based on the exploits of Gene Roddenberry’s greatest brainchild. During IDW’s control of the treasured funnybook license they revived and re-released older iterations crafted by previous licensees and combined those choice selections of vintage exploits with great new tales from every aspect of the fictive universe.
In 2012 the company began adapting, updating and retelling classic episodes of the original 5 Year Mission in the context and with the likenesses of actors from the 2008 rebooted film franchise (as re-imagined by J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman). To supplement that graphic reconfiguration IDW also initiated another strand: exploring the most fundamental aspect of the mythology by crafting new tales from the never-filmed Fourth Year of the original mission…
To be strictly accurate, the 1973-1974 animated series from Filmation/Norway Productions is considered by most fans to cover that year and indeed a few of the characters from that era have made it into this story which was originally published in 2007 as 5-issue miniseries Star Trek: Year Four – The Enterprise Experiment before being collected as this engaging paperback or eBook edition.
‘The Enterprise Experiment’ springs from the fertile imagination of Classic Star Trek television scripter Dorothy Catherine “D.C.” Fontana, who wrote ten episodes of the original series and was story editor for the first two seasons. She also wrote for the Animated Series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
Here, with writing partner Derek Chester (Star Trek: Legacy) she explores that aforementioned Fourth Year, whilst revisiting her own teleplay The Enterprise Incident…
With the artists utilising the likenesses of the original 1960s cast, the action begins as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock pilot the shuttle Galileo towards the Enterprise. It shouldn’t be difficult, but the starship is testing a prototype cloaking device and is not responding as the projections predicted…
After heroic measures and deep cerebrations, the worried officers finally plot their craft aboard the Enterprise only to discover that the crew have utterly vanished. Moreover, even as Spock deduces what has happened and begins fixing the problem, the situation worsens after a Romulan Warbird decloaks to reveal an old enemy Commander who plans to reenergise her stalled career path by capturing the Federation prize, plundering its experimental technology and expiating her pent-up hostilities on the human and Vulcan who made a fool of her…
Blending tense suspense with stirring action this exploit is but a prelude to a far bigger story as the victorious Captain Kirk is plunged into another duel with Klingon enemy Kor.
After they first clashed (in TV episode Errand of Mercy) a highly advanced race calling themselves Organians used their god-like powers to enforce a détente between The Federation and Klingon Empire.
Now however, whilst illegally raiding a human mining colony, Kor has discovered and stolen ancient technology belonging to the primal species known as The Preservers. His plan is to sunder the Organians’ chafing brake on Klingon expansion and revenge himself on Kirk, but the desperate mission to stop him makes allies out of ancient enemies and neatly ties together numerous old exploits to reveal the origins of the great races of the universe and the Great Barrier sealing the galaxy from the greater universe.
And then the Organians return to pass judgement on the Federation and Klingons…
A total treat for lovers of the original series masterfully told and weaving together story-strands every fan grew up with, this is pure Trek gold.
Augmented by inkers Terry Pallot, Drew Geraci, José Marzán, Jr., Tom Nguyen, Bob Smith & Bob Almond, colourists Mario Boon, John Hunt & Jason Jenson and letterers Chris Mowry, Robbie Robbins and Neil Uyetake, veteran Trek illustrator Gordon Purcell delivers drama and tension in his immaculate understated manner, never forgetting that we’re here for the Enterprise crew not flashy graphics.
Supplementing the stellar experience is a full cover “Art Gallery” by the Sharp Brothers & Leonard O’Grady plus Fontana’s ‘Comic Book Proposal’ for the series to complete a heady experience of newly-minted nostalgia.
This is another fabulously enticing, expansive and engrossingly epic compendium of thrills, offering wonderfully engaging stories to delight young and old, fan or casual reader alike, and well worthy of your eager attentions.
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