By Mike Johnson, Stephen Molnar, Joe Phillips & various (IDW Publishing)
The stellar Star Trek brand is one of probably the biggest franchise engines on Earth, permeating every merchandisable sector imaginable. You can find daily live-action and 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. Thereâ€™s even a new rebooted TV series beginning in 2017â€¦
Many companies have published comicbook adventures based on the exploits of Gene Roddenberryâ€™s awesome brainchild. Currently IDW have the treasured funnybook license and have combined great new tales with a choice selection of older examples from other publishers. In 2012 the company also began a long-term project adapting, updating and retelling classic episodes of the original â€œFive Year Missionâ€ in the context of the 2008 rebooted film franchise as re-imagined by J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Thus a series of very familiar yarns for older fans starring the visual likenesses of the new Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura et al, all working under the influence of very different social mores and far more complicated personal relationships, presented in lean, terse, stripped down comics that work with potently understated effectivenessâ€¦
Written by Mike Johnson and illustrated by Stephen Molnar & Joe Phillips, proceedings open with â€˜Where No Man Has Gone Beforeâ€™ as Chief Engineer Scott pushes his team to complete the million-&-one tasks necessary to keep a starship running. Itâ€™s the earliest days of a projected five-year voyage of exploration and rookie captain James Kirk is spending as much time playing chess with his beloved friend and academy comrade Gary Mitchell as his schedule will allow.
The quiet time ends when Science Officer Spock informs him of a distress beacon. It is being emitted by an artefact from legendary lost ship SS Valiant, vanished two centuries past. That vessel was attempting the same task as the Enterprise: finding the edge of the galaxy and seeing what was beyondâ€¦
The garbled records-data is unclear but indicates a terrible calamity, crewmen changing, something about extra-sensory perception and then nothingâ€¦
Apprehensive but undaunted, Kirk orders the ship onward and soon they are facing an energy phenomenon at the galactic terminus point: an energy-wall preventing further progress which explosively disrupts hundreds of ship-systems and has an agonising effect on many of the crew, especially Mitchellâ€¦
Soon the extent of a bizarre metamorphosis is apparent. Gary is no longer human. However, the problem is not the incredible array of psychokinetic abilities Mitchell is increasingly displaying but that he now clearly believes himself above and beyond humanity. When Uhura discovers that the crew of the long-vanished Valiant destroyed their own ship, Spock realises what must be done but finds it almost impossible to convince his wilful, emotionally-encumbered superior of the need to destroy his best friend before itâ€™s too lateâ€¦
â€˜The Galileo Sevenâ€™ is the next classic revamp as the Enterprise is diverted to deliver crucial medical supplies to a plague-wracked colony world. En route, the ship passes a rare cosmic phenomenon and, over-ruling the doctrinaire career-politician aboard, Captain Kirk allows his science staff time to briefly examine the cosmological treasure-trove before resuming the mercy-dash to Makus III.
Tragically the volatile quasar theyâ€™re focused on unleashes all its fury and the shuttlecraft Galileo 7 – carrying Spock, Dr. McCoy, Engineer Scott, Yeoman Rand and crewmen Latimer, Gaetano and Boma – is disabled in a wave of energy and only just manages to crash down on a nearby planet. Although breathable the atmosphere prevents their communications equipment from functioningâ€¦
Moreover, Taurus II is not uninhabited and the proto-sentient primitives evolving there donâ€™t like strangersâ€¦
As the stranded crew struggle to repair the cracked and crushed shuttle, the first death comes, but even after miracles are wrought and the Galileo is prepped for one last take-off, the sums are done and itâ€™s clear that not all of the survivors are going to be able to ride on the compromised, fuel-deprived final flight.
The closely-circling natives agreeâ€¦
With a clock ticking and thousands of lives at stake Kirk – after exhausting every avenue left to him – regretfully gives the order to abandon the search for his lost crewmen, but Uhura refuses to leave her lover Spock behind and instigates a mutinous, last-ditch attempt to rescue themâ€¦
Also featuring a copious â€˜Art Galleryâ€™ which includes covers and variants by David Messina & Giovanni Niro, Tim Bradstreet & Grant Goleash and Joe Corroney plus photosÂ and pin-ups of the new crew, this book is a simple, no-nonsense, old-yet-new space opera romp to please fans of the franchise and lovers of straightforward science fiction worlds of wonder.
Â® and Â© 2012 CBS Studios, Inc. Star Trek and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios, Inc. Â© 2012 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.