Star Trek Volume 11 by Mike Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
IDW’s re-imagining of certain episodes of the original (and still the best) Star Trek has been hit or miss. This latest installment, collecting issues 46 – 49 of the on-going series is no exception.
The collection starts off with a re-telling of one of my favorite installments from classic Trek, “The Tholian Web.” As with other re-imaginings of episodes from the original series, I find myself torn between wanting the story to be as faithful as possible to the original story and somehow offer me something new to make it feel like it’s worth my time to spend reading this version of the story. Unfortunately, this telling of the Tholian storyline doesn’t really succeed on either level. The new twist is that in the re-imagined universe, the NCC-1701 has the ability to separate the saucer section. So the Enterprise is in two pieces, trapped in the titular web, which I suppose should double the drama. Instead it merely isolates the characters who need to be working together to get out of this region of space.
The story also misses the opportunity that the original took full advantage of — giving us a really good Spock/McCoy storyline while Captain Kirk was presumed dead. McCoy takes himself out of the equation early in the story, which isn’t necessarily a move I can see our ship’s doctor making under the circumstances.
The next story is an original one called “Deity” and sees Sulu tapped to lead an observational mission on a planet where the inhabitants have descended from birds. Of course, things go awry and the technology meant to keep our landing party cloaked fails, thus violating the Prime Directive all over the place. Meanwhile, a ship has shown up in orbit that is threatening things — or is it? This is the most discouraging of the stories included here simply because it has some potential, very little of it realized. Some of this comes down to the artistic choice made for the bird inhabitants. Maybe it’s the sports fan in me, but I found it hard to take the aliens seriously when they look like the San Diego Chicken. Another part of it is that the story feels a bit derivative of Next Generation‘s “Justice” (only without the scantily clad natives to distract us) and that it’s stretched to run over two issues.
Finally there’s a one-shot story involving every doctor who has appeared in the Trek universe working together to stop a contagion that turns people to stone. It’s a nice idea and it’s fun to see Crusher, Pulaski and Bashir working together on the problem as well as the older JJ-verse version of McCoy running around. And yet as much as I complained about “Deity” feeling stretched out, I kept feeling this one was rushed to keep the page count to one issue. It’s frustrating that the story I wanted to spend more time with is the one that feels like it’s getting the most short changed.
All in all, the eleventh collection of the rebooted Trek comics is more misses than hits. But odds are I won’t give up on the series just yet. I have a feeling the comics may be used to set up some things for next summer’s Star Trek Beyond.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this collected comic from NetGally in exchange for an honest review.