Friday, 15 February 2019

Rounding Up: The Graphic Novel Collection Issues 40 - 43

It's time for another four issue catch up with the Eaglemoss Graphic Novel Collection and this time we're crossing realities, combating Cardassians and entertaining a bit of crew possession with Ian Kimmins as our guide...

The fortieth edition of the series takes place after Into Darkness and we get a few call backs to previous Trek canon such as Section 31 and Khitomer. We also get to see Sulu's younger sister who plays a big part in this story.

Section 31 and the Romulans are trying to destroy the Klingons and you can imagine Kirk doesn’t take to kindly to this and figures out a way stop them. Overall this is a solid story with a few nice nods to canon but it’s the next story in this volume that stands out and we encounter that familiar Star Trek trope The Mirror Universe-although this one is a bit different as we get to meet Captain Jane Tiberia Kirk and her gender swapped crew. It is a fun read especially meeting characters such as Jason Rand & this universes Scotty-Majorie Scott. You also what know the characters are going to do & say but it doesn’t matter as Mike Johnson has again crafted a great story that leaves us looking for more. We also have our usual off the wall Gold Key story which always manages a raise a smile!

This issue's Gold Key release is A Bomb in Time which transports Kirk to 1955 and Scotty (looking oddly like a Vulcan) to 1855 in search of a scientist's deadly weapon. A rare Gold Key time travel instalment sees Kirk tracking the doctor on a movie set with his chief engineer gunfighting even further in the past. Total entertaining hogwash!

The DC Star Trek: The Mirror Universe saga is one of the greats of all time and a tale that this collection would have been idiotic to miss.

It provides us with another alternative timeline, this time in a "What If..." The Voyage Home  hadn't been made as this story has the Mirror Universe ISS Enterprise and her crew from Mirror, Mirror leading a potential invasion of our universe.

Bringing back the whole of the crew from the Mirror Universe, we also reconnect with Captain Styles and the USS Excelsior and travel to Earth and Vulcan in an adventure of galactic proportions. 

Spread over four issues the story has just about everything as Kirk faces off against his Mirror self and the legendary goatee'd Spock. There's duplicity in abundance and everyone seems to be running to their own agendas in some of the tightest writing that Star Trek comics ever saw. Visually there are a few times the ships look a bit odd but the character resemblances are very close to their real versions.

This tale is written by Mike W. Barr who wrote extensively for DC's Star Trek line. Barr had a direct line with Harve Bennett and had a general knowledge of where the movies were heading and so could plan his stories in advance. Once Star Trek III was out of the way, DC decided to do an eight issue tale focusing on the Mirror Universe. 

Not only did we get to see the main cast in this alternate story but we also got to see characters such as Saavik with Barr’s own creations Ensign Bearclaw the Klingon Konom. As for the story it’s a classic and I won’t spoil it here but suffice to say 35 years later it’s still considered one of the best for a reason. 

Issue 38 of the Gold Key reprints is included too; Kirk is relieved of command, turns up on Mobil in disguise while the crew of the Enterprise threaten a mutiny in One of Our Captains is Missing. All in all just your usual Gold Key story which ignores pretty much anything to do with canon and there's even a new captain who rubs the crew up the wrong way for added value. Entertaining; certainly. This volume is not to be missed. It’s one of the best.

Volume 42 is The Next Generation: The Pilot. Nope, not a graphic novelization of Encounter at Farpoint but an alien takes over Data story. This issue has a story running through all the various tales -the Enterprise is turning up and wreaking havoc in various places but, shock horror it's not. It’s a fairly early attempt at a somewhat serialized story - very popular today in the likes of Discovery. Also something very similar to this thread would be utilised within the fourth season of Enterprise with the Romulan Drone Ship. While it is an interesting idea with the story set during season three it all feels very pedestrian. Even the Gold Key story isn’t all that great. All in all probably one for the completist only.

Issue 39 of the classic Gold Key line is included here in the form of Prophet of Peace. Awakening and curing a scientist who was cryo-frozen, the Enterprise makes a rare nip back to Earth with references to the Third World War plus we get to see some of the world's most well-known landmarks "updated" for the 23rd Century. Of course it's not all that simple and as always with a Gold Key story there's an ending that is exceptionally unStarTrek...

Volume 43 is Deep Space Nine’s Hearts and Minds which was originally published by Malibu Comics and written by Mark A.Altman who you may know from the 50 Year Mission books and the rather excellent Inglorious Treksperts podcast.

In this tale the Klingons and the Cardassians are out to cause problems for the station. The Klingons arrive looking for a missing ship and their prime suspects are the Cardassians. Naturally this is left up to Captain Sisko to sort out so he dispatches Dax and Bashir along with a Klingon officer to find out what they can about the missing ship. 

Meanwhile back on Deep Space Nine Quark gets an offer to sell his bar-sell up or be killed! Quark runs straight to Odo and they find out why Maura wants the bar so badly. Character-wise, Altman has these two on the dot and carrying on just as they would in an episode of the show with a situation that's slightly reminiscent of Rivals from season two.

Out on a runabout Dax and Bashir are still investigating the missing Klingon ship only to be captured by the Romulans!! It turns out they were behind it all and the Klingons are out for revenge (you'd have thought everyone would have learned what they're like after Unification). Once they’ve dealt with the Romulans we end on a nice bit of interplay between Quark and Odo with the constable keeping the contract that Quark had signed to sell the bar. Very in keeping with the nature of the show and also the two classic Deep Space Nine characters.

This issues Gold Key is Furlough to Fury which introduces McCoy's daughter Barbara. She appears in another issue of Gold Key but never again. All other references are to Joanna -The Way to Eden was originally to feature her as have any other references throughout any canon or non-canonical material. This is one of the less wacky stories from the Gold Key era and while not canon it’s nice to get a bit of a backstory for McCoy.

That's your lot for now from Ian and Clive on The Graphic Novel Collection. Next time we'll be catching up with issues 44 - 47.

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