Monday, 18 March 2019

Rounding Up: The Graphic Novel Collection Issues 44 - 47

Once more diving into the Eaglemoss Graphic Novel Collection, Ian Kimmins opens the pages of another four issues...

Volume 44 Burden of Knowledge is written by well known Trek comic book writers Scott & David Tipton. The brothers are well known in the Star Trek universe for such classics as The City on the Edge of Forever, TNG/Dr Who crossover and the recent Mirror Broken among others, so you know you are going to get a well written tale.

In this volume we actually get four stories that all take place within the initial five year mission. Up first is Uncertain Prescriptions in which the  is heading to Mygadlus 3 for a routine mission(is there such a thing in Star Trek?). A new world wishes to join the United Federation of Planets however it doesn’t turn out to be all that it seem!

Up next is A Failure to Communicate and it’s another planet in the middle of a rebellion story albeit one with a difference-all the citizens are joined together by a thought network. As things escalate it’s up to Kirk to decide if he can interfere as they discover an underground group who have opted out of the shared mind.They resolve the issue in a typical Star Trek way and the planet realizes they are not ready to join the Federation just yet.

The third story is A Matter of Perspective which starts off with an Andorian engineering team coming aboard the Enterprise to perform some maintenance and display some un- Federation-like qualities. Once completed the Enterprise is sent to find the Lavota wind which they find destroyed and seemingly the Tellerites are at fault. As they sail into what looks like another interstellar incident the crew realise the Enterprise computer is giving them an Andorian point of view. As Kirk uses his charm to get them out of their latest predicament they receive a distress call from Lt Thompson who is looking for them to rescue him except Thompson is currently sitting at the Conn!!

The final story Burden of Knowledge continues the story of Thompson. Naturally the Thompson they rescue has short term memory loss. As the crew head back to Mygdalus 3(from the first tale) to investigate they discover a lot of Klingons & Gorn & even more Thompson’s! They are transporter replicants and
and how the Mygdalians were able to attract the interest of the Federation in the first place. The story does end a bit abruptly without any great resolution. Kirk just takes all the Thompson’s and leaves!!

We have our usual Gold Key Issue as-well The Evictors/The War that Captain Kirk Made. Overall this volume is another winner for DW/Eaglemoss although the ending of the main story is a little jarring.

Issue 45 covers Manifest Destiny which we have previously reviewed and has myself and Clive split on whether it's a good story or not. We'll let you refresh yourselves on our review before you make a call!

Issue 46 takes us into Year Four of The Original Series spinning right out of the closing moments of Turnabout Intruder. Continuing the epic adventures of the Starship Enterprise we have a very varied chain of events through this volume.  Drawing together a couple of visual styles across six issues, the narrative from David Tischman remains firm to the visions of Gene Roddenberry with the crew encountering new and exotic races (perhaps more exotic than the TV budget of 1966 might have allowed for) and even pushes the boundaries further than you might anticipate with the rather weird and wonderful trip to Phi-11 and it's TV-centric populace.

Each of the stories neatly dovetails into the next with one adventure leading to an encounter on the way to a second, a diversion on the way to a third world which ends up with the good captain tackling a robot nanny. Yes, a robot nanny.

Year Four certainly carries on some of the more outlandish moments of the third season of the show, adding in some wry humour from Tischman and a wonderful pallette if colours and pencils that brings the stories to life. It's not the most memorable of mini-series and I had to flick back to remind myself of the content of this issue but on reflection it looks great and reads OK.

At the back we have the ever-entertaining Gold Key with The World Beneath the Waves. Now, oddly, this isn't one of the weirdest adventures to have been packed into a volume however given the nature of some of the stories in the preceding pages of Issue 46 you might be forgiven for thinking that Kirk and Spock fighting sub-aquatic mutants is a bit tame...

Issue 47 Deep Space Nine: Requiem offers up a more gritty style from the halls of Malibu Comics. Seven stories beam in to the pages here returning us to the earlier and less Dominion heavy years of the station. Entering the fray through a story led by Jake and Nog, these are fast moving tales from writers including Trek novelist John Vornholt and franchise historian Mark A Altman.

This set touches on the events of Wolf 359 allowing fans to "see" the battle like never before since the page provides less restriction graphically. It opens up a chink in the armour of Sisko which was rarely approached the more that the Dominion took hold of the Alpha Quadrant.

Kira gets to go on vacation and gets involved with something not too unlike mini-Pacific Rim robot wars before - and not without want - the Cardassians turn up to add more dirt to the already raw comic strip.

Malibu's issues were much more grainy and "real" perhaps than the clean and crisp lines of, say, the Kelvin timeline but there's a more personal feel to the writing and a closer understanding of the nuances of the characters with Sisko for one being treated a lot better than he was on the screen at the time with some fairly decent material. Kira is almost spot on in her disdain for taking time off which would actually come up again in Defiant before having something of a change of heart towards the end of the story.

I would have liked to see a Deep Space Nine tale in the style of those Kelvin Timeline volumes from the later IDW years but this is a real sign of the times and telling of the era in which they were written. The short, fast-paced and rough edges here make the issue memorable and distinctive with only the Voyager stories - which would have been around the same time - showing any similarities in visual styling. As for the tales, they are very much defined by the more standalone nature of the first couple of years of the spin-off show and that's laid out in the way that each is unrelated to the next or previous. Worth a look and a read but potentially only accessible to more hardened Niners.

Gold Key's Prince Traitor reads like a 1930's epic swordfighting movie but once more a potential straight line of a story is expanded into the most campy of sci-fi concepts with senior staff riding ostriches and a reveal that wouldn't have been out of place in Errol Flynn's Robin Hood with only a few "forsooth's" missing just to get a full house. There;s lots of cheesy hokum to get your teeth into but I tend to find it's best in small bites to avoid sickness...

Issue 48 returns us to the Kelvin Timeline and we get the origin story of popular crewman 0718 and also to visit a newly discovered planet. It covers issues 31-34 of IDWs ongoing series. The first tale kicks off with a flashback and we get the story behind crewman 0718 who appeared in Star Trek Into Darkness.There are some story parallels that run similar to the motion picture This story highlights what the comics and Mike Johnson have done well and that’s give a bit more life and meaning to the Kelvin universe. The next tale finds the Enterprise on an undiscovered planet Naturally they discover some human DNA and a child’s NASA drawing. This is a good Trek tale that interweaves a few different Trek stories to produce another great read from IDW.

The less said about the Gold Key Issue The Oracle the better! It reads like Spock’s Brain crossed with a Spock bobblehead and gets even crazier than that!

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