Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Location: Greenville SC
|Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:27 pm Post subject: Mission's End TPB
|Star Trek - Mission's End
It's amusing to me that a story titled "Mission's End", that details the final events of the original five-year mission, features Spock, Kirk and Gary Mitchell on the cover in their "Where No Man Has Gone Before" uniforms. It is a great cover though, I have to admit. And the story begins before that episode, as Kirk's crew investigate an artificial structure with intelligent insect-like life forms and attempt to make first contact.
Yep, the aliens in this story are giant bugs. More specifically, spiders, dragonflies and millipedes. It's not exactly high concept, and it's not the usual bumpy forehead aliens, but after the initial chuckle at the silliness, I found that I liked it. It's a slightly hokey idea that gives us far more alien-looking creatures than the Klingons or Romulans. And the lettering when they speak is quite different too. A little hard to read perhaps, but interesting to look at, and it helps to enforce how different these creatures are from humans. For once, budget and makeup limitations don't apply, and so we get creatures that none of the live action Trek series could have depicted, particularly not the original series.
So the first chapter concerns first contact with these aliens. We see the early crew serving under Kirk with Gary Mitchell and Lee Kelso present and accounted for. Spock and Uhura are in their gold uniforms, and Sulu isn't flying the ship yet. First contact is successful, and Spock's discovery of the dangerous nature of the artificial planetoid's nature makes it imperative that the Federation stake a claim on this planet before a hostile power in the quadrant can move in.
The remaining four chapters deal with the intended induction of the spider society into the Federation, and it's actually set at the end of the five-year mission. There's quite a bit going on here as things inevitably go wrong. Kirk ponders an offer of promotion to Admiral. The Orion syndicate plots to take control of the artificial planet, and have an agent planted on the Enterprise. Scotty pulls a trick similar to the one in the recent movie to shut down a small singularity, leaving the Enterprise without warp drive. Indeed, the poor Enterprise takes a beating in this story, and is seen berthed in spacedock in the final pages, ready for the refit that we see in the motion picture.
I won't repeat the entire plot, but it works well enough and most of it makes sense in the end. Kirk, Spock and McCoy get their usual strong roles, with Scotty getting the primary focus among the secondary characters. That feels just like classic Trek. M'Ress makes a cameo along with Arex. McCoy in particular gets a chance to shine as he and Chekov, along with some security redshirts, are captured by some of the crawlers who want McCoy's medical services.
The end of the story involves Kirk, Spock and McCoy making the choices that lead to where we find them in TMP. McCoy chooses to retire, saying that Starfleet is a young man's game. Spock, disturbed by some of the choices he made during the crisis, leaves to return to Vulcan. And Kirk accepts the promotion to Admiral in the hopes that he'll be able to make more of a difference than he can as captain of a single ship. The final panel is a shot of the empty bridge, with Kirk hoping that he's made the right choice.
The art is quite good. Very detailed, and the character likenesses are pretty strong. And I love modern comic book coloring, which is so much richer and varied than it was back in the old newsprint days.
Overall: intelligent giant bugs are a very comic-booky concept, but since this is a comic book, it works. The character interactions conform nicely to classic Trek conventions, and it's novel and welcome to see more of the briefly seen Enterprise crew from the second pilot. The idea of Kirk's final mission has been done before in at least one novel, but I don't mind other takes on the idea.
My deviant art page: http://andersonh1.deviantart.com/