Saturday, February 5, 2011

Issue One: The Wormhole Connection

DC Comics Star Trek Issue 1 (Feb. 84)  takes up immediately after the events portrayed in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. The crew, and particularly Admiral Kirk are still grieving the loss of Captain Spock. Spock of course, died saving the ship from the Genesis Torpedo launched by Khan. Spock's body is presumed to be resting on the newly formed Genesis Planet. Dr. Carol Marcus, a former flame of Admiral Kirk and their son David have returned to their research on space station Regula One and the crew of the Reliant have been dispatched for duty rotation and sick leave. Checkov is once again assigned to the Enterprise as weapons officer and Lt. Saavik steps into the position of Science Officer.  
The issue opens on Stardate 8141.5 with the USS Gallant under the command of Captain Bearclaw patrolling the Neutral Zone between Federation and Klingon space where there have been major violations of the Organian Peace Treaty by the Klingons .
Without warning, and seemingly from nowhere four Klingon Battle Cruisers appear and viciously attack the Gallant.  The Gallant is no match for the onslaught.  The ship is destroyed rather easily and then as quickly as they appeared the warships disappear again.
The attack on the Gallant gives us our first look at Konom-a peace loving Klingon who doesn't share his comrades love of violence and blood and guts glory for glory's sake. More on him later.
 After the Gallant's destruction the story moves on to a meeting between Admiral Kirk and Grand Admiral Turner.  Kirk wants to become permanent Captain of the Enterprise.  Kirk's realized that being Captain of the Enterprise is his "first, best destiny" and he doesn't want to let go of the Enterprise again.  Admiral Turner agrees. Kirk beams aboard as Captain of the ship. All of the "old hands" are back in their familiar places minus Mr. Spock and it's time for the Enterprise to swing back into action. Starfleet dispatches the Enterprise to the Neutral Zone in an effort to quail the Klingon insurgency.
On the way to the Neutral Zone we are introduced to Ensign Bryce who is the daughter of one of the bridge crew from the doomed USS Gallant.  Bryce has a chance encounter with another Ensign-Ensign Bearclaw who's father was also stationed aboard the Gallant as its Captain. Bearclaw blames Bryce for the destruction of the Gallant.  The two break out into a fist fight that Admiral Kirk happens into. He breaks the pair up and lays the law down about how he expects crew to behave on the Enterprise.  It's clear that we'll be seeing some interesting interaction between Bryce and Bearclaw in the future.
Once at the Neutral Zone, Admiral Kirk does a little "fishing" for the Klingons.  He is not disappointed. Out of nowhere four Klingon battle cruisers show up and start dishing out the punishment to the Enterprise.  Kirk is ready for them and manages to fend off their attack.  The Klingons retreat but not before Konom, the strange Klingon with a conscious sends out a strange signal...
Meanwhile, Kirk has some issues with Lt. Saavik.  He doesn't think she's doing her job very well. 
Saavik doesn't know how to handle Kirk's criticisms, which she believes are mostly unfair.  She seeks out Dr. McCoy and asks him for advice. McCoy sympathizes with the Lt. but tells her to basically "buck up".  He asks if confiding in him has helped her any and she tells him "no". It's a humorous moment.  McCoy then goes to Kirk and gently reminds him that Spock is gone and no one will be able to fill his shoes. Kirk promises to give Saavik a fair shake.
Later in a staff briefing Saavik brings up the strange signal she intercepted during the Klingon attack.  Scotty identifies the signal as a wormhole signiture. Kirk and Scotty deduce that the Klingons are traveling through a wormhole of their own making, making it appear as if the Klingons are materializing out of nothingness. Scotty rigs the transporter and a shuttlecraft for a look-see into the Klingon wormhole.  Kirk and ensign Bryce materialize inside the wormhole to see...

A Klingon space station with a whole hell of a lot of fire power!!!

 Writer Mike W. Barr's handle on Star Trek was pitch perfect. Not only did he provide believable interpretations of our beloved Enterprise crew but he also introduced several new characters into the mix that felt like genuine characters and not throwaway cardboard cutouts. Bryce and Bearclaw and Konom and the rest gave our aging crew a graceful blood transfusion.
This new iteration of Star Trek would mix believable character moments with the mandatory action/adventure aspect of the show.  Issue one made it clear that DC Trek was going to make efforts to be as thought provoking and humanistic as the television show.  And, that my friends is a good thing.
I enjoyed the whole subplot this issue with Saavik trying to take over for Mr. Spock and yet make the position uniquely her own.
Konom, a good Klingon?? The thought was pretty radical. Remember, this was a few years before the introduction of Worf in the Next Generation.
Bryce and Bearclaw were interesting new characters. I was excited to see their stories develop.