Saturday, 8 October 2016

Star Trek: Captain's Log: Harriman #1 - IDW Publishing

The second issue of a comic mini-series printed by “IDW Publishing” on “an infrequent basis” in 2010, “Star Trek: Captain’s Log: Harriman” closely follows the exploits of the U.S.S. Enterprise-B’s commander six months after the Federation starship’s maiden voyage as depicted during the 1994 American science fiction film “Star Trek Generations”. Indeed, Marc Guggenheim’s narrative focuses almost exclusively upon the impact that the excelsior-class vessel’s ‘filmed’ rescue mission to save two El-Aurian ships from the mysterious Ribbon’s gravimetric field has had upon the officer, as well as his traumatic realisation that everyone will always remember him as “the captain who’s responsible for the death of a monument”, retired Captain James Tiberius Kirk.    

Such a dauntingly destructive legacy for a man arguably at the pinnacle of his Starfleet career is incredibly well-handled by the Long Island-born screenwriter, especially when his failings aboard the ship are feistily highlighted to him by both an incredibly prickly Doctor McCoy and the doubtful, ever-questioning behaviour of his bridge crew; “As best as I can tell, Jim Kirk was in command. He was calling the shots. You were figuratively balled up in the fetal position.” Certainly the titular character’s self-torment and indecisiveness must have markedly reminded the title’s 5,610 readers of actor Alan Ruck’s marvellous portrayal of the ineffective 'Big Silver Screen' incarnation of John Harriman.

Surprisingly however, particularly when one considers just how much of the script is dedicated to their dwelling upon “Jim’s death”, it is not the New Yorker’s dialogue-heavy debate between Bones and his superior which causes this twenty-two page periodical’s disappointment, but somewhat shockingly, Guggenheim’s inclusion of General Choroth and the Klingon Battlecruiser Vengeance. True, the American author’s touchingly sentimental flashback sequence to “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” as McCoy tells the deflated captain about his absent friend’s scuttling of the Enterprise, is an overly long and somewhat sickly sweet sequence. Yet its misplaced sentimentality pales in comparison with the excelsior-class vessel’s sheer impotence before its K’Tinga class opposition and the fact that the comic’s lead protagonist has to resort to sneakily transporting “the ship’s stores of photon torpedoes” inside the supposedly inferior Klingon craft in order to destroy it.

Equally as disconcertingly inconsistent is Andrew Currie’s breakdowns. The comic book artist’s depictions of John Harriman and Leonard McCoy are rather impressive caricatures of their movie counterparts, as is his renditions of Kirk, Scotty and the Enterprise-B bridge crew. Sadly though, the same cannot be said for the penciller’s drawings of the Klingons, whose prominent and instantly recognisable facial features look woefully misshapen and disfigured even when cleverly concealed in shadow by Moose Baumann's colours.
Writer: Marc Guggenheim, Art: Andrew Currie, and Colors: Moose Baumann

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