Friday, 16 March 2018

Star Trek: New Visions #18 - IDW Publishing

STAR TREK: NEW VISIONS No. 18, October 2017
Pleasingly paced, with plenty of precarious photomontage pauses and difficult dilemmas dotted throughout the narrative, John Byrne’s script for Issue Eighteen of “Star Trek: New Visions” explores the intriguing prospect of a Constitution-class starship finding itself submerged deep inside a planet of living water, and its crew facing the claustrophobic challenge of surviving inside a vessel which has been “put together t’keep everythin’ inside. Not t’keep things out!” In fact, Mister Scott’s battle against an ever-rising tide of water which results in fifteen dead crew members, arguably proves to be a far more engaging element to this adventure than the U.S.S. Enterprise’s primary mission to explain how Polymax VIII was completely flooded, or Spock and McCoy’s meeting with a homicidal fish-man.

Interestingly, the West Midlands-born writer also uses “What Pain It Is To Drown” to show just how imperative the spacecraft’s captain is to the successful running of the ship. James Kirk is needed absolutely everywhere during this tale, whether it be to see “what ve are lookink for” on the Bridge, provide “a chance to try out those new environment suits Starfleet sent us” or simply swim down to Engineering in order to authorise Scotty’s “crazy idea of somethin’ that might get this liquid off th’ ship.” There’s even a scene where Mister Sulu suddenly realises there’s a chance to save the Enterprise by piloting it into “anudder von of does vortexes… about five thousand meters avay”, and yet refuses to “take the risk without the Captain’s order”, so instead inefficiently sends Mister Kyle off to locate his skipper…

Far less successful sadly is the former “X-Men” artist’s rationalisation as to just how the aggressive water-world which destroyed Polymax VIII came to exist. The initial appearance of the mechanically-armed Ulum of the planet Pluul seems the logical point to provide some justification behind the comic’s events. But instead, the Eagle Award-winner waits until the story’s final moments, when Spock mind-melds with the dying frog-faced alien, to confusingly explain that all the sea-based shenanigans were due to the insane extra-terrestrial committing suicide? Just how wiping out “billions” of humans and projecting his life energy into globules of water would atone for the fish-man’s belief that he was “solely responsible for the extermination of his [own] species” must have baffled this book’s bibliophiles, especially when the half-Vulcan Science officer unsatisfactorily admits that Ulum “had buried too deeply in his subconscious” exactly what he had done?

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
Photomontage: John Byrne, and Creator: Gene Roddenberry

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