The fallout from Captain Kirk's actions against the Klingons
and the Nasgul has left him on the run, with a vast price
on his head - and the bounty hunter Sweeney is aiming to collect.
Even if the Captain can escape the deadly Sweeney, his problems
are only just beginning. He must face trial for his supposed
"crimes" in order to preserve peace in the Federation...
those folks at Titan Books' marketing department are such
fibbers! Once again, their press release describes this Star
Trek Comics Classics series as a chronological presentation
of Kirk and co's comic-book adventures. That isn't strictly
true, because five years' worth of DC Comics stories were
omitted between the first volume, To
and the second, Death
Before Dishonor. This compilation, reprinting
issues 7-12 of the second DC series, picks up where Death
Before Dishonor left off.
At least this time around writer Peter David is able to get
on and do his job with minimal interference from the powers-that-be
(or rather the powers-that-were) at Paramount. He is left
alone to build upon the events of previous issues and previous
movies. He even manages to throw in a couple of sneaky references
to the first DC series: a graveyard scene involving Scotty
in the fourth episode, The First Thing We Do..., contains
subtle allusions to his 1988 Star Trek annual, Retrospect.
his work continues to echo the heavy-handed humour of Star
Trek V: The Final Frontier,
it tends to work better than it did in the previous volume.
Genuinely funny moments include McCoy choking on his drink
as Kirk asks, "Do you think I like women?" and the Captain's
Moonlighting-style love/hate sparring with protocol
officer R.J. Blaise.
moments also serve to highlight David's great talent for writing
beautifully crafted dialogue during more serious scenes. Witness
the emotive exchange between Spock and his father Sarek in
The First Thing We Do... and Leonard James Akaar's
stunning statement of devotion in the subsequent episode,
...Let's Kill All the Lawyers!
addition to Akaar (who was born in the episode Friday's
and went on to appear as a Starfleet officer in several subsequent
Pocket Books novels), other blasts from the past include the
UFP President, the Klingon ambassador (both from Star
Trek IV: The Voyage Home), the lawyers Samuel
T. Cogsley and Areel Shaw (Court
Anan 7 (A Taste of Armageddon), Bela Oxmyx (A Piece
of the Action) and Maltz (Star
Trek III: The Search for Spock), all of whom
attend Kirk's trial. The presence of the latter contradicts
the novelisation of Star Trek IV, in which the Klingon
ambassador suggests that Maltz committed suicide while in
Federation custody. However, this could just have been a cover
story put out by the Federation to conceal the Klingon officer's
repatriation, lest its citizens object to such lenient treatment
of a member of an aggressive species. As it happens, Maltz's
survival and resulting disgrace in the eyes of his fellow
Klingons ties in well with events in Pocket's three-part Genesis
Klingons' baiting of Kirk over the death of this son, David,
in Star Trek III coincidentally serves as an effective
precursor to his distrust of the species in Star
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
In the original DC series, the Captain had tended to be more
open-minded about Klingons, so these scenes represent an important
development in his character, particularly for aficionados
of the comics.
a visual point of view, James W Fry and Arne Starr are still
far from being my favourite Star Trek art team, though
there is a marked improvement in quality during the final
two episodes, during which Gordon Purcell takes over the pencilling
duties. The reproduction of the first instalment, Not...
Sweeney!, is rather poor, as the print fades out to the
left side of each page so that finer details are lost, while
Tom McCraw's colouring makes the Oriental characters in the
third episode, ...Gone!, look more like the Simpsons
niggles aside, though, this volume - which also includes archive
interviews with Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) and Walter Koenig
(Chekov) - is a page-turningly splendid collection, and not
a trial to read at all.
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