Book Review: Star Trek: New Visions Volume 6 by John Byrne

Welcome these stories into your Star Trek library.
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As stated in my previous reviews of this book series, "John Byrne and IDW Publishing are presenting the lost missions of the Original Series Enterprise crew in the form of photonovels. That format uses photographs instead of drawings like the Star Trek Fotonovels of the late '70s. Byrne manipulates images of characters and backgrounds from the [TV show] combined with new material such as dialogue [in word balloons], narration, and photos of actors playing new characters and bodies of old ones."  Volume 6 collects issues #15-17.

“The Traveler” finds the Enterprise crew boarding a ship that's bigger on the inside, although the humanoid alien they meet is not from Gallifrey regardless of what his multi-colored outfit might suggest. He attempts to use Enterprise in his millennium-long battle. The story has a good plot twist when the Q'al are revealed. The two-page “Should Old Acquaintance Be Forget...” sets up Janice Rand's return to the Enterprise.

“Time Out of Joint” is a marvelous time-travel story. When the Enterprise comes under attack, Kirk finds himself unstuck in time, shifting to different moments of his life with every doorway he passes through. He not only goes back into his past, running into his old friend Gary Mitchell and his nemesis Finnegan at Starfleet Academy, as well as the night Dr. Janet Wallace ends their relationship, but into the future, three weeks after Rand, now a Lieutenant in the Sciences division, has returned. Seeing old characters return is not only a wonderful treat for fans, but fit the confines of the story rather than feeling like forced fan service.

The six-page “Home” sees Rand's return to the ship, assigned to the library. Her old crew mates are happy to see her, and although widowed, she's still carrying a torch for Captain Kirk. Fans of the animated series will know who joins the crew in the one-page “Those Who Play With Cats...” as Sulu and Chekov check out the new arrivals.

The Enterprise answers a distress call from a Federation science team on a planet experiencing an ice age in “All the Ages Frozen.” Away teams find an abandoned science vessel in orbit and the temporary base having been attacked. The cause of the mystery is a familiar science fiction storyline, but the motivation behind the actions and the resolution were interesting.  Also, it's good to see McCoy come to the forefront in solving matters.

The stories collected in Byrne's New Visions, Volume 6 are a satisfying continuation of the Original Series and I am eager to see future issues and/or volumes by him. Trek fans who aren't already on board are missing out as Byrne does a great job with the plots, and more importantly, the characters. He understands them and has them speak and behave in manners long-time watchers recognize. In addition to Byrne's strong skills as a writer, he continues to do a very good job manipulating the art to tell the story. Some of the new items still don't blend well with original-series material but after initially seeing them, they become less jarring.

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