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 7 collects issues #18-20.
During a routine resupply in the Polymax system in "What Pain It Is to Drown", the Enterprise crew discover planets flooded by toxic oceans and globules of liquid water in space, "some are more than 300 meters across." But it's not ordinary H2O as there are additional elements creating unknown chemical combinations.
When the source of the trouble is located, a shuttle is sent to investigate down to a planet, leading to the Enterprise getting caught with its hangar open as liquid shoots up, flooding the ship's interior and causing it to be submerged under the planet's surface. While the cause of the conflict is a common sci-fi trope, it was interesting to see Spock and McCoy have compassion for the perpetrator. Even more interesting was to see Byrne slip in that a gay couple had been serving on the crew.
That issue concludes with “R.H.I.P.” a single-page story of Chekov getting his own quarters, formerly those of Angela Martine, who appeared in “Balance of Terror” and “Shore Leave.” There's a suggestion that Chekov and Uhura are a couple.
A signal at least 200 years old from a planet with no life on it gets a visit from the Enterprise in “The Hunger”. The type of devastation discovered leads to a discussion on the Leiber-Kurtzberg (real last names of Marvel Comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) theory on the origins of life, “an as yet undiscovered form of energy which makes it possible for planets to support life.” Surprisingly after all he's seen and done as the Enterprise engineer, he simply dismisses it as “hoo-doo.”
They find the object responsible, similar to a class M planet, hollow inside, with an interior “dedicated entirely to energy storage.” Kirk is captured and confronted by the core of the construct, which seems to be alive. In order to rescue Kirk and save other planets, Spock conducts a theoretical maneuver involving two black holes that will “be th' hardest we e'er pushed” the ship, according to Scotty. The story works because of the science of Spock's plan is believable.
Something activating all the ship's emergency systems. The main crew finds themselves in “Isolation” on the Enterprise and Byrne graphically represents this on the page with the most interesting visuals of the entire book. Aaruu of the Twii, a pan-dimensional entity, is the cause, testing the crew. Kirk's memories are accessed as Edith Keeler, Commander Kang, and the Gorn appear. Aaruu confides in McCoy, who is given the chance to save the day. That issue concludes with “Like a Shadow...” a two-page story that sets up the eventual appearance of the holodeck.
The New Visions remain very enjoyable. It's fun to see further adventures of the Original crew, particularly because Byrne understands the characters, even if some times their actions are more motivated by the story. I can't wait to see what happens next.