When I was growing up two of the things that I was really into were comic books and Star Trek. I had stacks and stacks of comic books. With such a large investment made into reading material and being the entrepreneur that I was, I would actually charge my little cousin to read them. She still brings that up every once in a while. When I wasn’t reading comic books I was watching Star Trek. Any time there were reruns of the original series or the animated series, I was there. Usually wearing my Star Trek jacket. Gold Key Comics, which published from 1962 to 1984, brought the two passions of this money-grubbing geek of a kid together and all was right with the world. At least until 1979 when Gold Key lost the Star Trek rights to Marvel.
So there have been Star Trek comic books around almost as long as Star Trek has been around. As I grew older, I lost interest in comic books but never lost interest in Star Trek. To be honest I didn’t think I would ever get back into comic books, until I received two issues of IDW’s Star Trek: New Visions. This was far from the comics I grew up with. I was immediately impressed with the striking colors on the cover and the material was more like a paperback book than a comic book. As I open it, I am surprised to find action photos from the original series. What the heck is this and who did it?
A quick google of IDW and the series’ photo-novelist John Byrne led me to plenty of information about this innovative publishing company that was founded in 1999. Come to find out IDW has been putting out Star Trek comic books for years. Where have I been? Darn it! If only I hadn’t discovered girls!
Now as I cracked open Issue #3, I was a bit disappointed initially. I was already familiar with what I was seeing. All they have done is take an original episode, grab some screen shots, add some comic dialog bubbles, and put it out as a new product. Yeah, yeah, so this is the end of “The Doomsday Machine” episode. Commodore Decker is dead. I’ve seen this! [Sigh] Wait a minute. What is this? This was not in the original episode. Something happened after they killed the machine? Cool! It’s a combination of live action photos from the original series with artwork mixed in where needed to tell these new stories.
The stories in Issue #3 aren’t quite as interesting as those in Issue #4. There are two stories in Issue #3. “Cry Vengeance” relies more on the artwork and photos to add excitement to the story and “Robot” treads on familiar ground. Now, when we get to Issue #4 is when you really feel the Byrne! We’ve got Harry Mudd who appeared in two episodes of the original series as well as one of the animated episodes, meeting up with Captain Ron Tracey who got kicked out of Starfleet for violating the Prime Directive in the Season 2 episode “The Omega Glory”. Combine that with some Klingons and Tribbles and you have “Made Out of Mudd”. Kirk left a lot of bitter people in his wake and some are hoping to get revenge here. Original Series geeks, such as myself, may start asking questions early in the story and find some of the answers both frustrating and farfetched, but ultimately, “Made Out of Mudd” is a lot of fun.
Recommendation: For Star Trek fans that have not found these yet (Is it possible that there are people later to the party than I?), these need to be checked out. For comic book fans who have been away from local shops for quite some time, the world has changed. Either way, get in line behind me to get more of this!