Star Trek: Year Four - Enterprise Experiment

Discussion in 'Comic Books and Graphic Novels' started by Andersonh1, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

    Aug 21, 2002
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    Since I’m currently enjoying IDW’s Deep Space Nine comic, I decided to try out some of their other Star Trek output. I’ve been a fan of the original Star Trek with Kirk, Spock and McCoy since I was a kid, when it was the only Trek series and was in constant reruns. IDW’s original series comics seem to be largely set in the fourth year of the “five year mission” mentioned in the opening credits. The storyline that I finally settled on was “Enterprise Experiment”, a sequel to the third season episode “The Enterprise Incident”, both written by D.C. Fontana. I bought the trade paperback, so I’ll be reviewing this as chapters rather than issues.

    I say it’s a sequel to “The Enterprise Incident”, but in fact only the first half of the story is a sequel to that story. The second half follows up on the events of “Errand of Mercy”, the story that introduced the Klingons to Star Trek. It also follows up on some ideas seen in “The Paradise Syndrome”, and refers to Carol and David Marcus from “The Wrath of Khan”. All of this does ultimately fit together and make sense, but it also makes the story one that works far better for a reader with a good grasp of Trek continuity.

    The first two chapters detail an attempt by the Enterprise crew to use the cloaking device stolen from the Romulans in “The Enterprise Incident”. The TV series never followed up on the events of that episode, and it’s always seemed odd that the tactical advantage of invisible spacecraft was never taken up. Here we see why that might have been the case, as the cloaking experiment goes wrong and the ship goes “out of phase” and becomes partially insubstantial, along with the crew. Kirk and Spock, who have been in a shuttlecraft trying to detect the ship, have to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it while dealing with the Romulans, who have found the disaster beacon that Scotty launched and have come to investigate.

    The characters certainly feel authentic, both in terms of the way they speak and the amount of story time that they get. Kirk and Spock are prominent of course, while McCoy and Scotty get the bulk of the secondary action. Chekov and Sulu play supporting roles with just a bit of page time, and Uhura might as well not even be in the story. Oddly, the non-humanoid Arex from the animated series is included and plays a crucial role in the plot. The way in which Kirk evades the Romulans reminds me of a similar solution that Janeway employed in one Voyager episode, and the phased cloak brings to mind the TNG episode “The Pegasus” where Starfleet was developing a similar device illegally. Section 31 from DS9 even makes a brief appearance. In the midst of all of this, Kirk is reflecting on his relationship with Carol Marcus and his son David who he has been kept away from, as anyone familiar with the storyline of Star Trek 2 will know. Fontana even borrows some of the only good material from Star Trek 5, when Kirk thinks to himself that men like him don’t have families.

    The last three chapters explore the end of the Organian peace treaty, which was forcibly imposed on the Federation and Klingon Empire in “Errand of Mercy”. The Organians are one of those ‘godlike’ races that Kirk ran into so often, and they had prevented the two sides from going to war. Kor, John Colicos’ Klingon character from that story, is the primary villain here, and he’s been testing the Organians for two years, trying to wear them down. He’s apparently finally succeeded, as he attacks and plunders a Federation colony. Through a series of events, Kirk is able to figure out what was going on and what Kor was after, and there is a major space battle between the Federation and Klingon fleets. It’s the type of large-scale confrontation that we never got to see on the original series which would be child’s play now with CGI graphics. The story ends on a cliffhanger as a small group of Klingons, Romulans and a Starfleet Admiral are seen conspiring together.

    Gordon Purcell is the penciller for this series, along with a variety of inkers. He used to draw the DC Star Trek comic back in the early 90s when I was collecting and reading that book, and I was never all that impressed with his art. I found his figures to be stiff and unconvincing, and the character likenesses ok for some of the characters, but not for others. Twenty years later, he’s far better at capturing the look and feel of the original series ships and crew, though the quality of art seems to vary somewhat, depending on the inkers.

    Overall: In short, the story feels much like classic Trek, though informed by 40+ years of added continuity, retroactively applied to the original series. And for the most part, it works well. It adds some depth to the characters as well as tying up some loose plot threads.
  2. Obsidian X

    Obsidian X Dork of the moon

    Feb 6, 2008
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    Sounds good. I might just need to read more Star Trek comics

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