Monday, July 21, 2008


Here be spoilers!

Tokyopop's third Star Trek manga is out now, and it's... okay.

The big news is the involvement of Wil Wheaton and David Gerrold, but neither writer hits a home run. Wheaton's story is solid but familiar; we've seen Kirk get court-martialled, we've seen Kirk get along with Klingons in order to save the day. The nice touch is the parallel trial scenes involving the Klingon commander, whose fate isn't quite the same as Kirk's.

Gerrold's story is likely to be new to most readers, but it isn't. It's based on a pitch he made to Gene Coon back in 1967 and described in his 1973 book The Trouble With Tribbles. Interestingly enough, he provided some criticisms of his own story. But those criticisms are aimed at getting a full hour-long episode from the idea, and this is a shorter story, faithful to the original outline without Gerrold's own suggested improvements.

The story by editor Luis Reyes has Spock learning how to cope with a mission gone wrong that sees a number of Enterprise crew killed, but we saw something like that already in "The Galileo 7," and this one is on so much bigger a scale (a fifth of the Enterprise crew is killed) that I can't buy it. Part of the willing suspension of disbelief in a media tie-in story is about the story in itself, but part of it is also about believing the story could fit neatly in along with the TV and movie version. And I can't buy so great a catastrophe happening between regular TOS episodes. Finally, unless I missed something (not impossible, with the book's tiny print) a couple of key events are never really explained.

Finally, Nathaniel Bowden's story is just kind of meh. Kirk gets his gang together in a shuttle to go visit the surface of a planet where warp trials have resulted in a ship reaching warp speed, which means they're ready for first contact -- but the Enterprise crew does so without the usual scanning of communications channels that we generally see. As a result, they blindly stumble into a despotic nation state that keeps its scientists locked up and wants to finish its war with the planet's other major nation state for good. The female alien warp scientist falls for Kirk, the alien despots bluster, etc etc etc.

The art? It's competent.

Bottom line: if you liked the others, you'll probably like this. If you didn't, it won't change your mind.


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