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Star Trek: Year Four #1

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2007
By: Michael Deeley



Writer: David Tischman
Artist: Steve Conley

Publisher: IDW


The Enterprise finds a system of planets connected like a DNA strand. They find Dr. Othello Beck living on one of them, along with a race of animal people he created. Itís not long before Kirkís interference exposes the flaws in this society and Dr. Beckís madness.

This issue is an interesting contradiction. While the story is flawed, I can see the potential for future issues to be better. Tischmann has nailed the unique voices of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The overall story is similar to the TV episode about androids. It hits all the familiar beats: Krik flirting with the beautiful alien, the brilliant scientist undone by obsession, and the pat moral at the end. It captures the simple nature and emotional core that made the series a cultural icon. Yet the crew ultimately plays an incidental part in the story. Kirk discovers Dr. Beckís secret that sparks his worldís self-destruction. After a long build up, with Dr. Beckís suspicious questions and Spockís ominous findings, the ending is anti-climatic. This should have been extended for another issue. It would have ended the same way, but the dramatic tension and suspense would have been maintained. It would also have allowed for an interesting plot twist and more character development.

The art reminded me of the Sunday comics. Itís bright, simple, and friendly. Conley seems to have taken inspiration from the old Star Trek cartoon series and the work of adventure comic strips. Itís easy to follow and instantly expressive. Thereís no mistaking what the people are feeling or whatís going on. So itís visually similar to the original TV series. Watching the show recently, I was struck at how the sets and costumes were composed almost entirely of primary colors. It was as bright and simple, yet expressive, as comic books of that era. Conley captures the same feeling, but with more polish and refinement. Itís pulp on expensive paper.

Tischman displays a solid grasp of the characters, the driving force behind Star Trekís success. References to Bajor, and appearances by the cartoon-only alien crewmembers also reflect a wider knowledge of Trek lore. He can write a better story than this though. And Iíll be sticking around to see it.



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