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Star Trek: Assignment Earth #3

Posted: Saturday, July 5, 2008
By: Ray Tate

John Byrne
John Byrne, Tom Smith (c)
IDW Publishing
"My Name is Legion"

Gary Seven, Roberta Lincoln and Isis infiltrate a university campus. The Beta-Five Computer has detected something strange in the halls of academia, but the away team of Star Trek -- Assignment: Earth isn't entirely convinced.

Byrne adds some surprising twists to the continuing adventures of America's answer to Doctor Who. Roberta takes some intriguing initiative in the tale. One character gains a stronger voice, and our trio seems to be in agreement: the Beta-Five is long overdue for a self-diagnostic.

As per usual, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln sound like Robert Lansing and Terri Garr. Byrne simply knows exactly what each of the characters should say and how the actors would say it. He again creates effective resemblances and/or personalities for the team, including Isis, who has much more to do on this assignment. Note the exotic nature Byrne instills to her features and Roberta's instinctive recognition of the cat-lady.

The science fiction plot gains urgency from the United States' current situation in the Middle East. The paranoia of those behind the plot may seem over the top villainy at first, but so did a cretin lying about weapons of mass destruction. Most of the populace took that bait and blindly followed.

The new character Curtis Wellborn neatly represents the good in those who protest the war but support the troops. Patriotism isn't a commodity reserved for those who do not question their government. Curtis however isn't merely a straw man. Byrne injects a lot of depth and decency that naturally would attract Roberta and bolsters Gary's decision regarding the young man. Gary's conclusion reveals some of the character's warmth. This is not a Byrne invention. Gary breaks his icy facade for a moment when he learns of his agents deaths in the original series episode. Byrne is observant enough to include this facet of characterization.

Byrne isn't breaking new ground in Star Trek -- Assignment: Earth. Rather he's re-exploring old areas and showing how perpetually bad ideas tailor made for the '60s Cold War pertain to the tumultuous 21st century. At the same time he mitigates the possible horrors, and truly these visions are nightmares, with three extremely likeable heroes.



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