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Star Trek: Assignment Earth #4

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2008
By: Ray Tate

John Byrne
John Byrne, Tom Smith (c)
IDW Publishing
Byrne in this issue reveals the force behind the time anomalies. He answers a question regarding the original episode of Star Trek: Assignment Earth, and as per usual, fun springs from the interactions between Gary Seven, Roberta Lincoln, Isis and Beta-Five.

The opener gives Tom Smith a work out as Roberta goes on a catwalk courtesy of the Beta Five Computer, nicknamed, amusingly, Betty. With such a nickname and camaraderie, Byrne reinforces that Assignment Earth is his baby. These elements better distinguish Byrne's work from Greg Cox's Khan books, which feature Mr. Seven and Roberta. While wholly original, Byrne's extrapolations nevertheless follow the spirit of the backdoor pilot seen on Star Trek.

Gary Seven interrupts the fashion show as Beta Five uncovers an encrypted file sent by the deceased agents who recruited Roberta in the first place. This allows Byrne to at once revisit the foundations of the televised story while advancing his plot threads.

The revisitation though first gives Byrne the opportunity to trigger some bubbly laughter from Roberta being witness to Gary Seven's genuinely humorous embarrassment. The sting as well feels like Roddenbury whimsy. As the reader follows Mr. Seven's and Miss Lincoln's pursuit of the agents' movements, Byrne decloaks the master behind the plot, an anti-Federation.

The Federation, as any Trekker knows, functions under the Prime Directive. They peacefully monitor planets in their various stages of development without interfering in that development. At a certain point, when the culture has grown politically, socially and scientifically, the Feds begin a series of visits that may ultimately lead to an invitation to join their august union.

The villains that Byrne crafts are xenophobes that do everything in their power to bring about planetary destruction. They fear that given an even playing field, the target planets could threaten their existence. How this organization ties into Gary Seven's history strengthens the story and catalyzes a satisfying conclusion.



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