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Star Trek: Crew #4

Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009
By: Ray Tate

John Byrne
John Byrne, Lovern Kindzierski (c)
IDW Publishing
"Shadows of the Past"

Number One boards the Enterprise for the second time. On ship, she meets Lt. Commander Christopher Pike, who will one day captain the legendary vessel. He, however, is a red herring. The story isn't about how Pike achieves the Captain's chair. It travels in a different direction.

I don't know why, but on some level, I knew where Byrne was going with this story. As soon as I read a few pages, I just knew that Star Trek: Crew was actually a sequel within a prequel.

Byrne keeps this clever return to familiar territory steeped in the world of Starfleet. Not one moment seems out of place. You do not feel like you're so much reading a comic book as watching an episode.

Enterprise captain Robert April and his wife Sarah, the Chief Medical Officer, guest starred in an episode of the cartoon series. Byrne fleshes them out, and they act like Starfleet officers. They exhibit so much depth that I would not mind seeing more of their adventures.

Byrne gives April and Sarah outstanding moments. This is not because of a personal attachment. April and Sarah are essentially his characters, but Byrne's ego does not direct their importance. Their ranks demand it. Byrne imagines how April and his wife must have been. At the same time, Number One continues to distinguish herself and, in this issue, she starts to connect with Pike, who will be her captain.

I know that some people are a little disappointed in Byrne's artwork for this series. I do not agree with them, but I know that some protest the cast's lack of resemblance to the actors from the series. I am sure that Christopher Pike will open up the floor again.

While not exactly Jeffrey Hunter, Byrne's Christopher Pike is immediately recognizable. I knew that he was Pike before Byrne identified him as such. If you are a Star Trek fan, so will you.

If you study Number One carefully, Byrne does distinguish her from the so-called generic Byrne model. This is especially true when observing her jawline and nose. Whether or not Number One needs to look like Majel Barrett Roddenberry is debatable. What matters is that no matter the character or the scene, Byrne laces all of his art with a signature of early Star Trek ambiance.

As Byrne translates the essence of Star Trek to Crew, he manages the pacing of the tale perfectly. The story is lightning fast and Federation accoutrements such as phaser precursors, the Hypospray, and the traditionally fickle transporters increase the thrills. The epilogue fits snugly into Byrne's plot as well as Star Trek continuity and rather than end the tale with an anticlimax, the additional information sends off the story with greater impetus.



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