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Thursday, November 12, 2009

REVIEW: Star Trek: Mission's End

This was a mini series that I've had my eye on since I first heard of it, and I finally got the chance to pick up the trade paperback collection yesterday. (Yes, I wait for the trades). I am very much an Original Series fan, and this looked to be a good adventure in that vein. The last adventure, as a matter of fact. The hook is that this is the final mission of the Enterprise crew under Kirk's command. Five years goes by fast (especially when you get canceled after three).
The book begins with a flashback to Kirk's first mission as Captain, and features characters we only saw in the series' second pilot like Gary Mitchell and the blonde dude he eventually force chokes (who surprisingly had a name). They have been spying on an alien race of insect beings for a while decide the time has come to make first contact with them. It's an event Trek fans here about but seldom get to see, made all the more interesting by the world the aliens live on and in. Their entire planet is actually a massive space station built by giants (complete with huge stairs and seats) that was abandoned millions of years ago. Since then insects and lower life forms evolved to intelligence, developed a culture, warp drive, etc. From the first contact we flash forward five years. The alien's are being inducted into the Federation, and Kirk is there to see it happen. A perfect bookend to this crew's career, but everything is not as it seems...

It is an interesting story and feels very much in line with TOS. The scope of this story is large and not something we ever really got to see on the show, but I am sure we would have had Roddenberry and team had the resources. All of the characters get their moment in the sun, though I wish Spock had been given more to do, and they all sound like themselves. One of the purposes of the book was to show why the band broke up, so to speak. When they all reunite in The Motion Picture Bones has retired to the old country disco and Spock is shrooming on Vulcan. Bones' decision to leave Starfleet makes sense based on what happens in this story. Spock's, on the other hand, seems really sudden and a bit drastic. I found myself rereading the last few pages a couple times going "Wait, WTF?".
The art is good, but not great. The creature designs are good the alien culture seems well thought out. I wasn't blown away but I was never let down. Often times with books based on Film and TV properties every frame seems DOA because the artist is just tracing stills of the actors. For the most part that wasn't happening here. The characters look like the actors, but not photos of the actors. The line art is well supported by the coloring. It's bright and loud, just like you would expect from a show who's color palette was designed to sell then new Color TVs.
I really enjoyed Mission's End despite wanting a little more substance from Spock. It's a fun adventure and a fitting final episode to a great show that never got one. Another good Trek book from IDW.

Mission's End was written by Ty Templeton and drawn by Steve Molnar.


cleartrampoline said...

Sounds good. Can I come over and hang out and read it on your couch while we watch TOS and maybe drink beers? Great. Sounds good. :)

Tele Gram said...

This is an excellent review, Marq. The conception of insects evolving up to their own levels of consciousness (without transforming into humanoids) sounds pretty creative about our perceptions of changes in lifeforms. Always enjoyed the kaleidoscope of almost human-humanoids in TOS though.