Sunday, March 27, 2016

Star Trek #45 (1989 Series) - Comics From The Basment

Trelane is back...and wants Captain Kirk's help with women?!


Hello and Welcome to Comics From The Basement

For the past week or so you saw this, Star Trek #45 sitting in the background... and guess what today I'm reviewing it, but of course I have to get some history our of the way.

On January 12, 1967... The Star Trek episode the Squire of Gothos premiered, debuting Trelane, a powerful alien being that has the ability to create seemingly anything and have total control over his environment... but in reality was a boy, a child within his race of super beings... and one would think this would've been brought up more times in the show, a reoccurring antagonist that the crew has to out-wit?

Well no.... actually... in fact Trelane is never referenced to again in any Star Trek episode, despite being for all intents and purposes being considered fore-bearer for Q in the Next Generation. Then again the Next Generation only made ONE reference to the Original Series, that being in The Naked Now, which borrowed quite loosely the plot from The Naked Time... and I'm getting off topic here.

Actually, I'm not... cause as I said, Trelane is never referenced on the 'canon' side of Star Trek ever again... and he's barely appeared in any of Star Trek's expanded universe. In fact you could count those appearances on one hand - appearing in the game Star Trek: Judgement Rites, as the main villain in the novel Q-Squared (which ties Trelane directly into the Q Continuum), and in two comics, Star Trek Unlimited #7 from Marvel... and this week's comic, Star Trek #45 from DC. I shall note now: that just about every one of these stories act as a direct sequel to the 'Squire of Gothos' episode... so one has to stretch to see try and place them into any type of continuity logic.

Anyway time to do the break down!

Cover: Adding this bit, because, it is a great cover, drawing attention with Trelane himself, and the phrasing 'Why Yes It's Trelane! With A Whole Slew Of Lethal New Games You Simply Must Play! Also of note is that Kirk looks down right pissed while Savvik (The Robin Curtis design) looks amazed... how un-Vulcan of her!

Writer: The writer for this issue was Steven H Wilson, who has a rather brief comic book resume as far as I can tell. I have read the Star Trek comics he was commissioned, and he certainly captured the 'What Would The Fans' like to read spirit that some other writers failed to do.

Art Team: The inker was Arne Starr... who pretty much had all the inking assignments for all of Star Trek's second run with DC (since this was the 1989 series), so he basically had the style down to a science, with every thing looking as it should. Beyond Star Trek, he's worked on Power Girl, Booster Gold, and Legion of Super Heroes. The penciler was Rob M. Davis, who did work not only on DC's Star Trek comics, but also a lot of work over at Malibu comics for their Deep Space Nine Series. If I have to describe his approach, I'd say he's one of those who is able to get the likenesses down pretty darn well, though in this issues there is certainly a few odd results, but everyone looks like they are supposed too. Beyond Star Trek, his comic credits include Quantum Leap, Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future and work that has appeared in the Doctor Who magazine.

Plot: Called 'A Little Man To Man' Talk', Trelane has come to James T. Kirk to seek his advice on women and romance... yes that's right Trelane has gotten older and is noticing girls! And despite the obvious comedic set up, the story isn't treated as a joke. Trelane takes Kirk to a seedy space port, arranges a reunion with Yeoman Ross (who appeared in the Squire of Gothos episode), and even takes Kirk to see Carol Marcus... however the twist here is that Trelane is wanting to learn how to deal with women because he himself is being pursued. It is an enjoyable one-shot story, that shows that not only has Kirk aged, but also one of his adversaries.

Positives: As I just said, the story is enjoyable, the artwork is solid, it's a light easy read the covers familiar ground for Star Trek fans while not being weigh-downed too much to alienate non-Trek fans, as it's a story of a 'boy wanting to know about the birds and bees'... with said boy having powers of matter transportation and transmutation. Also when Trelane doesn't get his way, he does lash out at Kirk. Then there is of course the factor, that this was Trelane's first major appearance in Star Trek since the 'Squire of Gothos' episode, and unlike in the Peter David novel 'Q-Squared', Trelane isn't killed off.

Negatives: The artwork can be a little... 'meh' at times, as I said Rob Davis certainly is one of those who can get likenesses down, but sometimes things just doesn't look right to my eye.

Weirdness: Kirk's reaction to Trelane wanting to see him on the Field of Romance, being that of 'You Want To Spy On my Personal Affairs?' is answered by Trelane with, "Personal?' Come, Come Captain, YOUR Affairs are the Stuff of Legend!"... and it's the kind of self-awareness that one doesn't normally see in anything Star Trek related.

Which actually led me to reach out to Steve Wilson himself about that one little aspect, and I'll give you a summary of what he told me, first off we never got to see how the media viewed Kirk in the 23rd century, and with his exploits, he probably would be viewed in the same way we view George Clooney today, with endless speculation about his personal life. Also Trelane in the story is presented as the 'bratty little brother' who wants to be like Kirk, cause he's probably been watching him since The Squire of Gothos, and anything Kirk does was legendary. But also that looking back on his story from 20-years ago, he was probably taking full advantage of the easing up on the creative restrictions Paramount had on DC, wanting to remind the world that Kirk was indeed a ladies man.

Recommendation: So... what's the recommendation here? Since it's a stand alone story, It's easy to say check it out. For a deeper enjoyment of the comic, it probably helps a little to be somewhat familiar with the episode 'The Squire of Gothos', and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek II: The Search For Spock.

Of course the trick is probably tracking down the comic itself, if you can't find it at mycomicshop.com or eBay, you might want to track down the Star Trek: Complete Comic Book Collection DVD-ROM, which has all the Star Trek comics from July 1967 to October 2002.

I also want to thank Steve Wilson for giving me his insight for this issue, be sure to check out his website at www.stevenhwilson.com

Well that wraps it up for this week... next time, maybe we'll go Under The Sea

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