This week's review is Star Trek The Next Generation #38, published by DC Comics in 1992 to wrap up the Ardra and Shanzibar 3-parter!
Hello Dwellers and Welcome To Comics From The Basement…
Today we are wrapping up our look at a bit of a reoccurring featuring here with the 3-part Ardra / Shanizbar trilogy that made up Star Trek The Next Generation issue 36, 37 & 38. To recap briefly, the Enterprise-D arrived at Shanizbar for a bit of shore leave but the planet’s rouge nature means it’s a little rough and Ardra’s ship is seen in orbit, remembering her from what happened in the episode Devil’s Due, Picard Troi LaForge and Ro go down dressed rather casually to have a bit of leave as they search for her to stop her… they get into a bar / theater fight, end up in jail, encounter Ardra who says the planet’s king is in danger, and they escape from jail… and now the startling conclusion.
Which is printed right on the cover, the cover itself is rather odd we see Picard, Ardra and the Shanizbar’s King not at all looking like how they appear in the comic, at least in regards to how Picard and Ardra are dressed, and I get the impression they were using Ardra’s holographic tech as dis guesses from her ship here due to the effect that something is fading away
The actual title of this story is Dirty Work… and the Away team is looking for a way in to the king’s palace, and they are going to go in through the delivery entrance by hijacking a laundry delivery truck to sneak inside. We get the usual bit of the guards being suspicious because the ‘normal driver’ hasn’t been sick a day in his life. And much to Picard’s chagrin he has to climb into the laundry bins with Ardra
Back on the ship, after SIX AND A HALF HOURS, Riker finally decides to contact Picard, and when there is no answer and Worf reminds him tha Shanizbar is not exactly a friendly spot, Riker chooses to head on down. And when Riker tells Worf to get some security guys, Worf tells him they’ve been on stand-by when the Captain beamed down, Riker responds “I like an officer who’s prepared Mister Worf but there are limits”
William T. Riker… considering that it’s been Riker who has been rather slacked in following procedure in this 3-parter… I shall borrow a line form Linkara and call him a BEARDED IDIOT/
Anyway back on the planet, Picard and Ardra are being ‘pushed in a bin’ towards the king’s chambers, with an interesting little plot convience loophole, only the king get’s his laundry delivered…. To quote Mel Brook’s, it’s good to be the king. Picard is also suspcious of Ardra’s motives, but Ardra reminds him they have more pressing concerns.
Riker and Worf go to the Shanizbar authorities, and learn that Picard and the Away team were in jail and broke out
Picard an Ardra reach the King, and give him the low down on the plot against him, and since he needs proof, they of course need access to the surface to ship communication tech
Back with Riker and Worf, they ender the same bar / theater where Picard and company got into a brawl and arrested…. And because Riker is a bearded episode in this story, he won’t shut up during the play, pissing off one of the patron and get punched so hard he leaves his feet. See this is why you they say don’t ruin the movie (or play in this case). Quite honestly Riker earned getting socked in the jaw.
The King’s adviser Wizier is ‘holding court’ with his co-conspirators, openly discussing his plan. When one starts to question it, Wizier reminds him it was his plan first… and then it’s revealed that Picard, The Away Team, Ardra and The King using Ardra’s holographic tech as disgueses. I actually like this as it reminds us of what Ardra used to transform herself in her lone TNG apperance. Wizier pulls a knife but gets taken down and out by Picard.
The story ends with the King pardoning Picard and the Away team for their crimes, and is going to reward them in cash… which Picard realizes was Ardra’s motivation to do the right thing. With the amount being awarded, Picard tells her she can stop being a criminal, but Ardra would much rather keep her way of living, and is briefly tempted by the king to marry him but because of how open and honest she is about being a criminal, he’d have her sign a prenuptial agreement first. She departs, and Picard contacts the ship to learn from Data that Riker and Worf beamed down and were last heard of entering the bar / theater.
Verdict: This comic is a fine closing chapter for a 3 part story, as Picard and co accomplish what they set out to which is to save the King, Ardra is basically left the same but is at least honest about who she is. The art work is fine. The only real big issue is how much of an idiot Riker is, as one of the biggest problems Captain Jellico has with Riker in the two part ‘Chain of Command’ on the show is how bad an officer Riker is (and funny enough that air a few months after this issue hit newstands back in 1992, the fact that Riker broke protocol and basically put Picard and the Away Team at risk is clearly a plot device for the story that does not make him look good at all.
COUPLE OF OTHER SCANS