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Star Trek #4 Review

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference." - The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

As originally broadcast, the story Star Trek's "The Galileo Seven" tells is about the logical choices Mr. Spock makes while in command of an ill-fated shuttle expidition to explore a scientific phenomenon. It is about how he uses logic to make the best of a bad situation he, Doctor McCoy, Mr. Scott and four other crewman find themselves in after crashing on a hostile planet. Immediately, on reconnaissance, one crewman is killed by the mysterious, savage, inhabitants of the planet. While Scotty works feverishly to make repairs to the shuttle, Spock works to keep the crew focused on escape and survival. He leaves no room for the passing of crewman Latimer, or crewman Gaetano, who later meets the same fate. When the shuttle is able to lift-off from the planet's surface, Spock logically reaches a conclusion that is perceived as a desperate act. He jettisons what little fuel the shuttle has left and ignites it as a beacon to the Enterprise. The episode ends with Captain Kirk and the rest of the bridge enjoying a more than hearty laugh at his expense.

Mike Johnson's conclusion of Oliver Crawford and Shimon Wincelberg's original story in Star Trek #4 is completely different from the original story. It is nearly a completely original story, which is refreshing. Rather than just presenting a comic book rerun of the classic episode, the story takes the road less traveled.

Captain Kirk reaches the end of his search deadline and must proceed with desperately needed medical supplies to the New Paris colony. He orders Sulu to proceed at full impulse power. A command that a novice like High Commissioner Ferris is unaware of. Sulu, Checkov and Uhura give him questioning, but trusting looks.

Originally, the surface natives appeared to be humanoids in heavy pelts. Here, they are seen completely simian, ape-like. And pounding on the Galileo's outer hull. It's a shame that some of the suspense is lost by revealing the mystery. From the original story there was a shared fear of the unknown between the audience and the shuttle crew. Here, along with revealing the mystery, Latimer hasn't been buried as yet; and, considering the new relationship between Spock and Uhura a new development is her disappearance from the bridge. While Commissioner Ferris and Captain Kirk argue on the bridge, Scotty electrifies the hull of the shuttle to scare off the savage ape-men before they are able to acheive lift-off. As they try to break free of the planet's atmosphere, Yeoman Rand alerts them to a starboard engine failure. Just as they are about to jettison Mr. Latimer's corpse to lighten their load, Uhura arrives above them in another shuttle. Ferris vows retribution, which Kirk shrugs off. The story ends with Kirk confining Uhura and Spock to quarters - together.

Johnson's script really shines in the fresh, new direction he warps the story. Stephen Molnar and Joe Philips' visuals continue to impress. John Rauch's color shceme is back on track, and it is easy to keep tabs on who is who in what shirt. In the previous issue he had McCoy, Boma and Gaetano confused, with McCoy alternating from a blue to a red shirt and back. In this update, Gaetano survives, and Yeoman Rand piloting the shuttle off the planet surface. Uhura steps up into her role as a strong female lead. From how she was portrayed in the 2009 film, there are high expectations of her in a sequel.

This update is still about leadership and command, for both Kirk and Spock. But, the subplot is about relationships; Kirk and Spock's as fellow officers and friends, as well as Spock's relationship with Uhura.

This is an great follow-up to the adaptation of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" in the first two issues. The only objection is the use of multiple covers. So far, each issue has featured three alternate covers to the main photo cover. At $3.99 an issue, the math on that isn't hard to calculate. If the first six-issue story arc is intended to be collected that might make an interesting cover gallery, but for individual issues it feels more like a gouging cash grab for an otherwise engaging story.

This alternate course for the Enterprise crew is certainly enjoyable to follow.  


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