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When attendees of a Starfleet medical conference are infected by a terrifying contagion, Beverly Crusher, Julian Bashir and Katherine Pulaski, ably assisted by the Doctor, race against time to find a cure, discovering answers in the memory and experience of Leonard McCoy and Phlox. Prepare for spoilers in our review of the new “Star Trek: Flesh and Stone” comic, STAT.
This week IDW Publishing releases a one-shot Star Trek medical adventure created in partnership with the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, a $10 million competition to bring healthcare to the palm of your hand. Readers of all ages are invited to join the Tricorder Federation, where futurists, innovators and fans can come together and celebrate the efforts of the teams around the world who are competing to make the medical Tricorder a reality, so we can all live long and prosper.
Star Trek Special: Flesh and Stone
written by Scott and David Tipton, art by Sharp Brothers, colors by Andrew Elder, letters by Neil Uyetake, edits by Sarah Gaydos, cover by Sharp Brothers, cover colors by John Rauch, consultants Rob Hollander and David Zweig
A low-warp escape pod approaches Space Station Diamandis 1. Typically used to ferry sick or wounded from remote locations, the pod is coming to the right place, host of a large Starfleet medical conference. Traveling to the conference via shuttle, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Dr. Julian Bashir, and Dr. Katherine Pulaski, monitor a distress signal from Diamandis 1. The Doctor, formerly Voyager‘s Chief Medical Officer, informs them of an unknown contagion carried by four humans in an escape pod, that has incapacitated all station personnel. The disease paralyzes, then begins transforming the victim into a stone-like substance. Four more escape pods are heading towards populated worlds and the Doctor also discovers that records related to the disease have been deleted from the station’s medical database. The oldest record deleted was recorded by the Constitution-class Enterprise.
The First Doctor!
Since Admiral McCoy is still alive and living on a nearby agricultural facility, the doctors divert their shuttle hoping to learn more about the disease. McCoy has retired to what amounts to a frontier town, but is as sharp and irascible as ever. He recalls the incident deleted from the medical database. The Enterprise answered a colony distress call from Doctor Phlox, asking for help treating victims of the same disease. Phlox and McCoy learned that the stone-like substance resembles the Tholian crystalline carapace and were able to create the anti-viral necessary for treatment.
All hands on deck!
Armed with this information, the Doctor is able to synthesize the antivirus, begin treating victims, and warn Starfleet. Exceeding his programming as usual, the Doctor also does some detective work to learn why the contagion was directed at Diamandis 1 and averts a crisis. Even Dr. Pulaski is impressed.
Bringing together all six Star Trek doctors into one story could have easily turned into a quagmire, but the brothers Tipton, Scott and David, keep it simple, telling a lean story with the feel of a Trek television episode. This is something they’ve done successfully before, so it isn’t all that surprising that they’ve succeeded again. The standout characters in this tale are McCoy, Phlox, and the Doctor, with their 24th century human colleagues, Crusher, Pulaski and Bashir, bridging the gap. I think anyone familiar with all six doctors would find the story plausible. I liked the Tholian connection in this tale. The only notion that gives me pause is McCoy’s very advanced age at the time this story takes place. He’s a very durable old dude. I’m not sure why, but I got a kick out of Pulaski’s skepticism about working with a medical hologram and their rapprochement at story’s end.
The interior and cover art is handled nicely by another pair of brothers, Joe and Rob Sharp. Each of their doctors is easily recognizable, as are McCoy’s old shipmates. Like the Tiptons, the Sharps are old hands at Trek storytelling and are a good choice for any occasion, including this special issue. Arex makes a brief appearance, but M’Ress is absent, which is a little disappointing. Flesh and Stone stands out for the fine coloring job done by Andrew Elder. With backgrounds ranging from a space station to ships, to a frontier town and a colony world, Elder has given each location a distinctive look and feel with his artwork. Letterer Neil Uyetake did a good job with extensive dialog, which is always difficult to handle.
Consultants Rob Hollander and David Zweig work for the XPRIZE Foundation as Vice President, Brand & Content and Creative Director, Marketing & Communications, respectively. Both are named as characters in the story. I’m not entirely sure what they consulted on, but they weren’t redshirts, so their characters live on and I’m sure they’re pleased with the final results too. Kudos to everyone involved with Flesh and Stone. If you’re a fan of the Star Trek doctors, this is the comic for you.
Star Trek Special: Flesh and Stone will be at your local comic shop Wednesday, July 16.
Preview of Star Trek Special: Flesh and Stone
Star Trek comics coming soon
Next up from IDW Publishing are City on the Edge of Forever #2 and Star Trek #36. You can pre-order Star Trek comics at a discount from Things From Another World, just click on the banner.
No, not that Doctor
If you thought this article was going to be about that other Doctor and Season Five episode Flesh and Stone, the conclusion of a two-episode arc featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, River Song and Weeping Angels… You were wrong! Did you blink?
Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.