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All past history has been changed and the machines of the ancients are traumatized! This week IDW Publishing releases the second installment of their adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s original teleplay for The City on the Edge of Forever. Chronometric spoilers, a preview, and more after the break.
Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever, The Original Teleplay #2 of 5
Original teleplay by Harlan Ellison, adaptation by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, art by J.K. Woodward, letters by Neil Uyetake, edits by Chris Ryall
Following Beckwith’s headlong charge into the timestream, no one is hurt, but the Guardians inform Kirk that everything has changed and they must inspect the damage. The landing party transports back to the Enterprise to become captive aboard the Condor, a ship of renegades. The Starfleet crew overcome their captors and secure themselves in the transporter room. Kirk asks Yeoman Rand to hold the room while he and Spock return to the planet’s surface, intending to go after Beckwith.
The Guardians are skeptical, but allow Kirk and Spock to enter the timestream at some unknown point before Beckwith entered. Their task is to look for the focal point, with only a few cryptic hints from the Guardians about what that might actually be.
Kirk and Spock materialize outside a twentieth century soup kitchen and are immediately marked as outsiders by an unfriendly mob. Spock is astonished at their animosity. Making a run for it, the time travelers escape down a dark alley, and into a basement.
After setting the stage for a catastrophic change to the timeline in the first issue of this mini-series, Scott and David Tipton, continue their adaptation of Ellison’s teleplay with the consequences of that event. The comic script is sticking very closely to the television script and it feels like we’re watching a television episode with some rich, extended scenes. I’m enjoying the story, but I wish the the pacing of their adaptation would screen a little faster. I realize that’s the spoiled attitude of someone who consumes way to much genre television. Reading a comic should, and probably can give us the opportunity to examine the events taking place in a more thoughtful way. I’ll try to keep that in mind as the story continues.
The best line of dialogue in a Star Trek comic I’ve read in recent memory occurs when Kirk asks Rand if she can hold the transporter room from the renegade crew about to burn their way thru the doors. Her response? “I can, sir.” It’s a classic Trek moment superbly highlighted by J.K. Woodward’s portrait of a determined Yeoman Rand. He also gives us a good laugh a few pages later when Spock questions Kirk about the hostility of the soup kitchen mob. Woodward captures Spock’s Vulcan incredulity and concern with astonishingly arched eyebrows. In fact, Woodward is firing on all thrusters this issue, with a shipboard battle, an extended discussion with the Guardians, and the depression-era mob scene. This is some of his best Trek work. Will he be able to maintain this kind of momentum for three more issues? We’ll have to wait and see.
Calm down Spock!
The regular cover for The City on the Edge of Forever #2 is by Juan Ortiz. The subscription cover is drawn by Paul Shipper. Both covers for this issue feature Kirk and Spock. The regular cover features a posterized Captain and First Officer. The subscription cover features the big heads of the big two. This is where the difference between Ellison’s teleplay and the broadcast version really hit me. No big three. No McCoy. That realization leaves me with an unsatisfactory feeling about the cover art that probably isn’t deserved, but can’t be helped. As much as I’m enjoying this adaptation, I suppose I’m beginning to understand why the original script was altered before broadcast.
The City on the Edge of Forever #2 will be at your local comic shop Wednesday, July 23 and at IDW Digital. There will also be a Madefire Motion Book available as an in-app purchase with the Madefire Motion Books app. Madefire Motion Books can also be purchased online at deviantART if you are a member and have points. You can sample the Madefire Motion Book of The City on the Edge of Forever #1.
Preview of The City on the Edge of Forever #2
Back in February 2013, Mission Log Podcast posted their recap and review of The City on the Edge of Forever. In addition to the podcast, they posted a fascinating six-page memo from Bob Justman to Gene Roddenberry discussing Ellison’s Second Revised Final Draft. Read the memo at Mission Log Podcast Discovered Documents.
If you didn’t catch the podcast, you can listen at the Mission Log Podcast Archive or right here at TrekMovie.
Mission Log Podcast #28: The City on the Edge of Forever
Star Trek comics coming soon
Next up from IDW Publishing are Star Trek #36, City on the Edge of Forever #3, and Star Trek: New Visions #2: Time’s Echo You can pre-order Star Trek comics at a discount from Things From Another World, just click on the banner below.
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.