TrekInk: Review – DC Fontana’s “ST: Year 4: Enterprise Experiment” #1

Following closely on the heels of the classic Original Series episode "The Enterprise Incident" comes "Star Trek: The Enterprise Experiment," a comic book sequel by the same writer, D.C. Fontana. This week we review the first of the five issue mini-series telling the story of the experiment with the Romulan cloaking device stolen "The Enterprise Incident." Plus we have news and previews on upcoming comics

The story begins with some call backs (forwards?) to Carol and David Marcus, two characters that would not make their first (canon) appearance for several years in the second Star Trek movie, Wrath of Khan. We also see a glimpse of the cloaking device and the Guardian of Forever, foreshadowing a possible appearance later in the series. With the start of the story proper, Kirk and Spock are discussing how to arrive at a peaceful mind with Spock noting that while Vulcans appreciate peace through silence and isolation, Humans seem to tend to the opposite extreme. Kirk takes this comment as Spock prying into his private affairs, a rather Human trait.

shuttlebay doors…but where is the ship! (click to enlarge)

Kirk cuts the conversation short by noting that they cannot find Scotty or the Enterprise anywhere on their scanners, and that the experiment appears to be working… until they realize that they cannot raise it on the communication channels either, noting that "Our little experiment just became interesting."

Most of the dialogue reads as if it could be spoken on screen, and D.C. Fontana and her co-author Derek Chester pepper their story with Star Trek trivia, including McCoy’s preference of a traditional mint julep over a classic Scotch. They also find uses for members of the crew from The Animated Series, using their alien talents to good effect.

McCoy prefers a southern girlie drink over a good peat-flavored whiskey
(click to enlarge)

The story is strengthened by Gordon Purcell’s pencil and inks. United once again with Terry Pallot, Purcell continues his strong pencil art, last seen in the Year Four series. This story, concentrating on the fallout from an incident with the Romulans, appears to be a good follow-up to that one for his talents. Purcell, a veteran of the days when DC Comics held the Star Trek license in the 1980s has not lost his ability to make the characters seem photo-realistic, yet comic-like, all at the same time. Combining this with Pallot’s inking skills, once again, the feel of the classic Trek comics has returned.

This issue, like many of the recent IDW outings, features three covers, two provided by the Sharp Brothers, last seen doing the interior art on the prior Year Four series. Word has it that the brothers, Rob and Joe, have provided artwork for all five issues in the series. Based on the classic imagery on their covers for this issue, it was a good choice.

Unlike the last Year Four outing from IDW Comics, this issue does not feature a self-contained single story. In fact, this one ends on a nice cliffhanger with a shot reminiscent of the first appearance of another character on an Original Series episode. Same framing, same stance, same facial expression. Almost a perfect likeness too. This seems to be a trait carried through the two IDW ‘Second Stage’ releases thus far, as the New Frontier story ended in almost the same manner, and that is designed to be one story across several issues. Leaving the reading wanting more of Star Trek Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment.

Star Trek – Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment #1 is available now
at your local comic store (click to enlarge)



Recently IDW has quietly announced (or alluded to ) a number of new series and releases.

David and Borg Archives
First off, there are two reprint trade paperback ‘Archives.’ The first is a set of Peter David Trek comics stories from past publishers and the second is spotlighting Borg comics.

Both ‘Archives’ are available for pre-order at Amazon

More Aliens
Secondly, in a recent posting on TrekBBS, Keith DeCandido stated that he is doing an upcoming Alien Spotlight about the Klingons titled “Four Thousand Throats”. Other species seen will include the Tholians, Betazoids, and Ferengi, with writing from Andrew Steven Harris, the Tiptons, James Patrick, and Mike W. Barr. And in a posting on his own forum, John Byrne stated that he is working on several "sequels" to his Romulans Alien Spotlight, starting with a two parter, and then more.


Star Trek Year 4 Enterprise Experiment #4 and #5 (at Comics Continuum & Chris Ryall’s blog)


Mirror Images #2 (at Comics Continuum)



Next week: More! More! More! Covers and comics, oh my!

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Arex looks weird… but weird is part of the job :D

cool more Alien Spotlight , i really like them , hint do another romulan one !!

Interesting art work

: o )


Very looking forward to reading Year 4.

can we get these outside the US?

Looks like a must-have to me. I just wish I could find these locally.

Cool. I always liked Arec

Maybe it’s just to early in the AM here on the east coast but from the second paragraph on, imho, the article needs to be re-edited.

“The story begins with some call backs (forwards?) to Carol and David Marcus…”, I’ve read that line 3 times, and I know what the author is getting at, but a call back is a far different thing than a flash back, which is what I am assuming the author means.

Other paragraphs have equally puzzling word choices or akward construction that greatly detract from the ability to enjoy the column.

Hey guys,

If you can’t get these locally, IDW’s website does offer a subscription and mail order service. I’ve used it in the past and it works very well. The only problem is that in the case of issues with multiple covers, you don’t get a choice of which cover you get.

Nice illustrations. And McCoy enjoyed that same “girlie drink” (ha ha) in “This Side of Paradise” (granted, he was under the spore influence). Would love to see more stuff involving the Guardian (hinted at here), as the New Voyages “In Harm’s Way” did. And too bad we never actually get to see the 3 legged Lt. Arex “walk.” Even TAS couldn’t “afford” to show that. Guess it like Morn “talking” in DS9. It would be nice to see a member of Arex’ race in a background shot of the new Trek film.

Re: #9 (Jim Durdan)
“but a call back is a far different thing than a flash back, which is what I am assuming the author means.”

Nope. I meant a call back. A reference. There’s no appearance (ergo, no flash back). There’s a comment made about characters, who, in canon terms (and hell, real life terms), we didn’t know existed for several years.

If I’d meant a flash back, I would’ve used that term.

Jim: If you’ve got some issues with my writing style and want to suggest improvements, I welcome any and all constructive and serious feedback at alex

Re: #10 (steve)
IDW typically ships “Cover A” for subscriptions.

Re: #11 (Sebastian)
I know, a Mint Julep isn’t really a “girlie drink”, but compared to a rough and tumble Scotch… :)

With the way they snuck in the image of the Guardian so early in the story, Chekhov’s classic “show ’em the gun in the first act, fire it in the third” comes to mind… So, we shall see.

Sorry, a callback is a term for bringing an actor back in to either (a) reread to audition for a role, or (b) film later additional scenes or reshots with a character they’ve been cast as.

In computer programming it can refer to executable code that is used as a parameter in another part of the code. In communications, it can refer to a method using phone, email or internet that leads to a verification signal set back.

Finally, in comedy it can refer to a joke told later that brings back something told much earlier in the set. I’m presuming that if you’re seriously suggesting you know what you’re talking about, that you’re being a comedian and telling a joke.

If the Marcus characters are referenced, it’s a “reference”, “namedropping”, “recollection”, “mention”, or even an “obcanref”: the obligatory canon reference. I understand that it’s not a flashback [one word, not two] if the characters themselves aren’t drawn and only mentioned in dialogue. If that’s the point you’re trying to make, instead of attacking Jim, perhaps consider his point.

I think the Mint Julep was a poor attempt by the TOS writers to make sure McCoy drank something specific to his Southern roots, but like so many Hollywood types who’d never even BEEN to the South, specifically the Deep South, from which Georgian McCoy hailed, they stuck the first, obvious, most cliche’ “southern” drink they could think of. I live in the south, and yes, we like our sweet tea, but it’s not like you can’t get a coke or a pepsi or a friggin’ root beer to drink if you want. And plenty of people here do in fact enjoy an occasional “Foine Scootch” as our favorite Engineer would say. Among other potent potables…
And yes, one could argue that “perhaps juleps are more popularized in the 23rd Century”. Mayhap, my friends. But I still think McCoy’s choice of alcoholic refreshment sounded (and still sounds) cliched.

Yay TOS Romulans!

I approve.

Nice art work on these.

#14… Perhaps the connection to the Kentucky Derby with its popularizing of mint julep would still be around in the 23rd century. Or at least that’s what I always figured, as I grew up in Alabama.

Perhaps McCoy would normally be drinking straight bourbon, it’s just the spores made him so happy in “…Paradise” that he decided to mint and sugar it up?

#5 It’s been a letdown, unfortunately. I have the first 6 issues and I believe I shall stop there. No familiar alien races, no story titles(!), bland storylines overall, and inconsistent artwork. Even the covers have nothing to do with what’s inside the issues – Yeoman Rand? Wha…?

That said, the D.C. Fontana miniseries is something I will continue to buy. Issue one was an improvement over what they’ve been putting out thus far.

Maybe that Event is still Popular in McCoy’s time. Though with so many sports falling into disfavor or disuse (if one is to believe TNG) who knows? I agree that McCoy would probably seem more comfortable with a fistful of a highball glass with three fingers of Johnny Walker or J.D.,probably straight up, no ice, than a Julep. Them spores, I tell ya, ya can;’t trust ’em!

The cover with Sulu in a Klingon uniform is funny. Maybe he and Kirk are engaging in a little rough fantasy stuff?

And the one with Spock looks like he is belting out a hot number while playing the electric keyboard.

I think the mint julep was a result of McCoy being so sweet and mellow with the spores. You remember that once he shook off the spores he dropped it like a hot potato.

Bleep? Who says Bleep nowadays? That’s not me.
Security – there is an intruder on board masquerading as me. He is to be detain but not harmed.

I enjoy a lot of comics although I don’t buy monthly “floppies” anymore. I’ll probably check some of these out when they are collected in trade paperback. It’s cool to see Arex again. I wonder it he’s an Edoan, Regulan, Saurian, or Trilexian. They never could keep that straight.

I wonder if the name “Enterprise Experiment” is also making reference to the story/myth about the “Philadelphia Experiment” and the movie of the same name, seeing that cloaking technology seems to be involved in both stories.

Thanks alot for the update. Sounds quite dreadful…
Should be a wise decision to concentrate on the miniseries then.

#23… that really happened.

Woo-hoo!! TrekInk is back!

Great job, Sulfur! I shall have to pick this book up. :)

And is that Sulu dressed as a Klingon? What in Surak’s name…?

boy, trekkies are persnickity!

But I couldn’t resisit:


In television, the term callback has come to mean a joke or line that refers to a previous episode (or sometimes, in rare cases, movies). Particularly in earlier sitcoms – though even until the early 1990s – callbacks were rare and often frowned upon by networks, because they threaten to isolate a viewer who is new to the series, or who missed episodes. Seinfeld was one of the first sitcoms to regularly use callbacks in its scripts, although on a level which would often be missed or disregarded by viewers. More recently, Arrested Development has become well-known by fans for its regular use of callbacks throughout all of its episodes. Of course, the line between a callback and simple continuity can sometimes be ambiguous. The opening sequence of the season nineteen premiere of The Simpsons callsback to the events in the movie.

Can’t we all just get along?

I think McCoy’s diverse palate is underrated. From Finagle’s Folly to Romulan Ale, this southern gentleman knew his wet goods. How else do you think he hit upon a theragen derivative to combat the effects of interphase?

In addition to all ship’s doctors being dirty old men, Starfleet Medical requires its practitioners to take Mixology 101. Sometimes a man will tell his bartender things he’d never tell his doctor … or ship’s counselor.

a girlie drink?

Isn’t that kind of sexist???

D.C., as always, you remain not only a class act, but one of the true greats of SF, and an inspiration to myself and many others.

Year 4 is a must have for me.

Re: #29: Doug

My original formatting had “girlie” in quotes… but I removed it at the last second… It was intended to be a bit of wry (rye?) humour… but one of those things that when you see it “in print”, it just doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped. Alas.

Re: #27: vorta34303034234273

That was the “definition” I was working off of. Since Trek is a television/movie thing really… and the comics are just the TV shows on paper… or something :)

Re: #13: Daoud

I was not, by any stretch, attacking Jim. My entire intent was to suggest that if there is constructive criticism of my columns, whether it be on content or writing style, I definitely welcome comments both on here and directly via email (as noted in #12 above).

New Frontier #2 and Intelligence Gathering #4 out today btw… woot!