This month, TrekInk revisits an old Star Trek comic book from the DC Comics days: the 1985 DC Annual fittingly titled "All Those Years Ago". The transfer of the Enterprise from Pike to Kirk, Number One’s career ending injury, and McCoy’s return to space. All this and more delivered to you by the capable hands of Mike W. Barr.
RETRO REVIEW: 1985 DC ANNUAL "ALL THOSE YEARS AGO"
With the upcoming Star Trek film featuring both Captain Pike and Jim Kirk and showing the origins of The Original Series, it seems a perfect time to revisit the first annual in the original DC Comics Star Trek series. "All Those Years Ago" was written by Mike W. Barr, one of the main authors of the ongoing monthly series. The annual allowed him a step outside of the ongoing continuity to revisit the era between Pike and Kirk for the first time in the comics.
On the surface, Barr’s story is a connect-the-dots style of story linking the first two Star Trek pilots "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before", taking the classic "origin story" and setting it amid an adventure, not unlike the recently released "Iron Man" film. this origin story is told in the form of a flashback with a bookend story set more or less during the continuity of the comics at that time (between Star Trek III and Star Trek IV), with Kirk commanding the USS Excelsior and Spock in command of the USS Surak, on stardate 8370.2. He has called the old crew back together, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, McCoy, and Sulu since they are the only active Starfleet personnel that encountered a race of aliens that are returning. Saavik, asks to hear the story of the previous encounter, and Kirk obliges, telling her about his last days in command of the USS Saladin on stardate 1278.40 and his first encounter with the USS Enterprise.
The story develops in the same style as the typical origin story, introducing the hero, then introducing his surrounding cast, and showing how they are all drawn together. Upon beaming over for the first time, we encounter Sulu, Scotty, Pike, Spock, and Number One in quick succession, and Kirk does not fail to make a poor first impression on most of them. After an unfortunate accident involving Number One and her saving the lives of Kirk and Pike, Kirk is forced to choose a new first officer for the ship. Instead of choosing Spock, he chooses Gary Mitchell, and they all head out into space with the first duty of transporting the new Fleet Captain, Pike, to his new posting.
David Ross and Bob Smith provide the art for this issue, doing pencils and inks respectively. This is David Ross’ only Star Trek comic book work, as he was a regular penciler on "Justice League of America" and "Avengers: West Coast". More recently, this Canadian artist’s work can be see in the "Parallels" arc in the "Star Wars: Dark Times" series. On the other hand, Bob Smith contributed to three other Trek comic book annuals, two Next Generation ones, and the following Original Series one, "The Final Mission".
The pencil art by Ross features many classic poses from the television series, including Gary Mitchell lounging on a couch, Spock’s knit fingers, and Kirk’s actions in the captain’s chair. His faces are, for the most part, remarkably like the actual actors, both their movie era looks and their television era looks. Occasionally, the faces are notable only for their lack of definition. Overall, it is the simpler art style seen in many comics in the 1980s. Smith’s inking is not overly noticeable, but brings out the emphasis in the pencil art, with his judicious use of shading and highlighting. Combining with Carl "Gaff" Gafford’s colors, the characters on the pages are given life. These are not the strong and vibrant colors that we see from modern comics, such as those printed by IDW, or even the last Trek comics published, those by WildStorm. Much of this is due to the paper and inks used and the costs involved with such. Then again, when reading comics of this vintage, this is what is expected.
Overall, this is not one of the best comics from the DC era, but is significant in that it is one of the first times in the comic realm that the Pike era is touched upon. Will this be anything like the upcoming movie? It’s doubtful, but at the same time, you never do know, and perhaps J.J. Abrams and/or some of his team have been reading these old issues for inspiration. Either way, these comics are worth reading for those interested in more views of Trek than the television shows give. Some of the themes and events from this era have made their way into the shows or novels, which always adds to the reading experience.
Cover for Star Trek DC Annual 1, 1985
STAR TREK COMICS NEWS
New Romulan series title
According to John Byrne on his forums, his new series will be shipping in September 2008 and is titled "Romulans: The Hollow Crown". Here’s a mockup of the logo:
2nd Alien Spotlight writers + artists
Andrew Steven Harris announced on TrekBBS that he will be writing the Ferengi issue in the second Alien Spotlight series. He also announced that J.K. Woodward (Peter David’s Fallen Angel series and the alternate cover for the second issue in the Turnaround series) is doing the painted artwork for KRAD’s Klingon story.
Mirror Cover 2
Finally, Joe Corroney released an updated cover for the second issue of the upcoming "Mirror Image" series on his blog.
Next week: New IDW comics coming… more news… lots of info!