Today John Byrne’s story of Number One came to a close with the release of "Star Trek Crew" #5. There are deaths, loose ends, familiar faces, and of course, the Enterprise. How do they all fit together? Read on! We have a review of #5 (and #4 since we skipped that one last month).
CREW #4 REVIEW
It’s taken us three issues, but we’re back to the USS Enterprise, the final known home of Number One. "Shadows of the Past", the title of this issue gives a nice foreshadow of what’s coming… if you can figure out the reference of course. At the start of the issue, the shuttle holding the future Number One arrives on board the ship and who is the first person she meets, but Lieutenant Commander Pike.
The story starts with a re-introduction to the Enterprise and eventually her current captain, Robert April. As per usual, when Number One is around, something goes wrong. Catastrophically wrong in fact. In this case, the ship has crossed an incredibly powerful energy trail from a transporter beam. This leads them to a planet with a series of man-made bases and constant fights going on between them.
Byrne takes the opportunity to revisit moments from past stories and fill out some more details and tie off some ends that we never really realized were loose to begin with. Combined with his use of panels, the story ticks along with some good speed. Lovern Kindzierski, a Canadian veteran of DC Comics returns as the colorist for this issue after his excellent work on issue #3, and continues to bring out the best of Byrne’s work. Thus far, this series is getting better issue by issue,
CREW #5 REVIEW
And then we come to the end… "The Ends of Eternity" in fact. This is the final story in the prequel story that John Byrne is presenting studying the life of Number One before she took the job. In this final issue, we are once again on the Enterprise, and Captain April is taking our heroine to task for declining another promotion, something that she has repeatedly done over the course of the three years that she has been a member of the Enterprise crew. They are rudely interrupted as the starship encounters strange time dilation issues, specifically ones that speed up the chronometers on the ship.
Seeing that this story is the closest to the events of "The Cage" chronologically, the terminology is in line with that episode, including speaking about lithium crystals, and Spock is introduced as the science officer. This doesn’t quite fit in with what was previously presented in the "Alien Spotlight" focusing on Vulcans published almost two years ago, but does not really harm the overall story.
Byrne uses pages of black and shades of white to throw the Enterprise crew into a strange reality, one where Spock is rendered incapacitated due to his Vulcan heritage. The shading of colors by Kindzierski adds to the alien feel of the issue, and brings out the aging effects shown throughout the story. The ending has a bit of a feel of Deux Ex Machina or something similar, but with a 22 page story, it is sometimes hard to avoid that.
Overall "Star Trek Crew" has been a fun one, visiting a time we had not seen much of previously in the comic realm. The stories finish before the events of the Vulcan alien spotlight, and thus also the Early Voyages series from Marvel, recently reprinted by IDW in their "Star Trek Omnibus volume 2". Each story finishes with a clever reference or line at the end, and the final panel of the series is no different as it features a moment between Christopher Pike, Captain April’s “Number One”, and our heroine – possibly the last time we will see her in print for the forseeable future. This series is not one of Byrne’s best, but for fans of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, this is a fitting eulogy for ths character.
Star Trek Crew #4 and #5 are available in comic stores now. You can order both covers from TFAW.
You can also pick up the previous three issues.