Writers and artists rise to the occasion in the deeply emotional penultimate chapter of IDW Publishing’s adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s original teleplay. The City on the Edge of Forever #4 is out this week and TrekMovie’s spoiler review follows after the break.
Star Trek: Harlan Ellison®’s Original City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay #4
written by Harlan Ellison, Scott Tipton and David Tipton, art by J.K. Woodward, letters by Neil Uyetake, edits by Chris Ryall, covers by Juan Ortiz and Paul Shipper
Kirk’s emotional involvement with Edith Keeler deepens each day that he spends with this remarkable woman. Edith is by turns, surprised and mystified by Kirk, and ultimately enamored. Spock’s research into the timeline yields unwelcome results. His discussions with Kirk take the form of circumventing the flow of time. Kirk is determined to shield Edith from harm and take her back to the future. Spock has no choice but to affirm that she must die. After a long wait, Beckwith finally makes his appearance and gets away. Kirk begs Edith to stay in her room with the door locked. She is alarmed, yet tells Kirk that she loves him. He and Spock sweep the area again and Beckwith, armed with a phaser, nearly kills Spock, getting away again.
The Tiptons, Scott and David, tell two intertwined stories in this issue. The first story belongs to Kirk and Edith Keeler as they fall in love. The second story is about Spock, his captain, and their mission. While the stories may intertwine as they’re being told, thay can’t ever be woven together. We know that, and it’s still a very poignant tale. The writers have done a terrific job handling Ellison’s dialogue, setting the stage for the artist. The only discordant note in this issue was the sound of Kirk knocking on Edith’s door. KNOK, KNOK, KNOK. What happened to the Cs, Neil?
J.K. Woodward hits the ball out of the park with this issue. His artwork is all about the growing emotional attachment between Kirk and Edith Keeler, and Spock’s concern for his captain. Many of the most interesting panels have no dialogue at all, telling the story simply with the expressions of the characters. Most striking of all is a four-page sequence early in the narrative that fades from color to shades of gray, as if on a darkened stage, where Kirk and Spock debate the possibilities and inevitability of their circumstances. It’s exhilarating and heartbreaking all at once, because we all know the outcome of the story so well.
Cover artist Juan Ortiz focuses on Spock watching from the background of the regular cover, while Kirk and Edith Keeler fall in love in the foreground. It’s appropriate for the story. The subscription cover art for this issue misses a beat. Paul Shipper features Beckwith in the foreground, with Kirk and Spock looking on from the side, but I was confused. Beckwith bears a slight resemblance to Scotty, and at first glance, that’s who I thought it was. Maybe the resemblance is intentional, given that one of the apocryphal tales told about Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever involves Scotty and drug dealing. Fortunately, the interior art shines through, so it’s easy to forgive the cover oddity.
Only one issue left in this mini-series. I wish the story didn’t have to play out the way I know it will, but I’m sure that the IDW crew will finish the mission with the same skill and attention to detail that they’ve shown thus far.
Preview of City on the Edge of Forever #4
City on the Edge of Forever #4 will be at your local comic shop and online, Wednesday, September 24.
Also available this week!
Part three of “The Q Gambit” appears in Star Trek #37. Watch for TrekMovie’s review of this issue. Star Trek, Volume 8, a trade paperback collecting six issues of the ongoing series, will be released this week too. This edition features three story arcs, “Parallel Lives”, “I, Enterprise” and “Lost Apollo”, previously published in issues #29 thru #34.
Coming soon to a local comic shop near you!
October will bring old and new Star Trek comics. The second volume of Star Trek: Gold Key Archives with six more issues of the Gold Key comics will be released in hardcover. Part four of the ongoing story arc “The Q Gambit” and the conclusion of The City on the Edge of Forever are also expected, along with a new fotonovel by John Byrne and a trade paperback collection of his previous fotonovels.
You can pre-order Star Trek comics at a discount from Things From Another World, just click on the banner.
A moment of TrekZen
Finally, I couldn’t resist borrowing a meme from Star Trek author Dayton Ward who borrowed said meme from The Daily Show. Someone out there on the intertubes is a pretty clever Mego customizer. Your moment of TrekZen, a pair of really snappy dressers.
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.