REVIEW: IDW’s Star Trek New Vision Special ‘The Cage’ Disappoints

Promising readers an extra-length tale that reinterprets and adapts the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, what readers are truly left with is an oversized fotonovel like the original Bantam Books from the late 1970’s. The only new part of this adaptation is the fact that “The Cage” had never been published as a fotonovel previously. Now it has.

Star Trek New Visions Special: The Cage
This issue is currently available for preview at IDW

Considering the $7.99 price point and promises of a reinterpretation, Star Trek New Visions Special The Cage falls spectacularly flat and appears to be nothing more than a money grab. Sadly, this adaptation is even more disappointing considering the success and uniqueness in the storytelling format from legendary comic creator John Byrne, who has released 12 previous New Visions stories, culling photos from original series episodes to create brand-new lost episodes of the show.

Little changes appear in the adaptation, although Byrne does omit quite a few scenes and lines of dialogue, while also attaching other dialogue to different moments. To be fair, Byrne does include some new dialogue, however none of it really adds to the story. If anything, the new dialogue might just be more in his actual writing style than anything else.

New Visions The Cage does the actual episode a disservice as readers lose the nuanced performances given by the actors in the delivery of certain lines, as well as the way the story was told and shown given 1964 standards and effects.

One item to consider when deciding on purchasing “The Cage” is the purpose behind publishing the original Bantam Books fotonovels in the late 1970s. Although the episodes were in syndication at this point, the fotonovels offered fans a more permanent way to enjoy the episodes at any given time and not be at the mercy of their local television affiliates. Today, with streaming services that is generally not the case, although “The Cage” can only be streamed on Amazon Prime.

Honestly, unless one is a Star Trek completist that needs to own all Star Trek comics or publications, skip Star Trek New Visions Special The Cage, and rewatch the episode itself (including paying the $2 to watch it on Amazon Prime if not a member), which is a much better experience.


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meh is right. ever read the animated Voyages, spiked Canon? it’s what made me want to read new visions. tav is way better, but only has 4 issues, but are way cool.

What did anyone expect? You can’t make a silk purse from a sows ear

When I heard he was just doing a straight up adaptation of “The Cage” I wondered “Does anyone really care about adaptations anymore in the age of the DVD / Blu Ray player?” Fotonovels were cool in the 70’s because although Star Trek was on five nights a week, we couldn’t pick the episode that was on. Also, because they had a lot of cool pix of the Enterprise, the sets and the tech. But once the VHS player came out, and home video releases of movies became a regular part of every day life, you stopped seeing adaptations because….what was the point? They were redundant.

In 2016, with a plethora of viewing options for Star Trek, an adaptation like this is even more redundant. Seriously, what was the point of this? Why would anyone want to read something they can just go put in the player and watch? I mean we can watch this stuff on YouTube, iTunes on our phones and tablets while we’re on the go. There is literally no benefit to buying this at all.

Because viewing the stories in pictures is a different experiance, because it is the first episode & never been released in the original photonovel collection, so why not?

@Trekboi – It was never released because the people who came up with the entire fotonovel concept in the first place realized that the entire concept was redundant in the age of home video. Even comic companies rarely, if event that, still do adaptations of movies. And viewing a story in pictures as a different experience… this case it’s something we can watch and get sound fx, motion, music, nuance of the actors performance, all things lost in comic form. There is literally no benefit, no value to this other than just “Well, we can do it.”

“Seriously, what was the point of this?”
Well, not everyone has seen all of Star Trek. and not everyone have (or want) eletronic screens in front of them at all times. And in my opinion having something printed on paper makes it more real.

@ Victor – No, the ACTUAL episode will always be more real than that episode printed out. I own multiple copies of every single Star Trek fotonovel…..not one of them feels “more real” than the actual episodes themselves.

Don´t you take pictures and buy postcards and mementos from a country you visited? We do the same with this country is imaginary. That´s why we buy action figures and spaceship models AND ….fotonovels

Are you folks complaining about John Byrne? John Byrne has done a towering work for Star Trek over the years.
Complain about him is like complain about Santa Claus for delivering gifts. Get a clue.

I stopped caring about his Star Trek work when he stopped drawing Star Trek. His work since then has been unimpressive and uninspired. Get back to me when he starts drawing again. I used to think it would be a dream come true getting Byrne on Trek….Now all I wish is that he’d do more Highways. Really enjoyed that series and would love to see more of that universe.

I’d rather actually watch the episode then bother with this.

I love the Idea of new Photo Novels/Adaptions. I have all the originals & enjoy looking at the stories told in images. It’s a different experiance.
I just wish he had used images from the remastered episode if he was going to stray from a straight adaption at all I don’t see the point in using the original print & effects.

Sorry guys, but the Star Trek, The New Voyages, are selling very well. I love ’em as others do too: because they remind me so much of the old fotonovels when I was a kid. LLAP

…..New Visions……