Review: Star Trek: New Visions #15 – ”The Traveler”
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Photoplay by: John Byrne
The legendary John Byrne is back this month with a campy romp featuring a story and effects so cheesy that it feels like what a season 4 episode would have been. Imagine being in an alternate universe where NBC allowed the Enterprise to actually complete its five-year mission but continued to decrease the budget each year. This story is one of those voyages…
The Enterprise is on a routine patrol near the border of the Beta Quadrant when they discover an unresponsive ship and board it to investigate. There, they encounter a human-like life form that looks as if they cast a smarmy Bill Nye The Science Guy as the 13th Doctor. “The Traveler” (not to be confused with our friend from Tau Alpha C), as he known, delivers an ominous warning that ”The Q’al are coming!” Naturally, much like the quick Google search I did, the Enterprise’s computer banks come up empty for any information on the mysterious “Q’al” species. All we know from the Traveler is that they are dangerous and will kill everyone on board unless they listen to him. Why no one is at yellow alert by now is beyond me.
This is when the story goes absolute bonkers. Smarmy Bill Nye reveals that his answer to the millennium-long war with the Q’al is a robot army that looks like a cross between an alien pod from Prometheus, B-9 from Lost in Space, and a dalek from Doctor Who. If provoked, these robots could destroy the ship. Uh, maybe it’s red alert time? But no – none of this seems strange to anyone and, in fact, they even let this man with robot children actually MAKE CHANGES TO THE SHIP. I think you see where this is going.
When the Enterprise finally encounters the Q’al, the Traveler reveals his true agenda – to destroy them. Unfortunately, Kirk realizes that this guy is a homicidal madman a little too late and loses control of the ship. The Q’al beam over and Spock makes the fascinating discovery that they bear a resemblance to the Traveler’s robots, hypothesizing that they may indeed come from the same species. I’m surprised Byrne didn’t put an actual light bulb about Kirk’s head when he utters, “It’s all starting to make an insane kind of sense!” That makes one of us, Captain.
Look, the plot is absolutely preposterous, but if you enjoy the campy TOS episodes and even the 1960’s Batman series, then this issue is for you. I will say that these photonovels are incredible works of art and Byrne totally nails it. A lot of work clearly went into this and to his credit, it doesn’t feel like a distracting rehash of old TOS footage. Even the Traveler, aka Richard Weidlich, feels like he could’ve been a villain in the same vein as Trelane, Finnegan, or even Harry Mudd.
5-Page Preview: Star Trek New Visions #15
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Star Trek New Visions #15 and Star Trek / Green Lantern #5 available now
John Bryne’s Star Trek New Visions series #15 was released yesterday and retails for $3.99. You can order it at TFAW.
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