‘Star Trek: Phase II’ Makes Its Comics Debut In Waypoint #6 – Review & Preview

Review: Star Trek Waypoint #6
Publisher: IDW Publishing

After almost a year of beaming us back into the Prime Universe on a bi-monthly basis, IDW’s brilliant Waypoint anthology series has come to a close. Conceived as a celebration of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, Waypoint continually delivered on its promise to feature top comic talent of “yesterday and today,” with short stories spanning the entire Prime timeline. From a young Jonathan Archer to post-Nemesis Captain Geordi La Forge and, in this issue, Phase II, we’ve been treated with (mostly) gem after gem with “new and interesting angles of the Star Trek universe.” Editor Sarah Gaydos initially described this year-long voyage as “… a way to answer all the fans who keep coming up and begging for a Voyager ongoing or an Enterprise ongoing. There’s just not enough resources for us to be able to do that.” Now that all of the cards are on the table, it appears that Gaydos will now have to answer those same fans that will undoubtedly want more Waypoint.

Cover by Gabriel Hardman

Story 1: “The Rebound Effect” – A Star Trek: The Original Series Story
Written by Corinna Bechko
Art by Christopher Herndon

Waypoint has done an excellent job of highlighting female-centric stories, from Uhura in issue #1 to Yeoman Leslie Thompson to Ensign Laura Herrada,  and this issue is no exception. This time, our story is centered around Nurse Christine Chapel, who, when faced with a biomedical disaster, questions whether or not to finish her medical training.

After attending an armistice between two warring species on a nearby starbase, Chapel boards the Shuttlecraft Galileo (placing this story early in season one of TOS), en route back to the Enterprise. Shortly after takeoff, Crewman Skov, the navigator, passes out and causes the Galileo to crash land on a planet occupied by creatures that resemble a cross between the Salt Monster and a Hengrauggi from Delta Vega.  As the ranking officer, Chapel takes command, utilizing both her wits and her Starfleet training to survive until the Enterprise can mount a rescue.

Aside from her role in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, Chapel arguably hasn’t really been given that much to do in the Trek universe. Writer Corinna Bencko manages to get a bit of backstory on her as well as highlight her value as a Nurse and Starfleet officer. As for Christopher Hernon’s unconventional art – it appears sloppy and unfinished. That said, after checking out some of his other artwork (especially in the horror genre), I’ve come to appreciate it so much more. The monsters are absolutely terrifying and he’s able to capture the danger the shuttlecraft is in. Hernon gives us a glimpse of what a horror take on Star Trek could look like and it doesn’t disappoint.

Story 2: “The Fear” – A Star Trek: Phase II Story
Written by Gabriel Hardman
Art by Gabriel Hardman with coloring by Dee Cunniffe

Oh, what could have been. For the uninitiated, Star Trek: Phase II rose from the ashes of the aborted Star Trek: Planet of the Titans movie and was to be the sequel TV series to TOS. Originally greenlit with 13 episodes to launch the brand new Paramount Television Service in 1978, Phase II was to bring back most of the original cast (except Spock) and introduce three new characters – Ilia, Decker, and a new full-(green) blooded Vulcan, Xon. Ultimately, the series was scrapped for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with Nimoy’s Spock returning to the fold, along with Ilia and Decker.  Xon, sadly, got lost in the shuffle. Thankfully, IDW has taken us to an alternate timeline, and one that should be explored further.

A cloaked Romulan ship has crashed into the saucer section of the refit Enterprise, which begs the question: how does this not happen more often? Kirk takes a team to look for Romulan survivors and it’s clear from the beginning that Kirk is not happy Spock isn’t there. He repeatedly snaps at Xon and Bones keeps reminding him that he isn’t Spock – and that there are some advantages to that. More on that later.

They discover two Romulan survivors who tell of a beast that slaughtered the rest of their crew – one that must be stopped. Kirk reluctantly agrees to help them and assigns Xon to investigate.

What’s interesting about this story is how faithful it is to the source material. According to Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, a line was written for Kirk to Xon in the script for “Tomorrow and the Stars,” (which would have been the second episode) that was “an attempt to allude to Kirk’s bitterness that Xon wasn’t Spock.” This manifests itself throughout the story as Xon is portrayed as a younger, more inferior carbon copy of Spock until he is the only one (including Spock) that can save the day.

Writer/artist extraordinaire Gabriel Hardman is at the helm and knocks this one out of the galaxy. The artwork is superb, even capturing David Gautreaux’s likeness. There is a brief glimpse of Illia in the background and Decker appears as the XO, but this is clearly Xon’s story. Arguably the most forgotten character in Star Trek history finally gets his chance in the spotlight and it paid off brilliantly. I’m officially casting my vote for a Phase II ongoing series with Gabriel Hardman.

 

5-Page Preview: Star Trek: Waypoint #6

Click thumbnails to enlarge

Available Now

Star Trek: Waypoint #6 arrived in comic book stores last Wednesday and retails for $3.99. You can also order it at TFAW with a discount. There is also a variant cover by Tom Whalen available

Star Trek Digital Comics Sale

IDW is launching a big Star Trek digital comic sale starting August 15th and running for two weeks until August 29th. All Star Trek digital comics will be half off everywhere digital comics are sold. For more information visit comiXology.

 

Find Star Trek comics, toys, statues, and collectibles at TFAW.com!

Keep up with all the latest inked Star Trek in TrekMovie’s Comics Category.

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First Comment Yay !!!

Wow. As the article says, the artist does a great job of capturing David Gautreaux’s likeness as Xon. And the Phase II Enterprise, that delightfully awkward hybrid between TOS and TMP, looks to be spot-on.

Nice to see Phase II made it into some reality- I’d love a real comic series or Mini series.
For years I have been planning to make my own Phase II comic (Not for profit just myself & maybe some free copies for friends at conventions) This changes how I see it- I can build on this- saves me many creative decisions.

Actually the more I think about this, the more this would have made a better series than Discovery, it could be close to the Original series era but different both cannon & not cannon with it’s finished 70’s re-imagining of TOS.
It’s an alternate universe but one worth exploring.
There was a second 5 year mission after TMP before Kirk retired to being an Admiral & the Enterprise became a training vessel, the same story potential from that period is in this period.
I wish New Voyages had done this, they teased us with it but we really only got one short video with that Enterprise & not much more.

You really will find any excuse to complain about Discovery won’t you?

I pity you.

This issue summed up the Waypoint series well–one weak story followed by a great one. The first story looked like bad courtroom sketches with the fastest wrap up ever. Just because this artist might be good at a different art style doesn’t mean he should draw Trek. It’s likenesses and tech stuff–not good for this style. But the phase 2 story was great–well drawn and well paced. Hartman joins previous artists like Gordon Purcell, Josh Hood and Rachel Stott in being the art stable IDW needs to go with Woodward and Shasteen. And I definitely want more Waypoint, only the next time, give each story 20 pages so you can flesh the story out a bit more.

I wish every story had 20 pages. Sometimes they skip a lot of narrative to wind up within 14-16 pages, and story resolutions seem hasty.

More Phase II please!

really?

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