Star Trek: Assignment: Earth #1
IDW Publishing (May, 2008)“Brighter Than A Thousand Suns” WRITER/ARTIST: John Byrne COLORIST: Tom Smith LETTERER: Robbie Robbins EDITOR: Chris Ryall
Assignment: Earth is based on the backdoor pilot episode of Stat Trek Roddenberry was hoping to make a full series as this show seemed to be on the way out. While this isn’t the first or probably last attempt to bring Roddenberry’s concept to life, it’s the one I have. As we get further into the comics there will be an attempt to name Gary Seven’s “bosses” and continue the idea in different ways. Comic companies do not share continuities and sometimes even ignore the other one in favor of their own. That holds true for the Star Trek comics and novels and there will be contradictions aplenty as we move on. But on to this comic’s review.
Gary, Isis, and Roberta look into an experimental bomb using a new process that once wiped out another solar system. This being the 1960s of course nobody know that, but as our trio looks into things Gary becomes enamored with one of the scientists on the project. Unfortunately she turns out to be a Russian spy out to sabotage the project and kill as many people as possible. Finding her sabotage but tricked into thinking a different scientist is involved (he may have been trying to stop her), it’s a concerned guard who ends up doing her in, as Gary must deal with what has happened.
What they got right: Whatever problems I’ve had with Byrne in the past, I can’t put down his writing (except for that one Next Men comic I have but IDW there is at least partly to blame). Here Byrne does a good job replicating the time period not only in fashion but how the show would have operated, making this a good adaptation of the show that never was. The twist works and shows Gary’s human side.
What they got wrong: Although maybe it was the limited space but all we saw of Gary and Diana’s “relationship” is dinner and back to her place for better wine. I wasn’t too invested in their relationship. There is also the question of how the Russian spies were able to block the computer and the teleportation beam…and how they would know to have such a device in the first place.
Recommendation: A decent start and it is too bad the show was never made. It may not have had the staying power of its “parent” show but it at least had a cult following potential that other sci-fi shows of the period and type have today.