Star Trek – Assignment: Earth #3
IDW (July, 2008)“My Name Is Legion” WRITER/ARTIST: John Byrne COLORIST: Tom Smith LETTERER: Robbie Robbins EDITOR: Chris Ryall
Illinois State University Of Science And Technology: Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln are undercover, Gary as a teacher and Roberta as a student. Beta Five picked up strange signals from the college but have found nothing. Gary decides to have Beta Five do a self-diagnostic, which means it won’t be able to help in the investigation but our heroes are questioning if Beta Five actually found anything. Roberta also gets involved with a group of protesters and begins a relationship with one named Curtis who wants to keep peace between the protesters and the National Guard after Kent State, and actually respects the soldiers while hating the war. However, our heroes do find that something is wrong, a secret cloning laboratory underneath the university that a general wants to turn into a moral-less army. Beta Five comes online just in time to save them and the clones are transported to another planet. Curtis is welcomed into the fold but later dies after the draft sends him to war, shown to us as a grown-up Roberta brings her granddaughter to the Vietnam War Memorial and meets up with human-form Isis, showing someday she’ll at least learn about Isis’s shapeshifting.
What they got right: For a “show” set in the late 1960s, around the time of the first interracial kiss (and even that was forced by ancient Roman wanna-bes with telekinetic powers), which just happened to be the show this spun off of, I like seeing the interracial romance between Roberta and Curtis. It may not have gotten past censors for TV at the time but I still applaud it and their skin color not being an issue. Heck, I like Curtis altogether. He’s like the bridge between hippie and soldier, protesting the war but not blaming the soldiers for it. (If only more people during Vietnam thought that way the returning soldiers may have been treated like human beings.) I wish he had stayed around. Also, Gary acknowledges that this is the second time we’ve seen tech too advanced for the time period, meaning Byrne isn’t just ignoring the time period but creating an extended mystery. Finally, the general who wants his own soulless clone army thinking that’s the way to wipe out the enemy (and civilians but he may have a broad idea of “enemy”) isn’t treated as typical military. In fact, he’s the only military person who seems to be involved with the project. Otherwise you have the doctor who also teaches at the university and the clones, who (and I wonder if this is a coincidence) are perfect-bodied, blonds. I wonder if they have blue eyes as well.
What they got wrong: Too bad it’s without Curtis. Like I said, he’s a good all-around character and he could have been a good addition to the team, as a voice of reason and muscle, while Roberta would still be the person needing to be told about certain details necessary for the plot (which Curtis would be as well) plus a different perspective. Add in Gary’s little magic device and Byrne missed out on completing the Doctor Who formula this series accidentally played with at concept. Just replace TARDIS with portal to his office.
Recommendation: This is my favorite issue thus far and worth checking out.