Star Trek: Early Voyages #1
Marvel/Paramount Comics (February, 1997)
“Flesh Of My Flesh”
WRITERS: Dan Abnett & Ian Edginton
PENCILER: Patrick Zircher
INKER: Greg Adams
COLORIST: Marie Javins
LETTERER: Janice Chiang
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
This series is set during the days of Christopher Pike’s captaincy of the USS Enterprise in the original continuity. Trapped by aliens (get used to it, Chris) the Captain is forced to relive the early days of his taking over the ship, selecting a good crew (including some holdovers from the previous captain, Robert April), and setting off on his five-year mission. This includes investigating the disappearance of crews from their starships. The Enterprise encounters the aliens responsible, who abducts Pike and captures the ship. Pike learns they’re called the Ngultor. For us Trekkies, think of them as the all-biological version of the Borg, absorbing the flesh of various species to recreate their own and add to the gene pool. Number One and two characters you don’t know (I’ll introduce you later) go into the organic ship to rescue Pike while Spock and Doctor Boyce work to purge the “organic computer virus” from the ship’s systems. After the rescue, Pike is forced to destroy the Ngultor’s mothership to protect the galaxy.
The New Crew: You already know Spock and if you’ve seen “The Menagerie” or the original pilot “The Cage” you know Pike, Number One, and Doctor Boyce. You may also know Captain April from his one appearance in Star Trek: The Animated Series. For future reference, here’s the rest of the Enterprise crew for this series.
- Yeoman Dermont Cusak: Hard-drinking Irishman, and Pike’s best friend.
- Lieutenant Sita Mohindas: Helmsman and tactical officer.
- Lieutenant Jose Tyler: Surprisingly blond for a man named Jose. Navigator.
- Chief Engineer Moves-With-Burning-Grace: Masai descendant.
- Head nurse Gabrielle Carlotti: Not much to say about her yet.
- Nano: Communications officer, created just to serve in Starfleet since the Lirin believe in REALLY strict population control
- Transporter Chief Nils Pictcairn: Not much to say about him either.
What they got right: I like the make-up of the crew. Some minor inspirations from TOS and TAS, but just familiar enough to accept them without them being just swapped copies of character before or since. The looks of the characters from the first failed pilot resemble their actors within the “we’d have to pay them for their likenesses if we overdo it” limits, while the new characters and the threat of the story also have good designs. It’s also a good rendering of the Enterprise‘s bridge as seen in the pilot. And they remembered April as the captain. The brain reading and jumping around introduces the crew and sets the comic at least two years into their five-year mission, since that’s when Cadet Spock is brought in as science officer due to his expertise. The idea of an organic take on the Borg is also interesting and doesn’t overstay its welcome like their cybernetic counterparts.
What they got wrong: There is some clunky dialog by the doctor to tell us Nano is the only Lirin on-board when the flashback handles that with the explanation.
Recommendation: The first issue really hits it out of the park, which is great for a first issue. Fans of the original who wondered what Pike was like as Captain might want to give this comic a look.