Star Trek: Early Voyages #3
Marvel Comics (April, 1997)
“Our Dearest Blood”
WRITERS: Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett
PENCILER: Patrick Zircher
INKER: Greg Adams
COLORIST: Marie Javins
LETTERER: Janice Chiang
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
The Enterprise is sent to Rigel VII, a planet giving up its barbaric ways and its violent Kalar warriors to join the Federation. Not everyone on the planet is happy about this though, and a trap is sprung, endangering the crew while Pike fights for his life at an old fortress, led there by the minister’s aide, who is in on the conspiracy. She also manages to kill Cusack when he damages the blocking signal preventing the ship from sending reinforcements. In the end Spock, Nano, and another crewman are injured, while Cusack and another officer are killed.
What they got right: If you’ve seen the original pilot, “The Cage”, or the footage that made it into the two-part episode “The Menagerie”, you knew from the cover this was going to end badly. This is the writers trying to explain those events leading up to the first (and on TV only) mission fans saw in the classic timeline. (I don’t buy that Discovery is supposed to be in the classic Trek timeline, nor is it in the Kelvin movie timeline.) It’s good that they waited a bit, although I wouldn’t have minded if they had waited a bit longer. Pike’s Yeoman is supposed to die according to the discussion Pike has with Boyce (who in the comic seems to be having a problem that I recall comes up later in this series) so Cusack’s days were numbered but he’s really a fun character.
What they got wrong: A few minor details. According to the discussion (if the Memory Alpha wiki is right), everyone was at the fortress, not just Pike and the girl. That was an alteration of the event by the Talosians to make Pike connect more to Vina. The writers also forgot the swords and armor (although there are spears) that Pike mentioned should have tipped him off something was wrong. And like I said, everyone was supposed to be at the fortress, not just Pike and the girl. The others were attacked by the extremists at a bar in the comic, with Cusack killed by the girl. I think the writers should have paid more attention to Pike and Boyce’s discussion than they did the Talosians’ illusion. The same for the artists although they did get the design in the illusion correct and the building could have at least looked that way. They just forgot the decoration, which in this case was an important detail.
Recommendation: Minor plot quibbles aside it’s actually not a bad reason for the events on Rigel VII, and this plus the Ngultor (speaking of aliens invading Pike’s mind) will drive him when it comes to the Talos incident we’ll be seeing next issue from the perspective of the new yeoman. Worth picking up.