Star Trek: Early Voyages #17
Marvel/Paramount Comics (June, 1998)
WRITERS: Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett
PENCILER: Javier Pulido
INKER: Steve Moncuse
COLORIST: Marie Javins
LETTERER: Janice Chiang
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
Pike and Kaaj’s team fight their way out of the temple area, Kaaj forced by Virka to put his blood debt (which he finally explains to Pike) so they can all get out alive. However, the Temazi unleash the very weapons Kaaj came to find, technorganic bugs who hunt them down. Kaaj sacrifices himself to stop most of them, satisfying his blood debt by showing up Pike in battle and the rest escape on the Klingon shuttle. However, Kaaj’s enemies are here too, challenging the Enterprise as April challenges Number One’s command, Mohindas apparently siding with him. The Klingons fire on the shuttle, which draws the attention of the last of the Thanatos weapons, which has been flying after the shuttle. April also gives the command to fire and Mohindas obeys before Number One can stop it, the shockwave leaving the fate of Pike and company up in the air, damaging the Enterprise and injuring Number One, which puts April in charge.
This is how the series ends because the Paramount Comics license was up and Marvel didn’t renew. We’ll be seeing this again in later Paramount comic runs. However I believe this is the only one to end on a cliffhanger.
What they got right: The design of the technobugs is neat and makes for an interesting weapon. Kaaj gets to go out in a blaze of glory.
What they got wrong: Did Marvel not tell them this was the last issue until it was too late to fix the ending? If my memory is right and this is the only Paramount Comics Star Trek title (the imprint did other series but most of them were Star Trek) to end on a cliffhanger that’s a big mistake. Especially one that leaves Pike’s fate uncertain, and the ship in the hands of this corrupted version of Captain April. I still don’t like this take on him, nor am I happy to see Mohindas follow his orders immediately when Number One is in charge.
Recommendation: I wish this had a proper ending but the series as a whole is worth checking out for a “what if” story had the original pilot become the series, while still making it part of the classic Star Trek timeline. Pick them up if you can, cliffhanger ending and all.