Star Trek #44
DC Comics (November, 1987)
“The Return Of The Serpent” part II: “Past Perfect”
WRITER: Mike Carlin
PENCILER: Tom Sutton
INKER: Ricardo Villagran
COLORIST: Michele Wolfman
LETTERER: Helen Vesik
EDITOR: Robert Greenberger
Now a prisoner of the Vaalites the remaining away team can only watch as Akuta, Vaal’s attendant before its destruction, pulls the Enterprise down to replace their god. The crew are only saved by Spock offering to restore Vaal, which Akuta accepts. However the other Vaalites are upset about this and decide to kill Kirk anyway until the security team from the ship comes to their rescue. Kirk, Chekov, Konom, Bryce, Sulu, and Bearclaw head into Vaal to rescue Spock and are attacked by the computers inner defenses until they finally come upon Spock wired to Vaal itself.
What they got right: On a technical level there are no problems with the story. The crews voices are fine, including resuming the disagreement Kirk and Spock had over Vaal initial destruction in the episode, the action is good, and Akuta’s new powers make him a major threat but one you at least understand whether you agree with him or not.
What they got wrong: After the holidays I’ll prepare an article that goes into greater detail with the episode and this arc, but the specifics are what take some of the shine away, It’s clear that Carlin didn’t like the ending of “The Apple” and wants to retcon things so that Vaal is restored, which is going to be the main discussion point of my later commentary, after we see what else he does to make his case. Otherwise, I don’t know why Spock nerve pinches Kirk when he wasn’t in a position to stop him anyway. Akuta now has magic powers. Ignoring that he didn’t have them in the episode neither did Vaal. Like all “mystic” stuff in the show what Vaal did to the crew can be explained scientifically, which has been the case with everyone from Trelaine to Q, even if “psionic powers” or “strange technology” were the given cause. What Akuta is doing feels too much like magic.
Recommendation: I am enjoying the story and would recommend checking it out, but my issues with the story also stem (no pun intended but I’ll leave it there) from a problem I have with the episode. I’ll get more into that when this arc is over.