Star Trek Unlimited #1
Marvel/Paramount Comics (November, 1996)
Instead of giving the original series and The Next Generation their own titles Paramount Comics made the odd choice of combining them into one series.
WRITERS: Dan Abnett & Ian Edginton (both worked on both stories, they were a team at the time)
LETTERER: Phil Felix
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
The Next Generation: “Directives”
PENCILERS: Ron Randall, Carlos Garzon, & Jerome Moore
INKERS: Al Williamson & Derek Fisher
COLORING: Team Bucce!
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Polly Watson
The Original Series: “Dying Of The Light”
PENCILER: Mark Buckingham
INKER: Kev F. Sutherland
COLORIST: Kevin “Cozy” Somers
In the first story the Enterprise-D prepares for a potential first contact situation as a planet prepares to make the trip to outer space beyond their moon. However another race, the Lom, believe it is their duty to save the planet from a depleted ozone layer…that won’t happen for many generations now, and their solution is causing mass destruction to the planet. Picard tries to figure out which is the lesser infraction to the Prime Directive until Crusher’s examination of an injured technician working on the devices behind this shows that the Lom have a potential blood defect that will itself become serious generations from now, so they decide to fix their own house before taking on another species. The Federation will also have to wait for first contact.
What they got right: Full-sized stories instead of two short stories I can get behind, even though it meant the comics were a bit more expensive than the rest of the Star Trek comics during the Paramount Comics run (a Marvel imprint, and I wonder if this is how the pre-Disney MCU films were distributed through Paramount). The Lom are well meaning in their self-importance and make a decent antagonist.
What they got wrong: As SF Debris has noted before, Prime Directive stories are always debatable in their execution, as the Prime Directive is not well thought out. I can’t side with Picard’s indecision here given that as well meaning as the Lom are they are causing people trouble. I do understand him not wanting to fight but I have to wonder what he would have done had Crusher not shown the Lom they were living in a glass house of sorts. Therefore I really didn’t get into this story as much as I wanted to.
Back in the 23rd century, the Enterprise answers a distress call only to learn it was a trick to get a free ride off a Gorn cemetery world with artifacts to prove his theory about the Gorn being what dinosaurs might have become. Before Kirk can put the relics back the Gorn arrive, and the commander just happens to be the same Gorn Kirk once fought thanks to the Metrons. (I’d complain but it’s not the first time this kind of coincidence has happened to Kirk between the original series, the animated series, and various comics and novels. If he hadn’t died, I’d half expect Kirk to come across the unnamed Romulan commander from “Balance Of Terror”.) Kirk has to not only return the artifacts but find a way to satisfy the Gorn’s understandable anger, and he ends up opening dialog with the Gorn instead.
What they got right: The original series and anything up to Lower Decks, the reference-heavy parody on CBS All-Access, are the only times the Gorn has shown up in anything close to official works. There’s inconsistency with the captain’s name (here it’s S’alath, but it’s a different name in other works) between this and other attempts to flesh him out but I do like this attempt, and it builds on what happened in the episode “Arena”.
What they got wrong: The story starts in the middle of the Gorn’s attack on the Enterprise where they have Kirk confused as to why they’re being attacked. Yet when it flashes back to the actual story Kirk is not only clear why it’s happening but think the Gorn is in the right and he’s trying to diffuse the situation for everyone’s benefit. The opening kind of lies to us in this regard to build the suspense.
Recommendation: Two strong stories though I have more problems personally with the first one. Worth looking into.