Star Trek: New Visions #18



NewVisions18-minPleasingly paced, with plenty of precarious photomontage pauses and difficult dilemmas dotted throughout the narrative, John Byrne’s script for Issue Eighteen of “Star Trek: New Visions” explores the intriguing prospect of a Constitution-class starship finding itself submerged deep inside a planet of living water, and its crew facing the claustrophobic challenge of surviving inside a vessel which has been “put together t’keep everythin’ inside. Not t’keep things out!” In fact, Mister Scott’s battle against an ever-rising tide of water which results in fifteen dead crew members, arguably proves to be a far more engaging element to this adventure than the U.S.S. Enterprise’s primary mission to explain how Polymax VIII was completely flooded, or Spock and McCoy’s meeting with a homicidal fish-man.

Interestingly, the West Midlands-born writer also uses “What Pain It Is To Drown” to show just how imperative the spacecraft’s captain is to the successful running of the ship. James Kirk is needed absolutely everywhere during this tale, whether it be to see “what ve are lookink for” on the Bridge, provide “a chance to try out those new environment suits Starfleet sent us” or simply swim down to Engineering in order to authorise Scotty’s “crazy idea of somethin’ that might get this liquid off th’ ship.” There’s even a scene where Mister Sulu suddenly realises there’s a chance to save the Enterprise by piloting it into “anudder von of does vortexes… about five thousand meters avay”, and yet refuses to “take the risk without the Captain’s order”, so instead inefficiently sends Mister Kyle off to locate his skipper…

Far less successful sadly is the former “X-Men” artist’s rationalisation as to just how the aggressive water-world which destroyed Polymax VIII came to exist. The initial appearance of the mechanically-armed Ulum of the planet Pluul seems the logical point to provide some justification behind the comic’s events. But instead, the Eagle Award-winner waits until the story’s final moments, when Spock mind-melds with the dying frog-faced alien, to confusingly explain that all the sea-based shenanigans were due to the insane extra-terrestrial committing suicide? Just how wiping out “billions” of humans and projecting his life energy into globules of water would atone for the fish-man’s belief that he was “solely responsible for the extermination of his [own] species” must have baffled this book’s bibliophiles, especially when the half-Vulcan Science officer unsatisfactorily admits that Ulum “had buried too deeply in his subconscious” exactly what he had done?

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.


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For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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