Focusing almost entirely upon the Mirror Universe’s viciously vile incarnation of Lieutenant Reginald Endicott Barclay III, Issue Three of “Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through The Mirror” ably demonstrates just how decidedly different “the voyages of the I.S.S Enterprise” must have been to those depicted in the American science-fiction television series from 1987 to 1994. For whilst David and Scott Tipton’s narrative still features the somewhat familiar looking characters of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, William Riker and Deanna Troi, the almost palpable aura of utter evil which encompasses each individual like some sort of sinful satanic shroud, genuinely permeates even the most non-violent of scenes, such as when the Galaxy-class Federation starship’s bearded first officer encounters his imzadi’s doppelganger and wonders why the pouting dark-haired beauty is suddenly wearing her old miniskirt uniform.
Perhaps this sixteen-page periodical’s biggest draw however, is just how surprisingly violent some of its sequences are with the highly arrogant systems diagnostic engineer thinking nothing of bringing his foes low with a double-handed blow to the base of the neck, or savagely stabbing his superior officer in the belly whilst wearing a deeply disturbing maniacal grin on his face. Long-time fans of the franchise may well remember Captain Kirk’s persistent overreliance upon physical confrontations as a solution to his predicaments, yet even the “only student at Starfleet Academy to defeat the Kobayashi Maru test” was never shown to be as bloodthirsty or savage as “Broccoli” is here; “My name is Barclay, and I will not be disrespected. Are we clear? Good.”
Equally as entertaining is Josh Hood’s clever inclusion of numerous Starfleet uniform designs from the past. It’s clear from Inquisitor Troi’s holo-deck simulation that the female Betazoid’s intelligence is a few years out of date, due to the Terran Empire erroneously believing that the Federation were still wearing the attire created by “veteran costumer William Ware Theiss” for the program’s pilot episode “Encounter At Farpoint Station”. This blunder not only adds some additional tension to the storyline once the evil duplicates teleport on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, but also provides a pleasant feeling of nostalgia to proceedings.
Interestingly, this publication’s short, “Ripe For Plunder”, is also a frighteningly ferocious fight-fest; albeit one in which the victor is never in any noticeable doubt. Ambushed within a dark, underground cave system by a pack of bestial, Klingon-looking aliens, Data’s all-too apparent super-strength and advantageous Borg technology disappointingly allows the android to overcome his foes with remarkable ease. Indeed, the automaton’s success in defeating his attackers is sadly, as unsurprising as is his subsequent discovery of Emperor Spock hiding in the catacomb’s furthest room…