Star Trek 791: The Empire Man

791. The Empire Man

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #60, Gold Key Comics, January 1979

CREATORS: John Warner (writer), Alden McWilliams (artist)

STARDATE: 2314.6 - Follows issue #56 (Season 3).

PLOT: The Enterprise is on a mission of mercy to help recent settlers to a planet defend themselves against a mysterious marauder. He is Zar-Tan and amazingly strong. The planet has its own mystery, a ghostly woman that mutely warns of Zar-Tan's attacks and later beams herself to the Enterprise to confront Zar-Tan. Turns out the planet's former inhabitants dodged a radiation catastrophe by turning themselves into plants and sending a cyborg full of their DNA material away for an eon. He has returned, but the plant mind lost the abilty to properly communicate with humanoid (which they explain by that old trick, possessing Spock). Once the race is resurrected, they invite the new settlers to stay.

CONTINUITY: None.

DIVERGENCES: None, thought I doubt the Federation really was given the technology to turn people into plants.

PANEL OF THE DAY - The ghost will be played today by Marilyn Munroe.
REVIEW: It's one of those stories the Gold Key series used to do a lot of, that hinges on a huge reveal told in flashback. Until then, it's about phaser fights and spaceship crashes and of course, asking the questions. Ghostly manifestations of people turned into plants? By this point, sure why not? I suppose it's no worse than 1979 Superman fare. New writer John Warner doesn't blow Kashdan out of the water, I'm afraid. I don't dislike the pencil-drawn cover's figure work, but how about some backgrounds there, Frank Bolle?

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