822. Mortal Gods
PUBLICATION: Star Trek #5, DC Comics, June 1984
CREATORS: Mike W. Barr (writer), Tom Sutton and Sal Amendola (artists)
STARDATE: 8163.5 (follows the last issue)
PLOT: The Enterprise searches for the survivors of the USS Valor, destroyed in the recent Klingon conflict. Only an old student of Kirk's, Captain Philip Hodges, survived, landing on a primitive planet of rat-men, stopping their war, curing some diseases, marrying a hot rat-girl and passing himself off as a god. He won't be dissuaded to leave either. But factions are conspiring to get the war started again, and one of the generals kidnaps him. A conflict erupts with our heroes in the middle, but as they are about to rescue Hodges, his rat-wife barges in and gets badly hurt - McCoy operates. In the end, the Enterprise arranges for Hodges to give a farewell speech and beams him up in divine ascension to be with his wife. No harm, no foul, right?
CONTINUITY: Mentions the Richter scale of culture (Errand of Mercy).
DIVERGENCES: The Enterprise broadcasts a massive hologram into the planet's sky.
PANEL OF THE DAY - With a guy like Sulu, it's better to check first.
REVIEW: A classic "Kirk breaks the Prime Directive but laughs it off" story, and though those tend to dry fans crazy, it kinda works because it's Cowboy Kirk. Fast-moving, dynamic and even includes a couple jokes for the Trekkies (the above Sulu scene and a bit with Saavik). Bearclaw seems to be a Young Chakotay prototype, raised in the American Indian "culture" and skilled in tracking like a Numenorean Ranger. We all know how much I loved Chakotay (not at all), so I hope Bearclaw does better. The art under Amendola's inks is a lot rougher and not as strong as previous issues (plus, there's a weird sideways panel). But overall, I'd say everything is weaker compared to the first four issues.