PUBLICATION: Star Trek #16, DC Comics, July 1985
CREATORS: Mike W. Barr (writer), Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran (artists)
STARDATE: 8218.4 (follows the last issue)
PLOT: When Kirk's Excelsior comes back from the mirror universe, Starfleet is waiting for him. He's hauled before an admiral, but not before he has time to send information to a pretty Andorian journalist. She files the story and next thing you know, Earth is rioting to get Kirk freed from all charges. That puts the admiralty in a pickle, so they quietly hand Kirk the Excelsior so he can work out all its bugs before it's out of the prototype stage. Styles receives some bad news. Kirk gets to keep his crew except Spock who is given command of the science vessel USS Surak, assigned to study the possible after effects of the Genesis Wave. As the adventure continues, our Andorian reporter gets a thank you card from one James T. Kirk (he's got a way with the ladies).
CONTINUITY: The crew returns from the Mirror Universe Saga. Waiting for them are Captain Styles, Carol Marcus (both ST II) and Admiral Morrow (ST III). In ST IV, when Starfleet says of Kirk and crew that they've "saved this planet", they may include the Mirror Universe invasion just as well as the V'ger incident.
DIVERGENCES: A bit early for a USS Christopher Pike, isn't it? Especially a Constitution-class. Obviously, the series will now have to do a number of somersaults if it expects the rejoin continuity for ST IV.
PANEL OF THE DAY - Kirk's P.R. machine
REVIEW: I must say Barr finds an ingenious way to keep the story going in between movies, one that has the seeds of putting continuity back on track. Excelsior could be sent on "black book" missions until the Federation Council forces Starfleet to recall Kirk, and Spock's proximity to the Genesis effect could make his mental problems relapse. I'm not saying it'll be seamless, but it's not bad. Kirk using the media here to get control of his career back is unexpected and clever (really, I don't know why all the characters in Barr's Outsiders - Batman included - were so stupid if he could write intelligent characters like this). Kirk gets to give a "you're the best damn crew" farewell speech even if they're not separated, but the best dialogue goes to Spock who, upon being told by his new first officer that she intends to make the Surak the best ship he's ever served on, tells her that it will require some effort. Poignant farewell between Spock and his two best friends as well. Barr unfortunately leaves the series (never thought I'd ever type those words), so he's set things up for a bunch of fill-in writers. Can they sustain the quality?