1182. Directives / Dying of the Light
PUBLICATION: Star Trek Unlimited #1, Marvel Comics, November 1996
CREATORS: Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton (writers), Ron Randall, Carlos Garzon, Jerome K. Moore and Al Williamson / Mark Buckingham and Kev Sutherland (artists)
STARDATE: 479905.2 (after All Good Things...) / 5970.3 (after Turnabout Intruder)
PLOT: In Directives, the Enterprise-D surveys the planet Endrella as it begins its journey to the stars. However, another space-faring race, the Lom is already there causing tectonic shifts that threaten to destroy the environment. When Picard confronts them, he finds that they mean well. Instead of a non-interference policy, they use psychohistory to predict the future and help others well in advance. For Endrella, it means 900 years to replenish the ozone layer and preventing a natural disaster far down the road. Does Picard save lives today or tomorrow? In the end, Dr. Crusher gives him the key. She finds a genetic defect in the Lom that will destroy the race in 1000 years. So advised, they leave to get their own house in order and Picard stops their earthquake machines without starting a war. In Dying of the Light, Kirk's Enterprise follows a distress call to a stranded archaeologist who boards with found artifacts. Unfortunately for Kirk, the planet below is a Gorn cemetery world and the ship is soon attacked. Kirk returns the artifacts to the planet via a shuttle, and the Gorn follow looking for his surrender. Kirk won't surrender however, and to show humans believe in honoring the dead too, he burns down a shuttle to replicate Viking funeral rites. This common ground mollifies the Gorn.
CONTINUITY: The Gorn appear in the TOS story, and specifically S'alath, who fought Kirk in Arena.
DIVERGENCES: The Gorn ships seen here do not really match the tiny model in Arena (but it's really hard to distinguish). Kirk's phaser is rather over-powered at the end there, melting an entire shuttlecraft.
PANEL OF THE DAY - Some of the cool designs in each story.
REVIEW: Star Trek Unlimited is a double-sized bimonthly series with both TOS and TNG stories, and I must say, it's pretty good. The art in particular is wonderful, with not just cool, but beautiful ship and alien designs, as well as expressive likenesses (especially - and not surprisingly - from Mark Buckingham) and better than average action. And that's not to say the stories aren't good too. The TNG tale hinges on a moral dilemma, like so many TNG episodes do, taking a very interesting cue from Asimov's Foundation series to create an alien race that's neither good nor evil. In the TOS installment, we have a little more action and cowboy diplomacy, the return of the beloved Gorn (in very funky ships), and a comic ending (the Gorn handshake only breaks two of Kirk's fingers) just like on the show. Series emulation is on a high level, which is great, but the series also uses the strengths of the comic book medium in giving us plenty of eye candy that might not have been possible on television budgets.