Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Star Trek #1442: Star Trek 13

1442. Star Trek 13

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #13, IDW Comics, September 2012

CREATORS: Mike Johnson (writer), Stephen Molnar (artist)

STARDATE: Unknown (sometime after Christmas, follows previous issue).

PLOT: The crew of the Enterprise, and the events surrounding an away mission to Gamma Trianguli VI (i.e. The Apple), from a redshirt's perspective, Mr. Hendorff's, to be precise.

CONTINUITY: The original Hendorff died in The Apple, but in the new continuity, he is the character nicknamed "Cupcake" in the Star Trek movie, and mention is made of both stories here. The references to The Apple mean that the other redshirts must be Mallory (who originally stepped on exploding rocks), Kaplan (hit by lightning) and Marple (killed by natives), but see Divergences. Also mentioned, Calder II (Gambit Part I).

In The Apple, the redshirt hit by lightning, Kaplan, was a white male, not a black female. Similarly, Marple was a Hispanic male, not a blonde female. It is of course entirely possible that though the threats were similar, the landing party was composed of different crew members.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Right under Spock's nose. Ballsy.
REVIEW: Though the front of the book, with its unnecessary recap of the Star Trek movie, and profile of each member of the bridge crew (why, because there are a lot of readers picking this book up that HAVEN'T seen the movie?), is a lot of padding, I did enjoy how it resolved into a heartfelt tribute to the redshirt. Redshirts, if you've just joined our show, are characters whose only function in the classic Star Trek, were to get killed so that you'd know what Captain Kirk was up against. They usually wore red shirts because that's the color security personnel wear. From the Next Generation on, security was in gold, but we still called them redshirts. Anyway... this particular redshirt is a character from the movie - the guy who beats Kirk up in the bar and is now working under him - and the comic series has decided to give him the name of a redshirt who bought it in the classic episode "The Apple".To nice effect, as it turns out. Yes, the first few pages feel like padding as we're introduced to the characters we already know quite well, but the real lesson is that this redshirt, this DISPOSABLE character, has a distinct relationship with each of them. He's a person. He's also got a family (the reader in fact plays the part of his parents), and best of all, pride in his work. Writer Mike Johnson is breaking the fourth wall a little bit by using "redshirt" as in-universe jargon, but it's to show Hendorff sees value in it, reappropriates it, and turns it into a commendable role. The second half of the book is sort of a backdoor reboot of "The Apple", in which Hendorff this time survives, and only TOS fans will even realize this is so. It's got a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead backstage quality, with the mission seen from an odd and limited angle. Better, I think, than any kind of reprise (at least, based on the remakes we HAVE had), and it's perhaps to keep the surprise that the issue maddeningly omits a title. There's a weird hallucinatory mislead that I still find a bit confusing, but otherwise, a fine issue, and well illustrated by Molnar who has this crew's likenesses down pat. Always been a sucker for the "little guy" in the background, so this one got me, no problem.


snell said...

Of course, with no Chekhov in the landing party, we have to wonder who taught the native about, ahem, "kissing."

I also find it interesting that for the second time now, along with their update to Return of The Archons, they've taken a story whose theme was "it's dangerous to let machines run your life" and completely removed that theme.

Siskoid said...

I think it's fair to assume Skynet is manipulating the people over at IDW.

LiamKav said...

Or Apple. Can't be telling people they don't need to be attached to their iPhones, can we?


*looks at episode title*


Siskoid said...

Minds blown. Everywhere. What a mess.

chiasaur11 said...

Well, in TOS some redshirts came back to life as if nothing had happened. Who can say that it didn't happen with Hendorff offscreen?

On an unrelated note, you planning to see Dredd? It's pretty good.

Siskoid said...

I am, but on my schedule (and lack of vehicle), it may only be once it's out on DVD. (Same thing happened with the Dark Knight Rises.)