Star Trek 731: The Peril of Planet Quick Change

731. The Peril of Planet Quick Change

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #4, Gold Key Comics, June 1969 (reprinted and recolored in #35)

CREATORS: Unknown (writer), Alberto Giolitti (artist)

STARDATE: 21:06.7 - Follows the last issue.

PLOT: The Enterprise stumbles upon the planet Metamorpha, rich in a mineral Starfleet needs, but incredibly unstable. As the landing party tries to deal with a geology and ecology that shifts from moment to moment, Spock is possessed by light-like aliens who are Metamorpha's inhabitants, super-quickly evolved from humanoids. Spock helps them complete a rocket that will fix their planet by delivering chemicals to the planet's core. When it does, they leave his body and revert to their original form. Their city Hidenna (groan!) also reappears (techno-groan!) and the Metamorphans offer Kirk some sweet, sweet mineral. However, one of the aliens refuses to leave Spock's body, looking for adventure among the stars. Spock's first try at forcing it to leave is hammering his head on a pillar!
Needless to say, it's not very successful. Aboard the Enterprise, he uses the transporter to make himself too unstable to latch onto, and is freed.

CONTINUITY: None really, though Metamorpha is reminiscent of the Genesis Planet.

DIVERGENCES: McCoy has a yellow shirt throughout the original printing. Tiantianium, in addition to having the most ridiculous name in chemical history, replaces dilithium as the fuel of choice. Again, the Enterprise does fly-byes in a planet's atmosphere as rocket exhaust comes out of its nacelles. The ship also appears to carry trucks and building equipment.

PANELS OF THE DAY - Vulcan Dance Fever!
REVIEW: Aside from the groan-inducing magical restoration of the planet, this issue features a pretty dynamic story, especially in its first half as the crew attempts to survive the planet's quick changes. Giolitti doesn't do likenesses, but his action sequences are fun and he manages Spock's distress rather well. The villainous possession subplot that takes over the second half of the book does read like a tacked-on complication though. And while the characters remain largely ciphers, this issue does end with a good Spock-McCoy moment that makes me think the unknown writer has finally seen an episode or two.


De said...

Have you been visiting Memory Beta while working on the comic/novel entries? I was doing some digging over the weekend and found that the site's main chronology fits the Gold Key stories in according to the stardate. Any feelings on this?

Given the early nature of the stories (especially the first several issues), I'm not sure I agree with that assessment.

rob! said...

the guy who composed these Trek covers was later mistakenly shot by Valerie Solanas.

Siskoid said...

De: There are a number of timelines available on the net and elsewhere. I'm going with Win Scott Eckert's Annotated Timeline on these, placing them very early in the 5-year mission based on the absence of red uniforms. The stardates are just gibberish in the comics anyway.

Rob: Geez! Who was she aiming at?

De said...

Rob: And after so many wonderful discussions at the factory too.

Siskoid: Eckert's placement is interesting but makes a bit of sense too.

Speaking of other timelines, I'm sure you've read the novel-length appendix to James Dixon's timeline. Having dealt with him online a number of years ago, he certainly confirmed my impression that he is an angry angry man.

Siskoid said...

De: No, link me up!


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