Star Trek 776: The Tree Bears Bitter Fruit

776. The Tree Bears Bitter Fruit

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #47, Gold Key Comics, September 1977

CREATORS: George Kashdan and Doug Drexler (writers), Alden McWilliams (artist)

STARDATE: 67:32.4 - After The Lights of Zetar.

PLOT: After the ship fights giant vegetable pods in space, the pods land on an inhabited planet and out come energy beings who eat/disintegrate everything with energy in sight short of humans. They're not cannibals at least! When they're full, the ship follows them to Beta Niobe III, where the giant tree they were grown from reaches far past the atmosphere.
An old immortal called Zhyopha reveals that this is the first planet of the first galaxy of the first universe, and he's trying to jump start sentient life with his energy beings, pushing out more primitive forms. Kirk challenges him to a contest on an uninhabited planetoid, and when the energy beings have eaten all the animal life, they starve and destroy each other. Later, Kirk contemplates a salad with distaste.

CONTINUITY: The aliens are compared to the Organians and the lights of Zetar. Sulu's horticulture hobby gets a mention.

DIVERGENCES: Sometimes still Uhuru rather than Uhura. Noteworthy given that Drexler (early zine guru and later make-up artist on TNG, scenic artist on DS9 and Trek reference books go-to guy) gets a "Story Consultant" credit. I guess he wasn't consulted on Star Trek. In related news, this story takes place in the Beta Niobe system (All Our Yesterdays), but there seems to be no mention of Sarpeidon or the star going nova.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Vegetable of the Day
REVIEW: Finally a story people aren't afraid to sign their names to. Well, that might've been a mistake. I'm afraid it's full of plot holes. The beings are satiated in a first instance, but later, the more they eat, the more they need to eat. And at some point, did none of them think to eat Kirk before turning on each other? It's quite the contest when they never ever choose to attack him. Nothing is made of the giant tree and Zhyopha's many other pods, nor do we even know what happens to the old man. Instead of a proper conclusion, we get an extended, full-page final moment of levity. You know the ones I mean. The ones with the forced laughter. McWilliams draws the ship real well though.


hiikeeba said...

Heh. Space cucumbers.

Hated this issue.

Siskoid said...

And cucumbers give me gas.


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