Star Trek 799: The Haunting of Thallus!

In December 1979, Marvel used its newly acquired license to publish an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in Marvel Super Special #15. This led to a monthly Star Trek series set in the drab TMP era (really, is there anything that plays less to the comic book medium than gray uniforms?), the first three issues of which simply reprinted the movie adaptation. Since I'm eschewing all adapted stories in favor of original ones, I'll be starting with #4 of the new Marvel series. Join me, won't you?

799. The Haunting of Thallus!

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #4, Marvel Comics, July 1980

CREATORS: Marv Wolfman (writer), Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson (artists)

STARDATE: 7416.2 (after The Motion Picture)

PLOT: Tasked with ferrying an alien ambassador and his very dangerous captive, Kirk isn't too pleased. His fears are realizes when the prisoner escapes, but th crew manages to recapture him. Then, the ship is assailed by monstrous visions right out of Halloween before arriving at Thallus. But there's no planet there, only a haunted house floating in space. Beaming aboard, Kirk and crew find a young woman terrorized by monsters and stranded Klingons trapped there just as they are...

CONTINUITY: The mission is given by Admiral Fitzpatrick (The Trouble with Tribbles). Janice Rand, now transporter chief, isn't forgotten. And TMP-era Klingons also appear.

DIVERGENCES: None.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Kirk fights Frankenstein's Monster (BELIEVE IT!)
REVIEW: Star Trek comics first serial (continued next issue) is pretty successful, actually. Dave Cockrum has always been a solid, serviceable artist, but Klaus Janson's gritty inks take it up a few notches. As for the Marv Wolfman script, it can't be called silly despite the monsters (including his "own" Dracula), because it hasn't been yet revealed how they can exist (no worse than Catspaw, to be sure). The issue's success lies in just how much is happening: a blind sonar-sighted alien (quite like Ridley Scott's in some ways) escapes, Halloween monsters, the Klingons show up... there's even a sexy interlude between crew members. For the first time in comics form, you get the sense that the creators are working on a bigger tapestry, and that this is a series to follow rather one-offs you could read in any order. I'm about to be disappointed, aren't I?

3 comments:

rob! said...

Man, Kirk fought Conan, now Frankenstein. What's next, The X-Men?!?

No, of course not...that would be ridiculous.

abc said...

Actually, I'd be interested in seeing your reviews of adaptations... especially with respect to added or glaringly omitted scenes, and whether the adaptations rose above the source material in any way... I recall especially later comic adaptations of the movies to be pretty packages but lousy in substance.

Siskoid said...

While not out of the question, I'm concentrating on new stories for now.

 

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