Star Trek 995: Raise the Defiant / A Question of Loyalty

995. Raise the Defiant / A Question of Loyalty

PUBLICATION: Star Trek v.2 Special #2, DC Comics, 1994

CREATORS: 1st story - Kevin J. Ryan (writer), Chris Wozniak and Jeff Hollander (artists); 2nd story - Steven H. Wilson (writer), Rachel Ketchum and Rich Faber (artists)

STARDATE: 8544.9 (after #34); 9481.1 (after #72)

PLOT: In Raise the Defiant, the Enterprise-A takes on a Starfleet engineer who gives them a secret mission - collaborate with the Tholians on recovering the USS Defiant from interphase space. The Enterprise has to use similar interphase technology to reach the old ship, and once it has, the engineer is revealed to be a Romulan spy who wants the interphase technology for the Star Empire. She sabotages the Enterprise and escapes in a shuttle, planning to destroy both Starfleet vessels, but Scotty didn't trust her and sabotaged her shuttle. It explodes. The ships returns.

In A Question of Loyalty, Valeris has her first training cruise aboard the Enterprise, under Saavik's supervision. Saavik finds her to be arrogant and bigoted, but out of loyalty for Spock - who seems to have taken a shine to Valeris - she gives her a full recommendation. However, Saavik is unable to continue serving under Spock after this difference of opinion, despite the fact he had earmarked her to replace him.

CONTINUITY: The Tholians pwned the Defiant out of our universe in The Tholian Web. Elements from this story are found in future Defiant stories, including phase technology experiments (Interphase; see also The Pegasus) and the idea that the ship might have landed in parallel universe (In a Mirror, Darkly). The Romulans' interest in interphase experiments would only bear fruit much later (The Next Phase). The second story features Valeris (ST VI) coming aboard the Enterprise for the first time.

DIVERGENCES: Raising the Defiant contradicts In a Mirror, Darkly and Interphase (which are mutually exclusive anyway). Even if the one in the Mirror Universe somehow came from a third parallel, why would Scotty send the SCE after a ship he himself rescued during the movie era? The Undiscovered Country novelization has the two women meet under different circumstances and Saavik sponsoring her with Spock.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Vulcan cat fight! Meowwwww!
REVIEW: The first story is sadly a waste of good paper. It reads like 20+ pages of technobabble before the Enterprise finally goes into the interphase, and then not very much happens. It's a lot of talking, none of the nostalgic reverence for the lost ship, and a Scotty-engineered deus ex machina (what, he had doubts about the guest engineer and said nothing to Kirk?). Very boring. Wozniak's art is an uneasy mixture of Walt Simonson, Howard Chaykin and Bill Sienkiewicz, sometimes quite dramatic, others rather rushed. Unmotivated camera angles and panels played out in cut-outs and hatch lines.

A Question of Loyalty is much better, telling us the untold story of how Valeris came to be on Spock's radar, and presenting her elitist/racist philosophy which would lead to her betrayals in ST VI. There is a thin "ship rescue of the week" plot in the middle of the story that manages some suspense despite its technobabble and gives Saavik a good farewell heroic action. They don't skimp on honest discussion of Spock's crush on Valeris, something tangible but left unsaid in the movie. The story probably has the best Rachel Ketchum art on the series too, her ship backgrounds for once animated and interesting, and her likenesses and poses well judged.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I'm glad you enjoyed "A Question of Loyalty!" It was great fun to write. Saavik is an all-time favorite for me, and I felt fans deserved an explanation as to why her place had been taken by this femme fatale. (A gorgeous femme fatale, played by the incomparable Kim Cattrall, but still, a terrible person!)

As I recall, this was Rachel's first work on the series. If the editor told me right, it may have been her first comics work. Before this, she'd done courtroom sketches. I think that showed in her beautiful portraits of Robin and Kim.

Good call on the ship rescue sub-plot! Not in my original outline, it was added to make the story fit the then-current PTB definition of what ALL Trek stories were supposed to be: the ship or a planet is in danger, and the crew must race against time to save the day.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for coming by, Steven! Valeris is one of my very favorite things about ST VI (and it's my favorite ST movie, period) and I was very happy to see more of her, and in a well told tale too.

 

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