Star Trek 1249: Silent Cries

1249. Silent Cries

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Untold Voyages #4, Marvel Comics, June 1998

CREATORS: Glenn Greenberg (writer), Michael Collins and Keith Williams (artists)

STARDATE: 7795.3 (a year after the last issue)

PLOT: While the Big Three are off on a sensitive diplomatic mission, Sulu gets the chance to command his first starship mission - the recovery of a science team and their great discovery, a creature that absorbs radio transmissions and re-transmits them at the speed of thought. The creature is apparently not sentient and it is hoped that studying it will give the Federation the key to instantaneous communications. As they prepare to take it from the planet, Orion pirates attack, and while the Enterprise defeats nearly all of them, pirates do make it to the planet surface. When they try to cut the creature out of its habitat, it lets out a shriek that disintegrates them before turning into energy and flying off the planet.

CONTINUITY: Sulu is excited to command his first mission (foreshadowing his own captaincy in The Undiscovered Country). The crew discusses their most frightening missions and Chekov remembers Space Seed, placing himself as a just-arrived ensign assigned to Engineering when it happened; no one else remembers him from that time (explains how he recognizes Khan in The Wrath of Khan). Omal/Vaylin Zaand (TMP) is again acting science officer. Dr. Chapel appears. The Orion pirates were first encountered (if not seen) in Journey to Babel.

DIVERGENCES: Are movie-era shuttles warp-capable without a warp sled?

PANEL OF THE DAY - The greatest danger in the Star Trek universe
REVIEW: Sulu's first real mission is high on action and ends on a more philosophical note, which all seems very right to me. I like that he both avails himself well of command AND has to hand back the Enterprise to Kirk damaged. He's like a teenager who borrowed the car and off-roaded it. The others don't get to do as much, of course, but there's one badass panel starring Uhura that I love. I'm always glad to see the Orions, and Collins and Williams' design, with the cybernized eye, looks very cool. Their ships are a little ordinary though. (I guess I'd just like these guys to get more development in extra-canonical material.) As for the scene in which the crew discuss their most frightening adventures, I was thinking of it as padding until it segued into the Chekov/Khan continuity plug. Played entirely for laughs - great timing on the deadpan stares - it passed my litmus test for inclusion.

Writer Glenn Greenberg talks at length about the making of this issue in the Comments.


Glenn Greenberg said...

This is probably my least favorite issue of the series, but Chekov plugging the continuity hole between "Space Seed" and THE WRATH OF KHAN just may be my favorite moment--especially because of the "I've been typecast!" punchline. I still can't believe Paramount let me keep that in!

And Mike Collins did a WONDERFUL job on the art. That moment with the deadpan stares at Chekov was priceless.

Funny anecdote connected to this particular issue:

I had just finished writing it, when I was sent by Marvel to a big comic convention in Chicago for July 4 weekend, 1998.

In the hotel, on my way out to dinner with some friends, we saw George Takei.

My friend Bill urged me to go say hello to him: "You JUST wrote a whole story about his character!" Bill exclaimed. "You HAVE to meet him!"

It WAS a unique opportunity, I had to admit. So I walked over and introduced myself. I told him I was writing Star Trek for Marvel Comics, and had just written a story about his character. Takei's eyes light up and he says to me, "Oh? You're writing a story about Captain Sulu?"

I said, "Yes, but he's not a captain in my story." So then he gives me a skeptical look and says, "Well, you know, I AM a captain now." I have to point out—he said "I'M a captain," not "SULU'S a captain."

I told him I knew that, but then he started telling me the whole story about how he'd been lobbying for a promotion to captain since the second movie and it didn't finally happen until the sixth one. And I told him I knew all that, too, because he'd talked about it in various interviews. So then I tried to explain to him that my story took place well BEFORE he became a captain, that it shows a younger Sulu learning what it takes to command a ship.

So he then asks me, "Well, do I become a captain by the END of the story?" And I told him, "No," because the entire series takes place years before even the SECOND movie.

And he says to me, "Well, who wants to read THAT? I'm a CAPTAIN now!"

That was the point where I said to myself, "Okay, time to get out of this conversation!"

Siskoid said...


Yeah, Glenn, you're living in the PAST!

Uhm... the future's past.

You can see how some people might not understand why a series would take place earlier than the broadcast material, I guess.


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