Star Trek 1250: Odyssey's End

1250. Odyssey's End

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Untold Voyages #5, Marvel Comics, July 1998

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

STARDATE: 7909.8 (a year after the last issue)

PLOT: Days before the end of the second 5-year mission, change is in the air, but Kirk still refuses to get back behind a desk. A distress call from the training ship Yorktown draws the Enterprise to Lycos V where a bizarre giant saucer is abducting people. After rescuing the cadets from the Yorktown, Kirk, Spock and McCoy find themselves on the saucer where they are captured by the Grays of "encounters of the third kind" fame. They probe their minds, and Kirk is visited by visions of the people he loved, but he fights back. Spock, for his part, has learned to communicate with the aliens. He learns that these "Abductors" are trying to undo the Preservers' work by un-seeding planets and restoring their ecosystems. There next stop is Romulus because they believe the Preservers once took them from Vulcan. Knowing this will cause a war to erupt between the Romulans and the Federation, Kirk puts everything on the line to convince the Abductors not to. They back down before they are forced to destroy the Enterprise, and realize their folly. They leave to re-seed the Preserver worlds. Kirk's experiences lead him to get himself and the Enterprise reassigned to Starfleet Academy.

CONTINUITY: Many changes are instituted to prepare the way for The Wrath of Khan. Chekov has just been promoted to Lt. Commander and will soon be transferred to the USS Reliant. Uhura and Sulu were previously promoted to Commander. The uniforms have changed (McCoy is annoyed). Kirk is ordered back to his desk job, but instead takes a teaching position at the Academy. Kirk has the Enterprise reassigned to the Academy with Spock as her captain to replace the Yorktown (first mentioned in Obsession). Harry Morrow (The Search for Spock) appears as Admiral Nogura's replacement. Saavik still hopes to join Starfleet. Transporter Chief Rand and Omal/Vaylin Zaand appear (TMP). Kirk is visited by visions of his brother Sam (Operation: Annihilate!), Edith Keeler (The City on the Edge of Forever), and Gary Mitchell (Where No Man Has Gone Before). The Preservers were first mentioned in The Paradise Syndrome.

DIVERGENCES: The Yorktown is decommissioned after this, but it is mentioned as in service again in The Voyage Home.

PANEL OF THE DAY - After years of comfortable jammies...
REVIEW: A real talky, but we do get a shot of Kirk kicking a couple Grays in the head, so there's respite from the exposition. And it's not all "exposition" either. This issue, the last of the series, is meant to set the stage for the events of ST II, and as such is very character driven. What makes Kirk finally volunteer for an Earth-bound mission? Greenberg does a good job of explaining the decision as a combination of how the cadets perceive him (a maverick who gives little thought to consequences), a desire to vicariously be around his son, his visions calling him out on his lack of roots, and the compromise he's offered himself by keeping his precious ship close. The character moments stick out again as the strongest in the issue. The plot serves its purpose, but mostly exists to give the artists something strange and wonderful to draw, and clearly, they had fun doing it. The Grays have an interesting physical presence and the saucer is filled with detail. Kirk goes out on a high, saving civilization from a senseless war (and one might say, Miramanee's World from being unseeded). The coda reprises the classic "Space..." speech, and the series has earned it. It promised to be the link between TMP and ST II and delivered. On a personal note, I'd like to warmly thank both writer Glenn Greenberg and editor Tim Tuohy for their extensive comments on these issues, giving us a look behind the scenes at their making (Tim's been around for a big longer since he edited about half the Star Trek line for Marvel/Paramount).


De said...

A couple of divergences with the other non-canon stuff:

The circumstances of Kirk returning to the Academy jibe with the events of The Pandora Principle (where he was esentially blackmailed into it).

The uniform transition is quite different than the one portrayed in the novel Wagon Train to the Stars.

Timothy Tuohy said...

I had fun working with all of my creative team on this series. Glenn and I rose through the ranks at Marvel. We experienced highs and lows there, but always had a love of Star Trek. It was a great honor to get to be his editor on these stories. Mike Collins and Keith Williams made the art approvals fly by at warp speed.

Question: are you going to review the special issue type stuff. I'm eager for your thoughts on the Riker Special and X-Trek 2!

Best and thanks for giving me a new blog to read on a daily basis.

Siskoid said...

No, thank YOU!

Early Voyages is next, and then the mini-series (like Spashdown) and specials.

Timothy Tuohy said...

Can't wait. I had to re-read all of the Star Trek Comics for a article that I have written for the Star Trek Magazine. I enjoyed Early Voyages quite a lot.

Glenn Greenberg said...

It's been great revisiting this series, which was a true high point in my writing career. And the best part is, I got through this whole review process relatively unscathed! :-)

A few points:

Both Tim and I make a cameo appearance in this issue! We're standing together in the Enterprise Rec Room at the beginning of the story.

To De: I didn't remember that Kirk's return to the Admiralty was shown in The Pandora Principle! If that's the case, it diverges from Howard Weinstein's novel Deep Domain, which I DO remember has Kirk deciding to give up command of the Enterprise again and return to Earth. As much as I've enjoyed Howard's Star Trek novels (especially The Covenant of the Crown), I didn't think he gave Kirk a very satisfying or believable motivation for leaving the Enterprise again after TMP. It came off to me as a very arbitrary decision.

I never read the novel Wagon Train to the Stars. The whole premise didn't really grab me, so I never bothered with it. (And as I recall, it was basically designed to launch a new, all-original Star Trek spin-off series called CHALLENGER, which said to me that Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc. were just going to be around to introduce and set up the new characters. No thanks!)

In any case, Paramount, for the most part, really wanted me to go my own way and NOT refer to or follow any of the previous comic-book series or the novels. They even suggested that I come up with an entirely new origin for Saavik, and to make her a full Vulcan, since it was never stated onscreen that she was half Romulan. But I liked Saavik's already established backstory, so that's where I drew a line.

Okay, Siskoid--now I eagerly await your reviews of my work on Starfleet Corps of Engineers! :-)

Siskoid said...

I really like the SCE books and I'm up to about #20 in the series. Yours are... #45 and the equivalent of #70! Youch, I've got some reading to do!

Timothy Tuohy said...

I completely forgot about that cameo. There's actually another cameo that "I" have in Voyager: Splashdown. I put the "I" in quotes because the fantastic artist, Terry Pallot, said that the crewman was him. However everyone that sees it thinks it's me. Maybe Terry is my long-lost twin?


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