Star Trek 1252: The Fires of Pharos

1252. The Fires of Pharos

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Early Voyages #2, Marvel Comics, March 1997

CREATORS: Ian Edginton and Dan Abnett (writers), Patrick Zircher and Greg Adams (artists)

STARDATE: 2378.1 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: While setting up a beacon (or "lighthouse") on a planetoid in the strategically important Pharos system, a find of pure dilithium was found. When word leaked out, brigands started attacking nearby facilities and the Enterprise is called in to investigate. The ship is attacked by Klingons, under the tactical genius Kaaj, and when Pike is confronted with the no-win scenario - give up the system or die - he chooses to ignite the dilithium rather than go to war over it. The mineral will burn for decades and provide a natural beacon for ships in the area. Kaaj swears he'll get revenge.

CONTINUITY: Some of the brigands are Orions.

DIVERGENCES: None.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Big Brother Marrat Nebula was never going to be a success.
REVIEW: The writers don't waste time in bringing the Klingons into the series, and they do it quite well! Kaaj is an interesting creation right from the start. With his wizened arm, he's a warrior who has to get by much more on his wits, and does. The confrontation between him and Pike is thus equal parts action and strategy, and both are written as smart (which is always more satisfying than writing a dumb move to give a character the upper hand). And thus, Pike gains his own mortal Klingon enemy. The Enterprise seems a bit over-powered at times (it practically blows up a planet!), but it's all in keeping with the pulpy feel of Early Voyages, and all very justifiable. The art remains strong as well, Zircher being particularly adept at telling a story visually. Splash pages give a sense of wonder to alien worlds and starship battles, and there's a great moment when Number One's first, subtle smile is highlighted in its own panel.

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