Whilst I’ve struggled to enjoy Star Trek New Visions in the past, often pulled out of the book due to the art-style melding together original series footage and new digital artwork, the latest story was very engaging and entertaining throughout.
A sequel to the original series episode ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’, one of the more popular episodes of the show, the crew of the Enterprise find themselves returning to the planet that houses the Guardian of Forever to assist the Federation science team stationed there.
When the Guardian of Forever informs the Enterprise away team that there has been a change in the timeline Kirk and Spock decide to pass through the portal into the past, hoping to rectify the changes that have taken place.
Arriving in the early twenty-first century, a time that has been devastated by nuclear war in the Star Trek universe, they find a perfectly normal town, one that wouldn’t look out of place today. When the two of them come across Gary Seven, a time-traveller who previously appeared in the episode ‘Assignment: Earth’, the three of them must work together to discover what has happened to change history.
The story is less dramatic than previous issues, relying more on the drama and mystery around the changes to reality to create tension rather than action and fights. It makes this issue feel more grown-up, more sophisticated. It’s a good example of how entertaining a writer John Byrne can be, and how well he can craft an original story out of existing imagery.
‘An Unexpected Yesterday’ feels like a more successful attempt at making a photo-comic than previous issues, most likely because it doesn’t rely on action. Previous stories have had characters fight aliens, crawl through battleships, and get into firefights, and they’ve never really worked visually because of the medium being used, and the reliance on newly created imagery. This story, by contrast, builds drama through mystery, and as such doesn’t need new art being mixed in with the original series visuals.
Yes, there are some original aliens featured in the story, but these don’t seem hugely out of place for the most part, and look like something that could have appeared in the original show. There are a couple of panels that don’t exactly look right, one where a uniform doesn’t match colours with the rest of the book, and one where a new creature is featured in closeup and looks too fake; but other than that the book is well put together.
Star Trek New Visions may not be to everyone’s tastes (and I have struggled with it in the past), but the latest issue proves that not only does the concept work, but can tell interesting and layered stories.
Star Trek: New Visions #22 is now available from IDW Publishing.