And here we are: the final(e) frontier, as IDW’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Echoes draws to a close, having to wrap up the dangling story threads: a deadly superweapon, old rivals sat on the precipice of a possible war, a cross-reality pursuit, and the fate of a dying crewman. Definitely no mean feat, to be sure. However, as Mr Spock has been wont to remind us in the past, there are always possibilities.
Thank goodness, then, that it has been possible for writer of this series Marc Guggenheim to serve up a resolution which offers far more positives than negatives. The stakes start out high, and only continue to climb as we race to the finish line at breakneck (literally, in the case of one character) speed. It has a lot to do, and not many pages to do it in, but Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Echoes wraps things up rather neatly, without seeming too much of a cheat, or leaving the reader in the position where they come away too short changed by the outcome of the story.
This is not to say the series has been flawless, as it set off to rather a shaky start, feeling as much as a shakedown cruise for the creative talent as for as the souls of the redesigned and refitted USS Enterprise. The crew felt more at odds and less certain of their positions here than at the climax of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was very much the epitome of the ‘getting the band back together’ story. Echoes walked back some of that progression, leaving a distinct impression that Bones – who had, albeit reluctantly, got re-acclimatised to being on a Starship – now wanted out, which seemed the most curious about-face.
Fortunately, the equilibrium has been restored by voyage’s end, with the grouchy MD having found his niche once more. In comparison to some of his shipmates, Bones is relatively well-served, as someone like Chekov – who should be very much at the forefront here, due to his doppelgänger from a parallel reality being the prime mover of events – ends up being side-lined for much of the action. Even his ‘evil twin’ Akris never gets any more development than just ‘generic baddie’, which is a real shame, and something of a wasted opportunity, given the chance to explore a different aspect of our Pavel Andreievich.
Akris does, however, get his just desserts, in a twist which is as shocking as it is darkly hilarious, coming as it does right after a textbook, trademark little bit of Kirk proselytising in an impassioned manner. For anyone who has ever seen Star Trek and happened across one of Captain Kirk’s speeches, it feels as though he could talk sense into virtually anyone, be they alien, megalomaniac, or supercomputer. The surprise – when it hits – is beautiful to observe, as it works by upending the reader’s expectations, failing to follow one of those oh-so-familiar, well trodden tropes.
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Having previously established some rising tensions back at Starfleet Command in earlier issues, it feels a pity there is no real payoff to that particular strand. With so much to pack in, understandably something has to give, but what could have been a nice bit of closure – showing the Admiralty coming to terms with Kirk’s first, best destiny as being in command of a Starship, rather than ending up little more than a desk jockey – ends up tantalisingly unresolved. At least everybody winds up where they are supposed to be by the issue’s close, both in literal and figurative terms, and all seems prepared for more adventures of the post-The Motion Picture crew of the USS Enterprise.
It would be a let down, then, if there was no room in the IDW roster of Star Trek titles to fill in more of the gap leading up to Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. It seems that more than the Human Adventure is just beginning, so let it not come to a premature end. If you have room for a comic about Picard’s Academy days, IDW, surely you have space for some more of this.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Echoes #5 is out now from IDW Publishing.