Beaming down just in time for Halloween, we find ourselves at the climax of IDW’s spooky special event, Star Trek: Holo-Ween, which sees the final grand confrontation between the terrorised crew of the Enterprise-D and Redjac, that sinister non-corporeal entity which plagued and tormented Captain Kirk a century earlier. Fortunately for Captain Picard, one of Redjac’s previous victims is on hand to lend his expertise and help bring Redjac’s latest onslaught to an end.
From a story perspective, it makes perfect sense to make use of the first-hand knowledge of Scotty, given that he had once found himself running foul of Redjac in the episode ‘Wolf In The Fold’, and is still around in the TNG era, thanks to having been stuck in a Transporter pattern buffer for 75 years after the crash of the USS Jenolan. However, the impact of Scotty’s appearance here feels somewhat blunted, given his current status as a serving member of the USS Theseus’ crew in the main IDW Star Trek title, so the timing and coordination (or lack thereof) across the various Trek comics within IDW does raise a Spock-like eyebrow.
Nevertheless, Scotty’s presence in this story does feel apt, even if the plot contrivance employed in the previous issue to get him involved does feel a bit of a stretch. However, it still means we have an opportunity to see a meeting of the generations we would sadly be denied on screen, and given Scotty’s link to the Enterprise-D’s crew, Holo-Ween works well as a sequel to the original episode. As formerly touched upon when discussing the last issue, writer Chris Sequeira gets bonus points for choosing the name of the crewman in Redjac’s thrall as Bloch: not only the author behind Psycho, but also the man who penned ‘Wolf In The Fold’.
Seeing our familiar characters cosplaying as scary monsters and super creeps may seem a bit jarring, but given that we have seen them all dressed up before for various Holodeck scenarios, this should not really be that much of a shock to the system. While you could perhaps argue there is maybe something of a tonal mismatch between the nightmarish torments of Redjac and the uncharacteristically odd fancy dress – and personas – donned by Picard, Riker, Worf and Troi, Sequeira does an admirable job of making them all knit together without causing too much of a situation, at least by the time we reach this final chapter.
As this is a seasonal special, something rather unique within the Star Trek canon, you can also forgive Sequeira‘s dipping into the franchise’s history and pulling something out of the nostalgia bag, rather than attempting to create something original instead, particularly as Redjac suits the needs of the story perfectly. As this is a character which has also not seen a return visit previously on screens either big or small, then it would be difficult not to concede Redjac was due for another outing, given that 56 years since its last appearance is hardly creating a risk of overuse, or even coming back with indecent haste.
Star Trek: Holo-Ween has been an attempt to try something outside the box, and you really have to give the creative team credit for that. If Joe Eisma’s artwork has maybe been a little more cartoonish than we are accustomed to, Sequeira‘s tale of supernatural-meets-scientific is in itself larger than life – or, at the very least, many Trek plots – so the stylised look of the art is not in fact out of touch with the tone of the writing. Maybe the only worry is that IDW takes this bold experiment to do something different, and turns it into a recurring event with the risk of diminishing returns. And that might prove to be the biggest horror story of them all.
Star Trek: Holo-Ween #4 is out now from IDW Publishing.