IDW is releasing a 100-page special for Trek fans containing two reprinted stories from the Star Trek universe, including a story entitled “Embrace the Wolf” from The Next Generation and a second story, “False Colors,” from the Voyager series. Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s warp forward into the review.
The first story, “Embrace the Wolf,” by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski, which was originally published as a Wildstorm one-shot in 2000. The first good point of this story is that it links something from the original series to the next generation. As an original Trekkie, I enjoy a shared continuity, and as I’m already upset that this “spectacular” had no original series story, I’ll take whatever I can get. If you can recall episode 43, “Wolf in the Fold,” from ST:TOS (Star Trek: The Original Series) the crew faced an enemy that could inhabit your body, controlling you to do evil acts and feeding off the fear in caused. The entity calls itself “Redjac” and has been around for centuries, including being on earth at some point, referencing Jack the Ripper. The original crew defeated it, teleporting it out into space. Now, the new crew is called to planet Enoch-7, known for its peaceful people. The crew has been dispatched to investigate recent massive unrest and violence, formerly unheard here. They find a planet devastated by random acts of violence, panic, religious cults, and even military acts of destruction on a global scale. Early on, we are aware of Redjac, and his moves to board the Enterprise looking for new victims. The story continues as the crew attempt to handle this entity, while the beings from Enoch-7, realizing their true enemy is on the star ship, send fighters to destroy it rather than let the enemy escape. The story continues as the crew follows the being into the holodeck as it plays games to increase the crews fear. In a final confrontation the combined efforts of the crew, concludes with them trapping the enemy in a permanent jail.
The story is a basic Star Trek hero story: good guy finds bad guy, bad guy seems to be winning, and good guy’s last minute effort wins the day. The downfall of the writing is that every main character has some reference to the epitome of that character’s defining attribute. It’s almost as if they’ve exaggerated those attributes as though these characters are new and unfamiliar to the audience. But these are legendary characters. Less could have been spent on “character development” and more on the actual plot or action. The artwork is that of previous older Star Trek comics, not very heavy detail or shading, with exaggerated cartoon-like expressions. It’s passable if you know what to expect, but new readers may not be as likely to ignore sub-par cartoonish feel of such TV characters. It’s something to read in the local shop as you wait to pick up your regular comics, and then place back on the shelf.
The second story, “False Colors,” is written by Nathan Archer. This story is also a reprint from Wildstorm circa 2000. Here we find our Voyager crew trekking across the galaxy to get home. They come across a debris field, caused from a possible battle, and determine that it may be from one of Star Trek’s most famous enemy the Borg. Seven of Nine confirms the Borg suspicions, but is unsure of Borg presence in the area. The ship is suddenly attacked by a strange vessel with Borg weapons. Disguised as a Borg drone, Seven, Chakotay, and Tuvok space jump to the other vessel and gain entry. Encountering a species on board also posing as Borg drones, the aliens seal off the ship to block the intruders. Seven becomes aware these aliens harvest parts from other ships and incorporate it into their own. Unknown to the aliens, the Borg parts of the ship are still active, attempting, weakly, to regenerate and call more Borg to help it. Seven is able to connect to the Borg part of the ship and halt the attack on Voyager. Using the Borg systems, Seven turns the tide on the aliens. Attempting to return to the ship, the Borg parts will not release Seven, and she begins to lose herself to its collective. Unable to teleport away, Chakotay and Tuvok forcefully remove Seven and return to the ship. As they return to Voyager, Captain Janeway is concerned that without Seven’s control, the Aliens will reclaim the Borg technology and begin attacking vessels anew. Seven explains that when controlling the Borg systems, enough repairs were done that a full strength signal began calling for help from the Borg collective. Just as Voyager warps away a Borg cube arrives and begins attacking the aliens to assimilate them.
I enjoyed this story much better than the first. There was no “getting to know you” feeling with the characters. It comes off as a story that could have been an actual episode from the series. The story flows well. Dull dialogue is absent and it keeps a steady pace with the action. The artwork was the same as the previous story; TV characters are poorly transported into a cartoon show version of themselves. It’s a decent read, but ultimately, it’s a book that will be assimilated into a box of un-purchased back issue comics.
Final thoughts: I can appreciate a company bringing back two one-shot stories, into one book. But, for a “spectacular” I want something new, fresh, and original. I didn’t see the need for the reprint, and as a Trek fan, I am disappointed in the lack of effort to bring us a good story. Give us more Trek, but not old, reprinted stories. Hopefully, IDW can jump to warp speed on something better.