The original series episode Where No Man Has Gone Before comes to a conclusion in this month’s edition of IDW’s Star Trek. Although every trekkie knows how this episode ends, it’s neat to see how this alternate timeline ship and crew deals with similar circumstances.
The Enterprise is crippled after encountering the barrier at the edge of our galaxy. Captain Kirk’s friend Gary Mitchell’s exposure to the barrier has given him incredible physic abilities. Mitchell has now become an immediate and grave threat to the ship. Taking Spock’s advice, Kirk orders the ship to Delta Vega with the intentions of using the equipment at the station to repair the ship and strand Mitchell on the planet.
After confronting Mitchell in sickbay, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are able to sedate him long enough to beam him down to the planet. As Scotty and Lt. Kelso race to repair the ship before Mitchell’s powers become too powerful to contain, Kirk and Spock confine him behind a force field in the crew quarters.
It is already too late, and Mitchell escapes after incapacitating Kirk and Spock. Kelso tries to stop him, but Mitchell’s powers are now too great and he forces Kelso to kill himself with his own phaser. Mitchell wanders out onto the plains of Delta Vega.
Scotty finds and revives the unconscious Kirk and Spock. Kirk orders them back to the ship to prepare to leave while he goes after Mitchell. He now realizes that Spock was right and that he has no other choice but to kill Mitchell while he can. Kirk sets out after Mitchell who is laying in wait for his old friend.
The classic confrontation between Kirk and Mitchell plays out. He informs Kirk that once he’s dead, his intentions are to take over the Enterprise until he becomes bored. Kirk tries to plead with him, but Mitchell now sees himself as a god, demonstrating remarkable powers. As all hope seems lost, Spock sneaks up behind Mitchell and uses his Vulcan nerve pinch to neutralize him. Kirk takes the initiative and kills Mitchell with his phaser.
Later, back aboard the Enterprise, Kirk contemplates his role as captain and comes to terms with the loss and reward that come with being a Starfleet captain. Spock tries to comfort him with an invitation to play chess, but Kirk ever the paragon remains alone with his thoughts.
“I’ve been a starship captain for less than a year. In that time I’ve crossed the galaxy, seen things I could never imagine and will never forget. But exploring the unknown means encountering threats you never dreamed of. Never more so than now.”
Writer Mike Johnson has taken a unique approach with this Jim Kirk. He is much more introspective than his other universe counterpart. In spite of his youth and relative inexperience, this Kirk is as decisive and brash as we’ve come to know him.
This issue felt a bit rushed to me. The story sped along too quickly and the ending was clumsy. Even though the end of this story was already known, I think they should have stretched it out at least another issue. I think the story would have served better if it had not been so quickly brought to an end. Mike Johnson gave up a great opportunity for some quality character interaction and development. I would have also liked to have seen Lt. Kelso survive this incident and be a recurring character in this series. This issue could have included the other members of the crew to help the story along, but unfortunately did not.
In the end, I did enjoy this issue in spite of the shortcomings I mentioned and I am looking forward to next month. This old school trekkie still isn’t completely sold on this new JJ-verse Star Trek, but like I’ve always said; you could put chimps in Starfleet uniforms, call it Ape Trek and I would still watch it. And that my friends is the mark of a true trekkie.
Story by Mike Johnson and art by Stephen Molnar and John Rauch.
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