Last month we discussed IDW Publishing‘s two part story arc retelling the Return of the Archons in the new “Abrams-verse” Trek comics. This month we’re taking a look at The Truth about Tribbles which just wrapped up this past week. These issues are naturally based on the fan-favorite episode of the original series, The Trouble with Tribbles. The first issue starts off with a note of high praise from David Gerrold, the writer of the original episode: “I’ve loved comic books all my life and it’s a big thrill to see that the original Tribbles story still holds up, and has inspired such a wonderful retelling.” This was the first striking element of the book. The 2009 film reboot to the Star Trek franchise has received a bit of scorn from some fans in the last couple years. There are many who feel it changed too much of the source material without bringing enough of the depth and substance to the table that was present in the Original Series. Gerrold’s praise came as a pleasant surprise before even reading this two part story, because despite any fan displeasure toward the movie or comics, an original writer was obviously pleased with the way his material was presented.
While this story is loosely based on an original episode, it’s certainly the biggest departure from TOS content we’ve seen thus far (Making Gerrold’s comment even more surprising). An argument could be made to place these issues in the same category as the Vulcan’s Vengeance arc that was a completely original story for this comic series with more basis in the film universe than TOS. If you saw the 2009 Star Trek, and you were paying close attention, you might have noticed a Tribble hanging out in a cage when Kirk and Spock Prime first meet Scotty. It was a nice touch to the film, and it also serves as the flashback starting point for this story arc. At the start we have Scotty and Chekov sending that same Tribble across space to Scotty’s nephew at Starfleet Academy on earth before being called to a red-alert when the Enterprise encounters Klingons. Instead of chasing after them, Spock wisely counsels Kirk to stay and investigate what the Klingons were so anxious to get away from on a nearby planet. On the planet they find evidence that the Klingons were hoping to destroy these creatures, which will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the original episodes. At least Abrams-verse Klingons (despite appearing in name only) still hate the soft fuzzy Tribbles. Some things are better left as they were! Meanwhile on earth Scotty’s Tribble has reproduced all over Starfleet Academy, and shortly after that we find they’ve also began infesting the U.S.S. Enterprise’s Engineering.
Series writer Mike Johnson is joined by artist Claudia Balboni. She brings a slightly cartoonier style to the book than the previous artists which I didn’t mind. What did bother me was her occasional use of faux lens-flare. It wasn’t necessary in the film and it’s not needed in the comics. All in all The Truth about Tribbles was a lot of fun. It wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it was an enjoyable read. After the Archons I think this series needed a little light-hearted action.