Star Trek: The Tholian Webs (Conclusion)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Rachael Stott
Colourist: David Mastrolonardo
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Cover by: Joe Corroney (Art) and Brian Miller (Colours)
Editor: Sarah Gaydos
Story Consultant: Roberto Orci
Release Date: 22/07/2015
Warning: this review contains spoilers!
Overview: After becoming trapped in “interphase”; the situation aboard the Enterprise has deteriorated rapidly. The ship is losing structural integrity and the crew’s sanity is at risk. Most affected are Sulu and Scotty who collectively have taken control of the bridge and separated the saucer section from the main hull. While Kirk and Spock attempt to retake control of the Enterprise an unknown ship arrives and unleashes an energy web that surrounds both parts of the ship. While Kirk struggles to find a way to retake the bridge and engineering, Spock is working to cure the crew from the effects of being in “interphase” space and it falls to Uhura and Keenser to save the separated ship and to prevent a war or perhaps start one with the Tholians….
The Story: I really enjoyed the conclusion of “The Tholian Webs”. After the dramatic ending of the first part I was hoping the second would surpass the first in terms of story and drama and it didn’t disappoint. The story moved at a steady pace and I’m glad that Sulu and Scotty were incapacitated early on, allowing sufficient time to enable Kirk and the crew to escape the Tholian web. However, I did feel that the discovery of the antidote to the effects of being in “interphase” seemed quite rushed. Spock mentions that McCoy was very close to finding the antidote and if that was the case why then would McCoy decide to put himself in a coma rather than continue? The McCoy I knew from TOS would have pushed himself until the last possible moment to find the antidote.
In my review for The Tholian Webs part 1 I spoke about the trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and how it was nice to see that in part one but early on in this issue you see it revert back to Uhura, Kirk and Spock. I think I need to accept that going forward this will be the main character dynamic in the JJ Verse and then I should be able to enjoy the story more. I did however; enjoy the role Uhura played in this story from retaking the bridge to communicating with the Tholians. I like her strength of character and this came across brilliantly in the story. Until now the character of Keenser has been used infrequently, however, in this issue we not only see him in action we find that his position aboard the Federation flagship is deserved with a brilliant solution to saving the ship. It was also enjoyable to see Kirk work with Keenser rather than Spock or another of the main bridge crew. Speaking of Spock, this was a very “Spock lite” issue which was quite refreshing.
In this issue Mike Johnson perfectly captures the self doubt that Kirk felt in many episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and in Star Trek Into Darkness.
As well as the problems of being trapped in “interphase” Uhura has to deal with the Tholians. While this is a reimagining of the TOS episode “The Tholian Web” Mike Johnson has kept the distinct tone of the Tholians by making them as secretive and intimidating as they were all those years ago. It was also nice to see that the Tholian commander Loskene was named after the Tholian in the original series episode.
While this story does have a resolution it has also made the alpha quadrant a little more dangerous with the Federation now facing the Klingons, Romulans and the Tholians. I am looking forward to seeing how and where Mike Johnson takes this threat and with the Tholians now on the scene; does this mean we may see the return of Section 31? Only time and Mike Johnson will tell….
The Art: Following on from the previous issue Rachael Stott continues to impress with some exceptional art work. I really like Stott’s interpretation of the interiors of the Enterprise and during the course of this issue the story jumps from the bridge to sickbay to engineering to the transporter room and the details within all these areas were spot on for me.
The Likenesses of the crew again were good with Spock, Uhura and McCoy standing out for me however, I was really looking forward to seeing how Stott drew the Tholians. Stott has managed to capture the essence of the Tholians while giving them a distinct look and I really liked how the colours were used in the background whenever we saw the Tholian commander. David Mastrolonardo has enhanced Stott’s art and as mentioned I loved the colours used for the background of the Tholian ship and the webs.
Of course I couldn’t write a review without mentioning the Enterprise herself; again Stott has drawn some wonderful images of the ship. I especially liked the drawing of the ship at the end of the story when Kirk is recording his captains’ log. I also enjoyed seeing the battle between the Enterprise and Tholian vessels and how the ship escaped the web. I should also mention that Stott knows how to draw a nice right hook as seen in the Star Trek / Planet of the Apes series, all it needed was a “kapow” and I would have been in heaven. I really hope that this isn’t the last time we see Stott draw for the ongoing series.
The Covers: The standard cover is drawn by Joe Corroney and again for this issue we have a generic cover of Kirk, Spock and Uhura – although Uhura is the main focal point of the cover which in some ways does reflect her importance to the story. I preferred this cover to the previous issue and the likenesses are exceptional. I found the cover to be vibrant and credit must be given to Brian Miller for this. The subscription cover is something completely different; instead of a photo cover we have a 50’s style cover drawn by Derek Charm which depicts Kirk, Spock and Chekov in mortal danger from a Klingon. I really like this cover, it’s different and fun and very different to what we have been use to seeing. I am disappointed that Rachael Stott was not given the opportunity to draw a variant cover for the two part story.
Overall: I was really looking forward to seeing how this story would be concluded and Mike Johnson has delivered again. Mike Johnson is able to take classic episodes from the original series and add his own unique twist to the stories that make them feel fresh while still retaining the essence of what makes a good Star Trek story and comic. I am looking forward to some original stories now as we head towards the 50th issue and beyond. The art by Rachael Stott continues to impress and captivate and I can’t wait for her to return to the JJ verse.