After the Tipton Brothers and JK’s overwhelming success on the adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever, I decided to reread an older IDW title, Captain’s Log: Pike, for which JK Woodward did the art. Here’s my review.

Star Trek: Captain’s Log: PikeIMG_0865
Published by: IDW Publishing
Written by: Stuart Moore
Art, Colors and Cover by: JK Woodward
Lettered by: Robbie Robbins
Edited by: Scott Dunbier
Release date: Sept. 2010

OVERVIEW: This short one-shot issue is a tale of two time periods, relating to the fate of Captain Pike. Part One takes place shortly after the events in the pilot episode, The Cage, and it involves the Enterprise crew narrowly escaping from an unknown, surprisingly formidable foe. Meanwhile, Captain Christopher Pike still questions his ability to command effectively and whether or not it’s worth it.

Shifting 12 years into the future, Captain Pike has been promoted to Fleet Captain; (as Starfleet gears-up for what [it] believes is an inevitable confrontation with the Klingon Empire). Boarding (now) ‘Captain’ Colt’s cadet-filled ship for a training cruise, Pike finds himself, once again, facing his past enemies and ghosts; but this time, what price is he willing to pay? Sound familiar?

THE STORY: At last, we learn the details of what happened to Captain Pike leading up to his horrific accident, which resulted in his career-ending, debilitating injuries (as seen in ‘The Menagerie’); as well as delving more-deeply into his personal war with himself, as he examines the decisions he’s made along the way.

IMG_0867Stuart Moore writes a great (if not, bittersweet) tale of a hardened career man, who has lead his ship with courage, while enduring personal sacrifice; only to give everything he’s got to save his crew, and the Federation, itself, from an enemy that is hell-bent on exacting it’s revenge.

This story hits all the right marks; with Moore writing Pike as the tormented soul, as well as, the stalwart commander and savior, who doesn’t shirk from his responsibilities, no matter the personal costs.

Also, Moore examines Pike’s relationship with (at-first) Yeoman, (then) Captain Colt, as both are tested to their limits; becoming comrades, even friends, as the years pass and they pay their dues to Starfleet; upholding it’s principles and ideals as they transcend the lines between good enough and great. I especially liked the ending sequence between Pike and Colt; very poignant and telling stuff.

THE ART: I admit, I have been spoiled by JK Woodward’s more recent works, such as the fantastic TNG/Doctor Who crossover Assimilation², or the absolutely epic The City on the Edge of Forever. Granted, this issue is nearly five years old and JK has come a long way in perfecting his amazing skills as an artist. (That said, we all grow, eh? I look at my earlier reviews, and I think: “My God! Did I really write that?!”)IMG_0869

But there are things that are missing here that I’ve grown to admire in JK’s work: a lack of details, inconsistencies in likenesses, pencil lines that are more pronounced, coloring that isn’t quite as vibrant, etc. For example: in a panel on page 4, Pike looks almost cross-eyed (or, maybe it’s me who is cross-eyed). On pages 12 and 13, Pike’s head is at an odd, unnatural-looking angle; almost like his neck is broken, as he gazes around at Colt from his command chair; then again, as Pike looks around Colt’s ship as he walks through the corridor. These things are small, but they struck me as being slightly off.

However, this is still terrific work, and I’m just an art critic; so my hat’s off to my friend, nonetheless. JK has tremendous talent, and it shows in his images of the brooding, angry Pike and the green, untried, sulky Yeoman Colt (and-later, as a more confident, resilient Captain Colt). His range of emotion for these characters is incredible.

Plus, JK does a great job of aging the characters for the second half of the story. I loved his panels of Pike after his accident, as well; using the same scene shots from the episode ‘The Menagerie.’

And, while the interior shots are not as brilliant, as I’ve come to expect, JK’s exteriors are. I love his paintings of the Enterprise (in any of its incarnations).

As far as Robbie Robbins lettering goes, I found a major gaffe on page 3 – a young Spock makes a report to Pike in one word IMG_0866bubble; then – in the same panel, Spock repeats the very same thing he’s just said in another bubble! Plus, in the continuing bubble below it, (adding to his report) Spock misuses the word ‘begin’ instead of using ‘began’. I was like – What?! It was a total screw-up, and it should have been corrected by editor Scott Dunbier.

THE COVER: JK Woodward hits a grand-slam! 1) Beautiful likenesses of Pike, young and old, 2) another amazing Enterprise shot as its being attacked by the Halogian’s ship, 3) terrific use of color, shading and perspective, 4) this cover begs you to pick it up and read the story within. It proudly hangs on my wall. ‘Nuff said.

OVERALL: A great story by Stuart Moore, as he fills in the gaps about Pike’s fate; as well as shining new light on Yeoman Colt and her career, as never-before told. It’s a wonderful character study on these two historic Star Trek icons. The art by JK Woodward keeps the story moving and it shows his ever-burgeoning potential, as he becomes one of the modern-day ‘Masters of the Game,’ in the comic book industry. It’s a great read, folks.

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone