A recent query on Facebook, about Marvel/Paramount Comic’s Star Trek run in the 90’s (this would be Marvel’s second time holding the license), has me looking back at some of my favorite series. And, there were some damn-good series that came out of these two collaborating giants; for instance: Starfleet Academy and Deep Space Nine, as well as Unlimited and Untold Voyages. However, I believe my favorite series was Early Voyages, as it focused on Captain Christopher Pike and the missions his crew logged aboard the U. S. S. Enterprise. So, let’s review, shall we…
Star Trek: Early Voyages #1 – FLESH OF MY FLESH
Published by: Marvel Comics and Paramount Comics
Written by: Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton
Art by: (Pencils) Patrick Zircher (Inks) Greg Adams (Colors) Marie Javins
Lettered by: Janice Chiang
Cover by: Patrick Zircher and Greg Adams (??)
Edited by: Bob Chase (Editor-In-Chief) Bob Harras
OVERVIEW: With Captain Pike in command, the Enterprise is diverted from the Marrat System to investigate why several ships have been left adrift and abandoned; their crews missing, seemingly snatched away from whatever they were doing, at the time. With few clues to go by, newly-minted Capt. Pike and his new crew must solve the mystery, before they fall prey to the same phenomenon.
THE STORY: Fantastic! I loved this double-sized first issue! Abnett and Edginton did a terrific job of setting this series up, by taking us back to the beginning of Christopher Pike’s command, while introducing us to his crew; some of whom we got a glimpse of in The Cage, and some that served with him prior to that fateful mission on Rigel VII. Through flashbacks (due to his captor’s mind control), we see Pike taking the keys (so to speak) to the Enterprise from Captain April, (as well as getting backstory on April, himself); plus – we see his first meeting with Number One and we meet his trusted friend and confidante, Yeoman Dermot Cusack, (whom, we’ll only see in the first three issues).
This exciting one-shot sets the reader up for the future we know, too: why Pike is so bitter at the world, why he doubts his abilities to command effectively and why the weight he carries on his back from those responsibilities seems so crushing and finally, why his attitude towards Yeoman Mia Colt (whom we’ll meet in future issues) is so frosty (in the pilot episode of The Cage).
Yet, it also serves to show what a tremendous leader Pike is, as he fights for himself and all he holds dear, and the lengths he will go to save his personally hand-picked crew, against the Ngultor. It’s a first-contact scenario with two viable options: annihilate them, or be annihilated; in my opinion, Abnett and Edginton write it brilliantly.
THE ART: If the art isn’t good, no matter how good the story, the comic will fall flat on its face. Not only is the art good, here, it’s exemplary! There’s a two-page shot of the entire bridge and Pike’s crew, shown from deck-level, that is off-the-charts! There’s interiors, exteriors, overheads, all brilliantly drawn and vibrantly colored, moving the story with exceptional pacing and lettering. The likenesses are terrific and consistent, as well. Plus, the images of the Ngultor are amazing; the creativity used is epic! THIS is one-helluva comic; the details are plentiful, the colors are rich and eye-popping, and the panels are easy to follow. Get this first issue and you’ll see, for yourself, why I think this series was the best of the lot, and why you’ll want to continue following it!
THE COVER: First off, back in the day, there weren’t credits given to who did these covers, other than the cut-off signatures on the cover itself; I hope I have given proper credit, above, to Patrick Zircher and Greg Adams; (if not, kindly let me know and I’ll correct this).
Secondly, this cover is absolutely stunning! Out of all of the Marvel/Paramount Star Trek series, this cover is by far my favorite! The color explodes off of the page, showing details that are spectacular!
You’ve got Cadet Spock, as seen in the pilot; you’ve got Captain Pike, flanked by Dr. Boyce and Number One, all in action against an unseen foe; you’ve got the Enterprise charging ahead, phasers blasting, a runabout, the Federation’s seal, a tricorder, a communicator, transporters beaming, hand phasers… Wow! It’s packed to the edges, yet, it’s beautiful!
I proudly hang this on my wall, because it’s a pinnacle example of what a cover should be, and what it should do: entice you to read the story within.
OVERVIEW: I give this first issue of Early Voyages the highest marks possible. The story is phenomenal and it’s great Star Trek on every level; introducing the cast, giving us a new first contact, lots of action and adventure, plenty of good character development and it has a great ending. The artwork is brilliant and it’s alive with detail and color. And that cover is glorious! If you love Pike, Number One and young Spock, I highly recommend this ‘Double-Sized Fantastic 1st Issue!’
‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone