Today, I’m going to review IDW’s Star Trek Special: FLESH AND STONE.
Published by: IDW, in-partnership with Qualcomm Tricorder XPrise
Written by: Scott and David Tipton (consulting by Rob Hollander and David Zweig).
Cover and interior art by: The Sharp Brothers; (the cover is colored by John Rauch).
Colored by: Andrew Elder
Lettered by: Neil Uyetake
Edited by: Sarah Gaydos
Released: July 2014
Overview: This one-shot special brings together all of the doctors from every Star Trek series; Doctor’s Phlox, McCoy, Crusher, Pulaski, Bashir and VOYAGER‘s EMH. They must all work together, to find a cure for a contagion that has found its way aboard Space Station Diamandis 1, which is hosting the biggest Starfleet medical conference ever held.
The story: The Tipton’s do a great job of moving the story along (kudos to Neil Uyetake, in this regard); the crew of the space station immediately gives us hints on how the contagion finds its way aboard, while explaining the reasoning behind the confluence of doctors there.
I liked how each of the doctors are identified as they are introduced; black boxes are used to denote their current positions and their stationed assignments within Starfleet. The EMH does a terrific job of filling-in the circumstances for quarantining the station, thus – allowing those doctors, who haven’t yet arrived, to divert their course and seek-out further assistance in finding a cure.
I liked the way the Tipton’s used an old threat, to set up the new one, (in this current timeline); but, I felt it was not adequately fleshed-out. I believe this story could have been spread out into two issues; giving more time to each doctor, as well as, making the threat more imperative, beyond the two paragraphs we received for explanation. The antagonists here, and their agent’s actions, could have had catastrophic ramifications within Starfleet, not to mention, across the entire quadrant, and – beyond. In my opinion, what’s proposed here, should have had every ship in the sector converging on this station. The story is a brilliant idea; it just felt forced into this one issue.
The art: The standouts in this issue, for me, were the EMH and Dr. McCoy (young, and old); their likenesses were pretty consistent. I liked the use of a familiar character to TAS, aboard Captain Kirk’s Enterprise, the great depiction of an old foe from TOS and, if my time calculations are correct, a 145-150 year old Dr. Phlox, as well.
The details used in each time period are pretty good. The coloring was great, but I think the interiors of the station and runabout were too dark; Federation vessels are bright and cheery. I wasn’t pleased with the likenesses of Dr. Pulaski, though; she seemed to morph from kinda middle-aged to old-woman, from panel to panel. Dr. Bashir seemed inconsistent, as well. One other item; it would have been great to see some vapor coming from the Benzite character’s breathing apparatus, in at-least, one panel; the Benzite seemed flat without it.
The cover: This is a terrific cover, but it’s not a blaring standout. It shows Crusher, leading Bashir and the sentient EMH, in vibrant color and wearing the current Starfleet uniform, representing the present. Pulaski, Bones and Phlox are depicted with muted head shots in a starry background, representing the past. In the foreground is the space station, orbiting a world who’s sun is coming up on the horizon. The likenesses are good, but McCoy looks a bit off, to me. And, although we haven’t seen Katherine Pulaski, since – TNG’s second season, it’s my opinion, that she should have been added to her colleagues in the forefront (as she’s alive and well, plus – she’s a current participant of the conference, and key to the main plot). I will hang it on my wall, simply because of its uniqueness.
Overall: I liked the issue, but the story could have been longer and I’d have loved to have seen more confrontation from all of these egos put into play; namely, more shots-fired between Crusher and Pulaski would have been way-cool. Yes, each doctor gets to shine a bit, but I feel Dr. Phlox got the short end of the stick; and Dr. Crusher (who’s shown as the leader, on the cover), to me, got relegated to guest-star status, somehow. As I said, this could have been an outstanding two-parter; as it is, it’s just mediocre, at best. FLESH AND STONE is long on promise, but comes-up short in reaching its full potential.
‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone