This week IDW releases issue No. 3 of Star Trek: Year Five, the ongoing adventures of the crew of the Enterprise heading into their final year in space.
Having escaped the Tholian Assembly, for now at least, the crew of the USS Enterprise find themselves in the vicinity of a very familiar world…
The first two issues Star Trek: Year Five from IDW saw the return of a classic Star Trek alien race in the form of the Tholian Assemby form the Original Series. Following an investigation into a devastated planet surface Kirk and company discover not only a Tholian child who they take under their protection, but that it was most likely the Tholians themselves that caused the death and destruction.
The first issues also dealt with Kirk fighting some personal issues as he reveals to McCoy that he is to be made an Admiral on his return to Earth when the final year of their mission comes to an end, an end Kirk is not ready for. Issue No. 3 continues these themes.
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Having escaped the pursuing Tholians the Enterprise picks ups an unusual reading from a nearby system which turns out to be an unstable warp reactor. A nearby planet has begun to test warp drive but as it would seem to be of little success. As mentioned before, Year Five No. 3 continues a theme set in the first two by bringing back races that we have already seen on screen, in this instance the system that the Enterprise finds itself in is that of Sigma Iotia.
Long time Star Trek fans might recognize Sigma Iotia II as the setting for one of the Original Series most popular episodes, “A Piece of the Action.” It saw Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet that seems to have fashioned itself on 1920’s Chicago with residents taking on the mantle of gangsters.
It’s certainly a fun episode that gave us one of the coolest images to have seen on the show: Mr Spock as a gangster. However a key aspect of that episode which is kind of laughed off at the end is the fact that McCoy leaves behind his communicator, a clear violation of the Prime Directive and something that has a huge bearing on this issue.
Before Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam back down to the planet, there is a very moving page that sees’s Kirk talking to Carol Marcus with a young David running around in the background. Kirk very much wants to be a part of David’s life but Carol is adamant that is not going to happen. We later learn that it was David’s birthday. This again plays on a theme that set up in the first issue that sees Kirk now dealing with more emotional and inner turmoil at this stage of his career. Is this something that will have an impact on his decision making in later comics? I guess we will see.
When the trio beam down to the planet they are greeted by President Kris Jamek and Chief of Planetary Operations Macon Cloyed (Spock is quick to point out that the names are anagrams of James Kirk and Leonard McCoy) and are welcomed as heroes by the people. The city they now find themselves in is unrecognizable. Instead of 1920’s America, a vast futuristic metropolis has taken its place.
How this is achieved in such a short space of time is not really revealed in the comic, remember “A Piece of the Action” was the seventeenth episode in Season 2 of Star Trek so it’s reasonable to assume, if each season is a year, then the last time the crew was on this planet was only 3 years ago.
The explanation that is given is that the inhabitants examined the communicator that McCoy leaves behind and built into that communicator was a database of human history (with some fun nods in the imagery to Khan Noonian Singh and Captain Archer) with the greatest thing taken from this wealth of history is the importance of a fair justice system and democracy. And with democracy comes conflicting ideals and Sigma Iotia II is no different with a rival party called the Astro-Liberation Party who believe that the way forward is immediate deep space colonization at any cost. That cost comes to the front very quickly when the Astro-Liberation Party attacks the Presidents transport, taking Mr. Spock as prisoner.
A sub plot runs through this issue focusing on Scotty commanding the Enterprise and a small insurrection on board from some of the crew who see the Tholian child as a threat and end up trying to kill it believing that it is responsible for an explosion on the ship. An explosion that in good old Star Trek style, affects the communications and transport capabilities leaving Kirk, Spock and McCoy stranded on the planet below.
The Sigma Iotia II democratic elections take place straight after a president’s term has expired, which unfortunately for Kirk and McCoy happen every six weeks and will just so happen to occur the following day, unfortunate because the comic ends with the Astro-Liberation Party having convinced Mr. Spock to run as their election candidate.
There is no doubt that Mr Spock has a plan up his sleeve which will be revealed in the next issue but in the last words spoken in the comic by Kirk are “Oh Boy…”
Star Trek: Year Five No. 3 is written by Brandon Easton with art from Martin Coccolo.