Monday, December 29, 2014

"The End" Week: Star Trek #80!

A licensed book can be cancelled any number of times, since the license can lapse and be picked up by another publisher, multiple times. This would be the title's second last issue at DC, yet it would still return for one-shots and limited series later: from 1996, Star Trek #80, "The Chosen, part three: Collision Course!" Written by Kevin J. Ryan, pencils by Rachel Forbes-Seese, inks by Pablo Marcos.

For some time, this incarnation of Star Trek ran with stories set around the fourth through sixth movies with the original crew; before going back to the original five-year mission. This three-parter involved attacks on the Federation, Romulans, and the Klingons; all of which looked like the other had done it, yet all of them denied it. With a pretty alien ambassador, Julia Bertrand; Captain Kirk tries to both keep the peace and find the real culprits. Facing the Romulans, Kirk plays a hunch: a third party is involved (or rather fourth, I suppose) trying to play them all against each other. Later, the Romulan commander reveals to Kirk a coded transmission was detected from the Enterprise...and not a Federation code, either. Kirk confronts Bertrand, who tries to kill herself, but is stopped by Spock.

Bertrand explains her people believed themselves the Chosen: "the center of all creation and the only known living beings in the universe." When a small ship crashed on their planet, they used its technology and realized they weren't alone. During the ensuing crisis of faith, the Chosen decided this was a test of said faith, that the larger universe was not real, and that they should destroy all other intelligent life. Bertrand admits that after her people murdered hundreds of innocents her faith had begun to waver, and tries to kill herself again, but McCoy had taken away the poison she kept in a hatpin.

With the Romulans at their side, Kirk manages to convince the Klingons of the alien Chosen's manipulation. Using the Romulans' cloaking device, the three ships wait for the Chosen, who don't have a chance. Evidence is discovered, and Kirk says the Chosen will be quarantined, either until they accept the rest of the universe, or forever, as needed. The Klingons and Romulans aren't as forgiving, and blast the Chosen ship apart. The alliance between Federation, Romulan and Klingon is over almost as soon as it began, and Spock muses they have probably seen the last of the Chosen. Since it's the last issue, well, yeah. Not a bad plot, if a bit talky in the conclusion, but the art's a little off and the whole thing feels like limping across the finish line.

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