Monday, November 27, 2017

There's a Judge Dredd ad on the back of this one, but I think it's coincidence.

Star Trek's Prime Directive prevents the Starfleet crew from interfering with the development of a less-advanced culture, even with good intentions. It also often insures a problem won't be solved before the first commercial break, or in this case, three pages in. From 1995, Star Trek #76, "Prisoners" Written by Kevin J. Ryan, pencils by Rachel Ketchum, inks by Mark Heike.

Set prior to "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Kirk, Spock, and Gary Mitchell beam down to the planet Tendar. And are immediately thrown in jail, even though they had been invited, and the world wanted to join the Federation. The Tendarians had a brutal set of laws, no system for trial or appeal, and kept about 7% of the population permanently incarcerated, mostly to keep the other 93% in line. (A warden describes trials as a "staggering waste of resources," and rehabilitation impossible; so...) The landing party seems be being made an example of; and while the Tendarian ambassador assures Scotty they could beam down more people, as long as they obeyed the laws, Scotty's pretty sure that's crap.

Attempting to break Captain Kirk, the warden has Spock beaten; but he's tougher than he looks, and feigns weakness until they have the opportunity to escape. Beaming up with the warden as a prisoner, Kirk then has the ambassador transported aboard as well, and charged with kidnapping, wrongful imprisonment, etc. He knows they would be sent back home fairly quickly, but it might teach them a lesson; and plans to report to the Federation to have the planet declared off-limits--"Solitary confinement, if you will."

A single-issue story, which doesn't leave a lot of space to explore different aspects: Gary is somewhat underused, mostly just as the foil to Spock, which would usually be McCoy's role. There's also a brief scene with a trustee-prisoner, who seems completely institutionalized and unable to even consider freedom. And while work duties were mentioned, the resource logistics of keeping that many people locked up...well, I don't want to use the phrase "prison-industrial complex," but here we are. I was also thinking of the Iso-cubes from Judge Dredd, but these cells may have actually been nicer. Not by much, but still.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Boy howdy, that is truly poor artwork.