Monday, April 18, 2016

Whitman collected four Gold Key Star Trek issues in "Dynabrite Comics." We checked out the prior one some time back, and today we've got Star Trek: the Choice. "The Choice" is a bonkers number with a Captain Kirk and Enterprise invading from the universe prior to the big bang, a void where thought can power a starship, and the question of free will in the universe. Instead, we're checking out "The Evictors" from Star Trek #41, written by Arnold Drake, art by Alden McWilliams.

The Enterprise is visiting the planet Nraka, which is "celebrating its 10,000th year of recorded history." An impressive feat, which the people credit to the prophet Zotar. And why not? Zotar was pretty great, having been both a military leader and a man of peace, inventor of the written word, mathematics, and music. Spock describes him as "in your earth terms, Zotar was Moses, Caesar, Einstein, and Paul Bunyan--combined!" Good guy, despite apparently not having a nose. During the presentation, the word "sanoora" is shown carved on a stone: apparently the first word Zotar wrote, but the meaning of which was lost in time. Which makes suprising the sudden arrival of an alien ship, the Sanoora, captained by an alien that looked like Zotar called Inoduku.

While the Nrakans go crazy over what they think is the return of their savior, Inoduku instead tells them yeah, they're going to have to go. This planet had been their home first, half-a-million years ago. They had built a mighty civilization, but an astronomer saw a rogue star approaching, that would destroy 342 years. Plenty of time to prepare, which the Sanooran people did, although they did have to leave behind their criminals, insane, assorted undesirables. They had wandered ever since, but were over that, and wanted their planet back. The Sanoorans will give their ships to the Nrakans, but they gotta go.

Spock theorizes that the Nrakans are descendants of the Sanoorans, who both survived and mutated after the radiation from the rouge star. While Mr. Scott and the councilor's daughter are on the run from the rioting, panicked Nrakans; Nrakan fighters try and fail to battle the Sanoorans. While Spock cautions neutrality, Kirk has a hard time not telling the Nrakan councilor to fight for their planet. Then, Spock seemingly reverses his decision and re-arms the Nrakan fighters with effective weapons, and the Sanoorans are driven away. Still, Spock later explores an ancient Nrakan ruin, and finds artifacts suggesting the Sanoorans may not have been lying...

Like a lot of these old Gold Key stories, it feels like this was maybe just a few drafts away from being really good. The second chapter is called "The War that Captain Kirk Made!" which is overselling it a bit; and Spock's reversal seems to come when the Enterprise is barely endangered. Still, I'm almost positive that most of this idea was used in later Star Trek stories; in fact it seems pretty close to the fourth season Next Generation episode "Devil's Due."

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