In honor of Star Trek Into Darkness, I wish to discuss Gold Key's Star Trek #1 (Jl'67) which I read as part of Golden Press' Star Trek: The Enterprise Logs (1976). There are three criteria that I want to examine:

  • Was it a good comic?
  • Was it a good adaptation?
  • Was it good Star Trek?

According to the Grand Comics Database, #1 was written by Dick Wood and drawn by Nevio Zeccara,

an Italian artist, IIRC, who never saw the TV show. Going by the date, this issue was produced as the first season was ending and #2 was cover-dated Ma'68, well into the second season. But Gold Key was known for the lengthy time between issues, particularly their adaptations.

The plot is fairly simply: The Enterprise comes across the planet Kelly Green which is "steeped in vegetation" and decide to exploit its resources explore it in the name of Science. Before they can, Mister Spock and Doctor McCoy are nearly killed by guinea pigs, mutated by alien spores which were able to come in from space through the ship! Quickly coming to the wrong conclusion, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy, Yeoman Rand and Crewmen Hunt and Dean beam down to the renamed Planet K-G. At first they think it's a new Eden until Hunt gets exposed to the same spores and starts sprouting branches!

Before they can process that, they are nearly devoured by a super-suction "cannibal plant". They are saved when a giant tree attacks the cannibal plant. The tremendous battle results in the deaths of both but the crew is horrified to discover that the tree-being was a fully mutated Crewman Hunt, who retained enough intelligence to rescue them.

After informing Mister Spock about the tragedy, Kirk decides to remain on the planet to learn the reason why Hunt got vegetized. Spock doesn't think that's a good idea but Kirk's the captain! Immediately they come across a plant village who don't like explorers. They escape briefly, only to have Rand taken away by a plat with grabby tentacles. They follow her as she's put into a thorny enclosure with other animals. Unfortunately it's the planet's version of a slaughterhouse where the animals are herded into the maws of giant trees!

Kirk calls Spock to fire a "laser beam destruct ray" into a narrow field to destroy the fence and save Rand. Firing the beam takes up FIVE pages but it works and Kirk and the others flee for their mammalian lives! By the point, the Plants have had enough and unleash their spores. Kirk, finally deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, has Spock beam them up materialize them aboard! The foursome are safe but Spock tells them that if the spores are able to travel through space then every inhabited world is threatened by them. Using every bit of scientific knowledge, first contact protocols, the vast resources of the Federation and LOGIC at his disposal, Spock comes to the conclusion that they will "orbit that hideous little globe until all foliage upon it is decimated by (their) laser beams"! IDIC, indeed!

Luckily being in orbit meant that they couldn't hear the plants' shrieking death-cries!

________________________________________________________________________

So, is it a good comic? Believe it on not, yes. It's an exciting little yarn with real suspense. The imagery is both memorable and different. Frankly it's a lot more interesting than DC's 1967 sci-fi books.

Is it a good adaptation? Yes and no. It's identifiable as Star Trek and the likenesses are pretty good. They seem to have gotten their information from an early bible of the show, spotlighting Yeoman Rand for the only time in the comic's run. There were some improvements like different uniforms for away missions, instead of wearing their PJs all the time. And they use actual equipment and have some heavy fire power.

Unfortunately the terminology is off most of the time (TV scanner, "D" hour, teleportation chamber, destruct ray). And Spock shows little of his charisma and the other secondary characters (Scotty, Uhura, Sulu) are not depicted.

Is it good Star Trek? This issue showed more epic visuals that the TV series ever could. Kirk made several key mistakes. Gene Roddenberry should have been horrified about the ending. The fact that the indigenous plant-beings were classified as intelligent throughout the issue makes their annihilation even more terrible. It does not reflect Star Trek's core principles but the series would get better.

Any other Trekkers remember this?

 

Views: 270

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It would be reprinted in Star Trek #29 (Ma'75) with a more representative cover.

How are they cannibals if they don't eat each other?

Don't ask me! That's how Captain Kirk described them and who am I to argue? ;-)

Actually, they probably meant "carnivore" plants.

Richard Willis said:

How are they cannibals if they don't eat each other?

My public library has a collection of the earlier issues. I'll borrow it and read along to your reviews.

I'll probably never read the comic, but I enjoyed this review.  Sounds like the European artist brought something to the party too.

Ironically enough, when I was hunting for silver age Marvels, I spotted one at a local barbershop.  It was Tales to Astonish #72, and it was in rough shape.  The head barber refused to sell it to me, without a replacement.  So I hot footed it down the street to the local 5 and dime, and bought a Gold Key twin pack for 15 cents per bag of two issues. As I recall, the lead issue in the pack that i bought was Gold Key Star Trek...  and unless I miss my guess, it was the issue you showed.  I vaguely recall the plants and the story somewhat, but I knew that it was a poor comic.

...Is Crewman Hunt's uniform shirt...red ???

Kirk , when was it that there were GK 2-packs with 2 ishes ? Did they bear the " Whitman " logo or " Gold Key " ?

Kirk G said:

Ironically enough, when I was hunting for silver age Marvels, I spotted one at a local barbershop.  It was Tales to Astonish #72, and it was in rough shape.  The head barber refused to sell it to me, without a replacement.  So I hot footed it down the street to the local 5 and dime, and bought a Gold Key twin pack for 15 cents per bag of two issues. As I recall, the lead issue in the pack that i bought was Gold Key Star Trek...  and unless I miss my guess, it was the issue you showed.  I vaguely recall the plants and the story somewhat, but I knew that it was a poor comic.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service