It’s time for the final issue of Star Trek: Waypointat least the final issue for now.

This title has had a bit of a wobbly start: It’s had some weak stories but the good thing about an anthology-styled book is that there’s something you will like about it. Still, it’s been a bit of a tough sell for me, and as an avid Star Trek fan, that’s significant.

The first of two stories in this book is titled The Rebound Effect and is set in the Original Series milieu. Written by Corinna Bechko and drawn by Christopher Herndon, the first thing that stands out is the art and it was difficult for me to appreciate.

I found that the images were undefined and blended into the background. The colours were muted and the likenesses weren’t very accurate.  The blandness of the colours combined with the fuzzy layout distracted me from the story, and it was difficult to get into it. Overall, I just couldn’t enjoy this story, I’m sorry to say.

In this story, Christine Chapel manages to discover the existence of a viral pathogen that threatens a Federation race. During this time, she also takes a number of command roles that bring a great deal of attention to our favourite nurse.

It was good to see Christine Chapel get a bit of spotlight. However, I found her role in the story a little too forced and overdone. Chapel seemed to be able to do too many things: identify a viral agent I can buy, but her proficiency with a phaser, trying to pilot a shuttlecraft while adhering to a high set of moral values just seemed a little too much.

The second story had a very interesting setting as it was supposed to be set in the Star Trek: Phase II version of Star Trek, which loyal fans will remember as the series that was to succeed Star Trek and yet never got off the ground.

Titled The Fear, this is drawn and written by veteran artist, Gabriel Hardman — and it’s brilliantly executed and gives us a look into what could have been.

In this story, the Enterprise accidentally collides with a cloaked Romulan ship that harbours a secret cargo which the Romulans are willing to kill to keep secret.

The Enterprise has been refitted to look like the one we see in The Motion Picture, and while the crew keeps the same uniforms as the Original Series, there are more extensive backgrounds to enjoy as well as new characters. But, if you’re familiar with Phase II, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I think what really sets this story apart is the amount of research Hardman had to do in order to give it a proper sense of fandom accuracy and acceptability. Hardman has really thought about the story, its appearance and has also clearly kept the fans in mind in putting this together. In fact, it’s this story that gives me hope for this title. Put more talented people like Hardman on it, and it will fly.

There isn’t really a lot of Phase II stuff out there, which makes this story unique and really well done.

I particularly enjoyed the little details like McCoy’s mention of Spock’s absence, the impression that Xon needs to prove himself in order to justify his place as one of the crew and an original examination of the nature of the Romulan mentality. There was a lot of subtlety in this story and I appreciated its contribution to making a believable Star Trek: Phase II story.

We turn our attention now to the four covers for this issue.

  • The regular cover is done by Hardman and it’s exceptionally well-done. Not only does it have relevance to Hardman’s own story but it also includes details from the other one as well. I have to appreciate the level of consideration and professionalism as well as the talent that went into this cover.
  • The subscription cover by Tom Whalen is a stylized image of Spock. It has a retro abstract design value to it that I think is representative of a house trend at IDW. I see a lot of this style with the other Star Trek titles. It’s sort of a cross between George Caltsoudas and the old Gold Key title covers.
  • The third cover is a retailer incentive cover and is a photographic cover of the bridge crew. I just can’t appreciate a photograph for a cover on a comic book. I’ll leave it at that.
  • Which, of course, leads us to the SDCC exclusive cover done by my pal, Dave Dorman. Dave is a brilliant cover artist and this is patterned in the Gold Key fashion. The thing about Dave though, is that he has decades of experience as well as stunning talent. While he favours Star Wars, it’s good to see him lend his talent to a franchise that could use more of his work! This is my preferred cover out of them all.

As I indicated earlier, the good thing about an anthology style book is that you can always find something good. Hardman’s story rescued Star Trek: Waypoint #6 for me and if it can continue to attract talent of his level, then there will be other good things to look forward to should the series return.

As of their panel last weekend at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, IDW editor Sarah Gaydos expressed her desire to continue this anthology series in the future – and we’re looking forward to it coming back if and when IDW announces its continuance.

  • Quintillion Tesla

    It’s great to see Xon and PHASE II covered in the comics. Like the TMP era, I wish we would see much more of this era mined by the comics.

    I must say, with the extremely “varied” style of art covered in the new STAR TREK comics, I’ve found it nigh on impossible to become immersed in them. Gabriel Hardman’s art on the other hand, is phenomenonal ( if I go by his work on The Planet Of The Apes comics ), so am looking forward to that.

  • Matineer

    The Phase II version looks very interesting and is something I would buy. One nitpick — given only as constructive criticism. The phaser pistol Kirk holds on the cover (assuming it’s not just stylized for cover presentation) — they would have looked very similar to those in TOS. Roddenberry actually bought the props from a fan/dealer/propmaker who sold lighted metal replicas at 70s Star Trek conventions. They were dropped when the new TMP designs replaced them. But this looks like a great comic.

    • Nowhereman10

      Interestingly enough, James Cawley also bought some of the uniforms as well props at auction that were made to be used on the Phase II series for reference and use on his fan production of it.

  • Reign1701A

    Huh, I interpreted the Phase II story as year 5 of the 5-year mission. I think it’s plausible that the Enterprise was refitted one more time before the major refit in TMP. We know that the bridge was upgraded twice before (Cage version, WNMHGB version).

    • Nowhereman10

      The original Phase II TV series was conceived as the second five-year mission of the Enterprise under Kirk. James Cawley modified the premise to be more like TAS in that, like New Voyages in general, to cover the last years of the original 5-year mission.

  • Donny Pearson

    Wow, I didn’t notice the transition between the TOS-era uniforms and the Motion Picture ones. Cool!

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  • Sarah

    I liked the sketchy look of the Chapel story but agree that the colors were very homogeneous. It was great to see a Phase II story. I’ve loved that Waypoint has given comic light to the comic unsung parts of Trek like Enterprise. I’d love to see more Waypoint. I am quite sad this was the last issue.

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  • Jim Patrik

    I’m really not sure on Waypoint – I mean the idea is sound but too many of the stories have felt more like ‘deleted scenes’, and I have not enjoyed some of the artistic choices (especially the Voyager story). Cant help but feel that Star Trek Unlimited (back in the late 90s nailed this format much better.