In issue #11, Captain Kirk had just been sucker-punched by the shape-shifting Captain Garth and left on Antos IV, while the aforementioned Garth has assumed his form and taken his position as captain of the Endeavour.
Brevity is the order of the day for this story. Though I can say I enjoyed it, I felt like the guest at the dinner table who needed seconds.
I really feel like it needed more. In the last issue, Kirk was trapped fairly easily and in this month’s Star Trek: Boldly Go #12, his escape is just as simple. The actual interaction between Kirk, Garth and his old ship is likewise fairly brief and it just seemed to me that this was a bigger story in planning than what was actually delivered.
Of course, I could be wrong about this, but Mike Johnson is a veteran storyteller and his love for Star Trek is fairly well-established by now. Two issues just seems like an odd number for an arc, even a short one, and there is so much that could have been added to this story. In this story, we see more of Captain Garth and not enough of Garth of Izar.
For example, I wanted to find out more about what the Antosians did to Garth. In the TOS episode “Dagger of the Mind” — when we met Garth in the prime timeline — Garth had a great deal of exposition, talked about the shape-shifting techniques (albeit vaguely) but we learned more about his character.
I’d have liked to have seen some of Garth’s epic starship strategy in combat against Kirk. In the end, it isn’t even Kirk who takes his own ship back, but the pirate Eurydice and her daughter, Thalia with a very cheap and vaguely defined space-pirate trick. However, true to Kirk form, in the end he winds up with more than just his ship. I was grateful for that.
Megan Levens’ art is growing more and more enjoyable with every issue. When an artist is assigned a book for a decent amount of time, the added familiarity with the subject translates to extra proficiency. With her time on Star Trek: Boldly Go, I think she’s developing a greater sense of awareness with the characters and her drawing is becoming more and more fluid. In short, I think she’s having a lot of fun and it shows in her work.
Speaking of art, that brings us to the covers for this book.
- The regular cover is by George Caltsoudas. His figures always seem so willowy thin that I find I prefer his stylized, work, particularly when it comes to starships. For me, the more abstract, the better.
- Cover B is by Tony Shasteen, coloured by J.D. Mettler. Shasteen captures the sardonic expression of what is clearly Captain Garth playing Kirk, perfectly. Shasteen’s likenesses are truly his strength and putting his work on a cover is a definitely a smart bet.
While I really enjoy his likenesses though, I have to confess that I enjoy the story relevance of his covers. There’s always a hint as to what’s going on in the story and Shasteen really does a good job of selling the book with his cover work.
- The Retailer A cover is a photo and we all know how I feel about those! But the B-cover by Cryssy Cheung is a delightful image of Montgomery Scott set against blueprints and technical drawings of the Enterprise and other technological information.
It’s a fantastic cover that almost seems to meld Simon Pegg and James Doohan’s features together; an excellent piece of work that Cheung should be proud of.
When it comes down to it, it’s a fun read. I went back and read it several times and I was struck by how quick a story pace it was. I think it could have stood for another issue at least, in which we could see how good a starship captain Garth really was. A teacher versus student trope is always good story and with Garth’s history, it would have been a good story indeed.
However, the expression on Garth’s face in the holding cell at the Elba Asylum Colony made me think that maybe we haven’t seen the last of Captain Garth. And if so, then I look forward to more of the story unfolding in future issues to come!