The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #3 - DC COMICS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #3 - DC COMICS

We boldly go back to the newsstands.

The last issue of the Marvel Comics Star Trek series was cover dated February 1982, it would be exactly two years until their main competitor picked up the baton and began publishing a regular Star Trek comic book. Unlike Marvel's restrictive licence, who were prohibited from using any concepts from The Original Series and focussed their stories primarily on the proposed Star Trek: Phase II era, DC Comics were seemingly given free reign on the show, making for one of the strongest and most popular runs of Star Trek comic-book adventures to date.

In February 1984 #1 of the DC Comics Star Trek series arrived with a story by Mike W. Barr (Green Arrow, Batman and the Outsiders) titled "The Wormhole Connection" and a cover from The New Teen Titans' George Perez. Picking up immediately after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - which had arrived in cinemas back in July 1982 - the first eight issues proved very successful, helped no doubt by the publicity surrounding the June 1984 release of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

Issue #1 introduced some new characters to the Enterprise crew, including the bigoted Native American Ensign William Bearclaw, as well as bringing back Koloth, the Klingon captain who faced Kirk twice in the tribbles episodes of The Original and Animated series'. Saavik is also present on the Enterprise (drawn in the likeness of Kirstie Alley), and for continuity purposes Kirk's log indicates that, following the events of The Wrath Of Khan, Carol and David Marcus have returned to Regula I, and the crew of the USS Reliant has been relocated to Starbase 12 for medical attention and reassignment.

From issue #9 the series began an eight part Mirror Universe story, titled "New Frontiers" it took place after The Search for Spock and, with the Enterprise having been destroyed in Star Trek III, the comic book series steered the characters in new directions.

Mike W. Barr left the comic book series at the end of the Mirror Universe arc, replaced by a rotating list of DC Comics staff writers, inc Len 'Swamp Thing' Wein & Peter 'The Incredible Hulk' David, plus some guest writers - one of those guest's being Walter Koenig who penned issue #19 "Chekov's Choice".

Before Barr signed off though he moved the story on from The Search For Spock and tied up some of the difficult plot threads, not least of which mentally restoring Spock back to his pre-'death' in The Wrath Of Khan state by mind-melding with his mirror self, and having the Vulcan take command of the USS Surak. Barr then assigned Kirk command of the Excelsior.

The Mirror Universe arc was, imho, the highlight of this run of comics and if you can track it down (it was reprinted in Vol 41 of the Star Trek: Graphic Novel Collection) then it's highly recommended. I'm a big fan of The Voyage Home but I honestly feel this arc would've made a superb filmed adaptation and sequel to The Search For Spock.

Several flashback tales and primarily single character adventures were published from here on out; like issue #30 "Uhura's Story", which returned to the crew's original 5-year mission, and revealed that Uhura's given name is "Nyota". Issue #18 "Rest and Recreation!" was a sole adventure for Scotty, set on Starbase VII. Many other issues delivered continuations or sequels to Original Series episodes, like issues #22 & #23, the two part adventure "Wolf on the Prowl" & "Wolf at the Door" being a sequel to the Original Series second season episode "Wolf in the Fold", and issues #39 and #40 which bought back Harry Mudd.

However, when Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home arrived in cinemas, and its storyline picked up almost right after The Search For Spock left off, the comic book series wiped the slate clean, reversing everything Barr had introduced in issue #16, by having Kirk lose command of the Excelsior and Spock return to the state he was in at the end of Star Trek III.

After The Voyage Home, the series continued with Kirk commanding the Enterprise-A. In a very nice touch of retro-throback, these issues re-introduced Arex and M'Ress from Star Trek: The Animated Series. They also featured a Klingon who was a member of Starfleet, predating the same concept being featured in Star Trek: The Next Generation by several years.

After 56 issues, 3 annuals, and two film adaptations, DC Comics monthly run of Star Trek comics ended in 1988 when Paramount required all tie-in licenses to be renegotiated.

What happened after that we will explore in our next issue...

Gold Key Comics
Marvel Comics

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