The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #4 - DC COMICS Vol 2 - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #4 - DC COMICS Vol 2

It's the return of Star Trek comics. In more ways than one.

In our last look back at the history of Star Trek comic books we revisited the DC Comics years from 1984 to 1988. A run which saw the major publishing house have an almost carte blanche licence from Paramount, which equated to a run of very exciting, alternative adventures including a Mirror Universe arc that, IMHO, would've made for a great filmed outing for the original series crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

The DC Comics series ended in 1988, after 56 issues, 3 annuals, and 2 film adaptations, when Paramount required all tie-in licenses to be renegotiated. If the name at the top of the page hasn't already allowed you to infer, the publisher who won the new licence to print Star Trek comics was, once again, DC Comics, and after a year's hiatus their second Star Trek series began with an adaptation of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

However, DC Comics new licence with Paramount was more restrictive than their previous one, preventing characters introduced in their first run of comic books from returning. As part of Paramount's increased restrictions on storytelling, The Animated Series characters Arex and M'Ress, who had been reintroduced as crew members towards the end of the first run, were excluded. A shame as DC Comics had already mapped out plans for stories involving them, including commissioning some formative artwork showing M'Ress (that appeared in a preview). This all had to be re-drawn when in October 1989 DC Comics resumed their monthly Star Trek series with #1 titled The Return!

Peter David, who had as good as become the lead writer on the series toward the end of its first run, oversaw the majority of the first 20 issues. David had recently joined DC Comics after a long run with rival Marvel and an incredibly successful stint on The Hulk. He later opined that novels are better suited to Star Trek, whose stories he felt weren't highly visual, and this is where many of you may know his name from.

Peter David's Star Trek novels include Q-in-Law; I, Q; Vendetta; Q-Squared; and Imzadi, one of the best-selling Star Trek novels of all time. David also created the ongoing novel series Star Trek: New Frontier, a spin-off from Star Trek: The Next Generation, with John J. Ordover in 1997. But, as the launch lead writer on this second volume of DC Comics adventures, his newly penned stories largely took place during the gap between Star Trek V and what would be Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Although restrictive, David reintroduced some elements seen in the earlier Star Trek movies, including the Klingon Ambassador (played on film by John Schuck) from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He appeared in many of the issues as a key antagonist.

David also helmed the interesting three part Lost In Space-ish arc, running through issues #13 to #15. Later republished in a trade paperback as The Return Of The Worthy, it saw the Enterprise surveying a barren planet for the purposes of testing an inter-dimensional gateway device. Whilst doing so they find a family of legendary space explorers, frozen in suspended animation.

In keeping with the story arc's theme, cover artist Jerome K. Moore incorporated the words "Lost in Space" into the hair of the boy alien, Arrit. This was caught and removed by the editor, but Will Robinson and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial still make cameos in the assembled crew in the background.

Another Trek novelist took over from David, Howard Weinstein joined the title from issue #17 and stayed pretty much to the end of its run. Weinstein has a long history with Star Trek. In 1974, at the age of 19, he became the youngest person to ever write a script for Star Trek, selling "The Pirates of Orion" for use in Star Trek: The Animated Series. Like Peter David, he has also written numerous Star Trek novels and was credited with "thanks" on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

With Weinstein, the comic book series was in good hands, and as Star Trek celebrated its 25th anniversary a number of issues (often either stand-alone single issues or short arcs) were flashback stories set within the timeframe of the Original Series. Several popular characters, like Harry Mudd, Savak, Gary Seven and Christopher Pike were reintroduced too.

DC Comics also published the very first crossover between TOS and The Next Generation when in 1991 two-4 part mini-series comic books were released to tie-in with the 25th anniversary, titled the Modela Imperative.

The Modela Imperative was presented in two phases, a TOS portion where the USS Enterprise crew explores a pre-contact planet undergoing a dangerous political upheaval, and a TNG portion where the USS Enterprise-D returns to that world 100 years later for the anniversary of its freedom. DC Comics later released a collected paperback edition reprinting all eight issues, with an added introduction by Walter Koenig.

Meanwhile, in the main comic book run, as The Undiscovered Country premiered in cinemas, the comic book series fleshed out some of the changes between Star Trek V and VI, such as Sulu's promotion to captain of the Excelsior which was elaborated upon in the six-part story-arc The Tabukan Syndrome.

Toward the end of its 80 issue run, the DC Comics Star Trek series featured an arc where the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise return to Earth as their five year mission comes to an end. Acting as a sort of prequel to The Wrath Of Khan, the story arc titled Star-Crossed features Kirk's romance with Carol Marcus, and upon his return to Earth his discovery that he has a son with the former Federation scientist; David.

A fitting time for Howard Weinstein to sign off, and the series to, almost, come to an end too. After 80 issues 6 annuals, 2 graphic novels and a limited run crossover between TOS and TNG the second run of DC Comics Star Trek series finished in February 1996 when, once again, Paramount required the comic book licence to be renegotiated.

We will find out next time who it went to...

Gold Key Comics
Marvel Comics
DC Comics, Vol 1

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