Hey gang! Looks like we’re going to take a break from Klingons, espionage, Vulcan love and, just have a stand-alone issue, this time. That’s great, because I like it when they mix it up, a bit. Keeps us on our toes, eh..? Especially, when it’s the Gorn that have us goin’ heel-to-toe and, running for our frikkin’ lives! So it is, with this issue.
Man! The Gorn have really transformed over the years; I mean, more-so, than the Klingons, in my book. These are some scary-lookin’ ‘folks’ we’re talkin’ about, here. If Shatner’s Kirk had gone toe-to-claw with one of these badboys, well…I don’t know if he’d have saved the day, or-not! The first changes came on ENTERPRISE, when the ‘mirror universe’s’ Capt. Archer took on the Gorn aboard the USS Defiant, in the episode ‘A Mirror Darkly’. Now, the guys at IDW have really gone and outdone themselves. These Gorn are what I have imagined them to be; like Jurassic Park bad boys, that’d make ya wet yourself if you happened-up on one. These Gorn are mean SOB’s and, they mean business. Screw the stun setting! Set that bastard to ‘kill their asses’!
Issue #24 begins in Captain James T. Kirk’s dreams, as he’s recording a personal log of his latest nightmare about the Gorn. He’s apparently been having this dream quite a bit and he’s realizing Starfleet Academy doesn’t teach everything about dealing with what’s ‘out there’ in the big ol’ universe. These creatures have left a very real impact on his psyche and his dreams are haunting him.
The USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 has responded to a distress call, from a settlement on Parthenon 559. Lt. Uhura isn’t getting any response from her hails, except for a repeating fragment: “Help us…”. It’s not boding well for this missions beginnings. Kirk orders Sulu to get ready for a trip down to the planet and he leaves Spock with the conn.
The away-team is on the surface, but they are having trouble reading the settler’s life readings, as the place is teeming with life. Kirk leads them to the settlement, only to find the facilities have been bombarded and everything is eerily quiet. Kirk and crew find that a massacre has taken place there; lots of dead and few survivors, are the results of a brutal attack. They locate a shuttlecraft that has survivors inside and one of the injured gasps, “Gorn…” Kirk says, “I know.” (Like after Picard dreamed about the Borg and he gets a hail from Adm. Hayes about a Borg attack; Picard just knew…)
Back on the Enterprise, in sickbay, Kirk, Spock and Bones learn that the settlers are there for the ‘gold mine’ of resources Parthenon 559 has to offer. The injured settler, a Mr. Henderson, recounts a tale of slaughter, at the hands of the Gorn. Mr. Henderson isn’t thrilled that Kirk isn’t going to wipe the Gorn out, but Kirk, ‘slaps him down’ and vows for the settlement’s future safety, nonetheless. Then, he confers with Spock, and we learn that they have dealt with the Gorn, before, when the Gorn fleet used the effects of the Helio Device, which had caused a rip in space; the Gorn fleet traversed this opening, coming through into our universe. Spock warns that the whole of Starfleet couldn’t fight off a Gorn invasion fleet. Kirk senses that this is a straggler, or a scoutship, though.
On the bridge, Kirk asks Chekov for an update on locating the Gorn life signs, for which Chekov gives coordinates for a campsite near the human settlement. Kirk orders another team to the surface, but orders Spock to stay on the bridge, with the ship; he feels Spock’s had too many close calls and Kirk isn’t keen on losing him to the Gorn, in another one. So, a 6-man away-team goes back down, this time, and it’s not long before they run into trouble…
…the crew find themselves completely surrounded and overwhelmed, as the Gorn attack from out of nowhere. They are overtaken, quickly; Kirk receiving a blow to the back of the head in the fight. Meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise, Mr. Henderson comes onto the bridge, where Spock, gives him a status report on the repairs to their damaged mainframe. McCoy orders Henderson back to sickbay, as he’s not fully recovered, yet. Uhura loses contact with the team and, also-transporter capability, due to interference. On the surface, Kirk and some of the away-team are being held captive and being roughed-up by the Gorn, whom are livid over Kirk’s coming back to fight. (These guys are some vicious creatures and, they have no qualms in beating the Hell out of Kirk. The clan leader gives Kirk a head-snapping bitchslap, too. Nothing is mentioned about the missing crew members…)
It’s now, however, that we learn the truth. These Gorn are not part of the attacking fleet Kirk dealt with during the prior invasion. On the ship, Chekov is finding a different story, as well; clips from the settlement’s mainframe, for which, he apprises Mr. Spock. Kirk listens to the Gorn, who is recapping his clan’s departure from the rest of the army. But, Kirk isn’t buying his story, especially, after the carnage he’s seen, (then, and-now), and the ‘hospitality’ that’s been shown them, during their detainment. The Gorn claim self-defense…
Spock, acting against Kirk’s orders, beams down in the midst of the ongoing talks. (Talk about coming a long way… Spock and Jim’s friendship is being cemented with every issue. Now, it’s Spock risking insubordination, to save Kirk.) Spock confirms the Gorn’s story, letting Kirk know that it was Mr. Henderson’s camp that were the aggressors. The Gorn are by no means as ‘peaceful’, as they claim, yet, they were justified in their actions against the mining settlers.
Kirk confronts Mr. Henderson and gives him his decision, which is, to leave the Gorn on Parthenon 559, alone. Henderson is furious with Kirk’s decision, telling him he won’t get away with it, that he has no right to just give the planet to the Gorn! Kirk, unswayed, is leaving the planet under a Federation Quarantine, a no-man’s land; thereby insuring the Gorn are free to colonize peacefully. Henderson argues that Kirk isn’t using the full power of the ship he’s commanding. Kirk argues, that it’s not the power he has in his control, but rather, it’s how he chooses to use that power… (I’m liking this Jim Kirk, more and more, with every new issue.)
Kirk and Spock are discussing the mining concern’s all-but inevitable petitions to the Federation, over Kirk’s decision; Spock fearing, they have only postponed an inevitable confrontation. Kirk is optimistic, though, citing Adm. Marcus’ and Starfleet’s attempts at trying to force peace, (namely, upon the amassing Klingons, who are even-now, on their way…) “It’s a new dawn, Commander,” Kirk tells Spock, as the Enterprise is warping-out, “and there’s no going back…”
Well, we know that Marcus’ actions are still being sorted-out at Starfleet Command and that the repercussions for the Federation are still sending ripples across the stars. We know that Section 31 is still trying to force their ideals upon those inhabitants, amongst them, as they are manipulating both the Klingon and the Romulan Empires, in an, as yet, unforeseen plot …
But, that being said, I enjoyed this look at the Gorn and how Kirk chose to deal with the actions of the mining settlement. It’s further proof that Kirk, despite his raw, and quite-justified feelings for the Gorn, has grown, as a captain, as-well-as, a human being. He wasn’t quite as hair-triggered in this issue, seeming to weigh the good and the bad, equally, before delivering his final decision. He knows, too, that the Gorn can be monitored on Parthenon, because of the quarantine that he’s invoked. He sees, also, that the Federation and Starfleet are going to need a new playbook after what Admiral Marcus has done and he’s willing to write some of those plays, himself, steering those iconic entities upon a new course.
It was refreshing to get off of the Spock/Uhura story, as well. I just wish we could see more of Dr. McCoy; I mean, it’s like he’s in a cameo role! Even in ‘Into Darkness’ it seemed that way, too. I argued, after Issue 23, that the Spock/Uhura/Vulcan story was a good tale to tell, as it let us see New Vulcan’s progress, plus it gave us glimpses into how Spock and Uhura became a couple. But dammit, Jim…give us MORE Bones! What gives, IDW…Mike Johnson? Dr. McCoy needs to be fleshed-out and brought back into the triad we all love. We need to see Kirk, Mr. Spock and Bones on more away missions! Bring Uhura, too; I’ve got no gripe, with that.
However… Overall, I really liked this issue. The story was good, bringing lots of good action and character development for Kirk. The twist, with the human settlers being the brutes, was nice, giving us a taste of what true ‘STAR TREK’ stories are all about. The art and colors are excellent, giving us good likenesses of the crew, the Enterprise (both interior and exterior) and the settlement panels are fantastic. Plus, the Gorn were spectacular, exceptionally rendered! Really good stuff, I must say. These aren’t your daddy’s Gorn! LOL! (Or, Archer’s…) I gave this a five-star rating and I hope you enjoy it, just as much, as I have. Until the next issue, have fun and give me some feedback on your thoughts.
Eric G1 🐊