With Further Ado #82: Contemplating with Kirk

There are so many great Christmas comics. As a kid, I always loved those “very special issues” where the adventure would take place during the Yuletide season.  I still do. I always read a few Christmas comics on Christmas Eve, and I’m always careful to finish them and turn out the light before Santa comes.

In comics, celebrating other holidays has always been a little hit or miss.  Oh, sure, there’re lots of creepy Halloween stories. Superhero teams always seem to gather together at Thanksgiving, but I’m not sure if I have ever a had a favorite St. Valentine’s Day comic story.

I do now. IDW’s Star Trek Year Five: Valentine’s Day Special is a mouthful of a comic title, but it’s a wonderful Star Trek story, that – like all the best Trek tales – is about more than just spaceships and phaser blasts.

Paul Cornell is a gifted writer, and here he deftly uses the long history of Star Trek: TOS, and Captain Kirk in particular, to tell a tale of lost love, in a fresh and mature way.  This isn’t another story of Jim Kirk romancing some hot babe in the middle of danger and adventure. Instead, Kirk meets his equal: a woman of similar drive and passions. They are drawn together through the years.

Kudos to writer Cornell for some of his clever touches. For example, at one point, when things get serious, Kirk does something rational – he asks his best friends for advice on his love life. A big chunk of this story is a tender, wistful tale of a man contemplating what would be best for him in a relationship.  There is a “one that got away” thread through it all too.

One might almost think there is no room left for romance in Kirk’s well documented life.  Somehow, Cornell makes it all work without forcing it.

Christopher Jones isn’t an artist I’m familiar with, but he’s good with likenesses, which are so important for a licensed property like Star Trek. He is also spot on in the details and portraits of the characters, notably Captain/Admiral Kirk, as they all age beyond the original series.

There are some lovely little touches in this book, including:

  • IDW created a special Valentine’s heart logo for this issue.
  • The love interest, Captain Rhone, also has two great friends in her life, ala Spock and McCoy.
  • There is a silly Spock Valentine in this issue, evocative of those valentines we all used to give to school classmates

Like so many Star Trek fans, my journey has changed through the years.  Back when we watched Star Trek as kids, we would dream about traveling to faraway lands and romancing exotic beauties. As age creeps in, our priorities change and mature. This story is more of the latter. How nice to find a Valentine’s story that takes such a thoughtful, kind and caring approach.

Cornell, Jones and the whole gang at IDW deserve a commendation from Starfleet for this one.

I can’t help but compare and contrast  Star Trek: Five Year Mission: Valentine Special with another treasure I recently liberated from Collectibles Galore in Syracuse, NY. The owner, Mike, runs a spectacular store and he’s always offering generous deals to his customers.

I snagged an old copy of a Golden Press publication, Star Trek: The Enterprise Logs,  from him, which is basically a collected trade paperback of the old Gold Key Star Trek series. These comics, unlike the recent IDW comic I just raved about, are so “off model” that they are funny and charming… in their own way.  There’s a lot to love here, including the artist spotlight and even the back cover, complete with faux Federation lingo.

“Blazing Comets! To the teleportation chamber!”, as Spock would say. At least, as he would say  in these stories.