Somehow it’s been a month since the last issue came out. I don’t know where the time went, but I have a copy of Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’ Issue #2. The last one was an absolute pleasure to read, and I’m sure I’ll be just as happy this second time. So, picking up from last month, let’s talk about this ongoing new adventure for Admiral Kirk in this unexplored era!
I celebrated last month how cool it is that we’re exploring the gap between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan. The effects are yet to wear off. Seeing the uniforms and bridge from the movie in comic form is still just as magical. However, these comics have a story, and that’s most of what I need to review. So, picking up from last time, how will the Enterprise crew stop Akris? What will happen with the alliance between Akris and the Romulan Empire? Read on!
Classic Fake Hostage Situation Ruse
Given Akris has run off into the Neutral Zone, the Enterprise was left unable to pursue. At the alternate Uhura’s insistence, they formulate a plan to follow and stop him. Kirk, assembling a crew consisting of both Uhuras, Chekov, and Sulu, take a shuttlecraft in pursuit. The ruse is simple, that Uhura has taken them hostage. In terms of fakeout hostage situations, it’s the first time to my knowledge our heroes have done one. However, there are a few parallels with Sybok’s plan in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
As much as I praised seeing all the Motion Picture sets, there was something beautiful about the shuttlecraft. It’s where we spend about Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’’s second issue and the darker colors are more atmospheric and almost claustrophobic. Seeing Kirk so in command, literally anticipating Romulan responses to the second, in such a small space is awesome. It’s reminiscent of some of the best moments of Kirk being in command that I’ve ever seen, up there with taking down the USS Reliant’s shields in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
The plan even seems to continue into Kirk and Uhura’s capture at the Romulan station. Kirk’s an absolute delight here. It’s the first new Kirk story I’ve seen in a long time, and I really missed his style. But even by his standards, he seems very in control here. I’m excited to see how the rest of this plan unfolds next time. I also wonder if the cliffhanger ending at the end of this issue throws a wrench in the works, it probably does, but more on that later.
By the end of this issue, Akris has been shown to be an absolute monster. But there’s something else being tapped into as well. He’s completely alone in this universe. Like Uhura, he’s been thrown into a reality he has no bearing in. I guess this is what fuels the desperation behind his lying to the Romulans, he’s just trying to survive. We see him offer his doomsday weapon, the Nightbringer, to the Romulans in exchange for them not killing him.
However, we know from the alternate Uhura that the weapon is useless in this universe and without a Bajoran Orb. Being set in the 23rd Century, none of the characters in our universe know what a Bajoran is, let alone one of their Orbs. I’m not here defending war criminals, but the issue was clear to show both Akris and Uhura talking separately about the weapon. But is Akris misunderstood? Or did he perhaps plan to travel between universes with the Nightbringer?
Perhaps there’s a twist coming about these doppelgängers’ true intentions. But as I predicted last time, mostly because it was heavily implied and all but spelled out, Akris is Chekov’s doppelgänger. I wonder how having the real Chekov in this mission will complicate things. They all but come face to face at the end, but our Chekov is rendered unconscious. But now all the main characters are in the same space, the villains included, things are sure to reach boiling point next time!
Although alternate Uhura, our Chekov, and Sulu were on the shuttle, they weren’t originally kidnapped. They were hiding around the ship, attacked the Romulan boarding party, and proceeded to discreetly move around the ship to find the Nightbringer. Hiding in secret compartments and attacking the boarding party was something far too reminiscent of Star Wars: A New Hope to not mention it. Given the success of Star Wars inspired the production of The Motion Picture, a small homage is only fair.
The rest of the sneaking around is pretty short. It’s cool to have them running around covertly and looking at schematics to find where the Nightbringer is though. But beyond a few panels and quip, there’s not a lot to this story before they’re captured. Perhaps this group of characters will get more to do next time, but who knows? Honestly, I’m far more invested in how they’re going to escape the Romulans and stop their burgeoning alliance with Akris.
So, was this a fun follow-up to the last Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’ issue? Yes. Very much so, and with the plot moving out of the introduction phase, the bits where the plot’s now actually moving are really cool. Of all the series IDW is doing right now, this is perhaps the most distinct, set apart by the better part of a century. It’s also an absolute joy to be reading. After this setup, I’m really excited to see where the rest of this story leads.
You can find Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’ Issue #2 in all good comic book stores and via Amazon and IDW Publishing’s website. For news coverage, reviews, and generally nerding out about Star Trek, follow Trek Central!
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Oleg Chudakov
Colorist: DC Alonso
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Inside Issue #2
In the next issue…
In issue #3: Akris-a maniacal doppelganger of Chekov from a parallel universe-has begun working with the Romulans on a superweapon with a promise to reduce the Federation and its allies to ash. But with half the bridge crew in Romulan custody, it’s up to Spock and McCoy to hold down the ship and devise a plan to get their captain and crewmates out of enemy hands!
Release date: July 12, 2023
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