Star Trek: The Motion Picture – ‘Echoes’ Issue #3 is out now from IDW Publishing. The series continues the story of Admiral Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise shortly after the events of the film. It’s taken this era on a much more action-packed adventure. Full of doppelgängers, Bajoran orbs, and some thrilling bits of espionage along the Neutral Zone. To be honest, it’s been a lovely read thus far.
As a five-issue miniseries, Echoes’ Issue #3 is supposed to do a lot of work to set the scene for the finale. From the epic second issue, it’s got to pick up from Chekov’s injury, Akris’ scheming with the Romulans, and Uhura’s doppelgänger going rogue. So how does the series move past these and build up to the final showdown?
WARNING: This review will contain spoilers for Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’ #3
According to Plan
I spoke last month about Kirk’s plan, and how getting captured by the Romulans didn’t deter him at all. That holds up here, as he uses the oldest trick in the book to get him and Uhura out of their cell. The whole thing is very in keeping with William Shatner’s fighting skills in The Original Series. However, as experienced as combatant as Kirk is, a lot of the spotlight here is on Uhura.
Her having the spotlight just isn’t something that happened in TOS, or all that much in the movies either. So this is not only a welcome change, but a beautiful and timely tribute to the late Nichelle Nichols. This is split across both the Uhura variants by the way. The prime one gets some serious martial arts work in, and the alternate version’s confrontation with Akris is some really tense stuff.
Kirk and Uhura are still aboard with the Romulans by the end of ‘Echoes’ Issue #3 as well, so we’ve definitely not seen the last of it. Seeing them fully dressed in a Romulan disguise is like something out of “The Enterprise Incident” but somehow way cooler. With a new prototype Romulan warship in the mix, it’s bound to be a fun time for them to retrieve the Nightbringer. I’d love for Akris to actually do something with the Orb next time, that would be awesome.
On the Enterprise
I don’t think it would be a TOS story without a bit of arguing between Spock and McCoy. Some things are quintessential TOS, and I’m glad it’s on full display here. Their fondness for each other is still evident, but McCoy’s desperation to retire is strong. It’s a little funny, but I really ended up feeling for McCoy here. He really was drafted and dragged onto the Enterprise again, only for them to get embroiled in even more adventures.
Speaking of story elements that make up all the best TOS stories, we get some solid scenes in the sickbay here. Despite taking a real back seat in the movies, it’s lovely to see Nurse Chapel at work here. She’s mostly just there so we properly get the pressure McCoy’s under to save Chekov, but it’s still a nice touch. Nicer still, is a desperate departure from technobabble, transitioning to “traditional” surgical techniques.
Seeing the sweat on McCoy’s forehead as he reaches that conclusion is what really sells it. He wants to leave the ship, but he’s held there by a need to save his friend. Spock went so far as to call him selfish. We know of course that McCoy doesn’t properly retire for some time, being in five movies after this story. His inner conflict was something I didn’t know I needed, but I’m very glad I have it.
A Perfect Match
Chekov getting shot in the last issue was a real turning point for the story. Not only will it keep him out of the action, and in turn prevent too many doppelgängers running around, but it also set up Akris’ demise. Here, Guggenheim retcons Chekov into having a rare blood condition where his body would reject anything but a perfect match. While we know Chekov survives, Akris is certainly not coming out of this okay.
While it’s not a canon-breaking retcon (although it does make “The Deadly Years” a little stranger), it does feel a little contrived. It also gives me a pretty clear idea of how they’re going to ultimately save Chekov and stop Akris. I hope that with two full issues to go that my expectations are subverted a bit. That being said, what’s being set up is still pretty great.
When it comes to the end of this comic, I’d also love to praise the way it juggles all the different plot threads. Cutting between Kirk and the Enterprise every few pages made this a nice read. It also allowed for the smaller scenes to stand on their own, almost as vignettes. This is the case for the conversation between Sulu and the alternate Uhura especially, it’s insanely well done.
‘Echoes’ Issue #3 Preview
Given the massive timeline gap between The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan, I’m glad to see it all bridged so nicely in Echoes’ Issue #3. As much as I’m sure that I’ll want to read more after this one ends, I doubt I’ll actually need it. The character moments here really are that good, though. Despite my tiny qualms with the potential ending to the story, as well as mixed feelings on a tiny retcon, this is still amazing.
Assuming the next issues can keep up this quality, this will easily go down as an outstanding Trek comic. With issue #4 out next month, it looks set to be a lot of fun. I’m both invested and excited for this story’s future and really can’t wait for next time.
You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: The Motion Picture – ‘Echoes’ #3 out now in all good comic book stores. Both physical and digital copies are available to order from Amazon and IDW Publishing’s website. For additional Star Trek reviews, news coverage, lore, and more, be sure to follow Trek Central!
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Oleg Chudakov
Colorist: DC Alonso
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
In the Next Issue…
Issue #4: Tensions are at an all-time high with Chekov in a dire medical state while his evil doppelgänger, Akris, is supplying the Romulans with the Nightbringer weapon. The Enterprise crew’s mission is clear: infiltrate the Romulan dreadnought and destroy the Nightbringer before Akris can bring the destruction he’s inflicted upon his universe into theirs. But can Kirk and Nyota set their differences aside to ensure a peaceful resolution and avoid sparking a war with the Romulans?
Release Date: August 9, 2023
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