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REVIEW – Star Trek: The Motion Picture – ‘Echoes’ Issue #4

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We’re here at the penultimate issue of Marc Guggenheim’s loving tribute to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That’s right, ‘Echoes’ Issue #4 is out now from IDW Publishing. It’s been a hell of a ride, and as a fan of this underrated TOS movie, I’ve been having the time of my life. Beyond the uniforms, it’s just such a treat to spend more time with these characters. It’s such a cool gap to explore, and who doesn’t love seeing these fan favorites again?

I’ve been especially fond of Echoes, having a lovely time revisiting the USS Enterprise Refit. Knowing this could well be the final time we see this Enterprise for a long time is heartbreaking. We know that new episodes love focusing on TOS, as well as a 23rd Century prequel. But nothing compares to this batch of characters from TOS.

So how does ‘Echoes’ Issue #4 work towards the finale? Does the crew come any closer to stopping Akris? How is Chekov going to survive his injuries? All this and more in my review for the latest issue of this multiverse-hopping adventure.

Spoiler Warning: This review will contain some spoilers for Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’ Issue #4. If you’re not caught up, please read at your own risk. You’ve been warned.

Gone Rogue

Star Trek: TMP – ‘Echoes’ Issue #4 – Cover Artist: Jake Bartok

The introduction to ‘Echoes’ Issue #4 is a work of genius. At the start of just about all the Star Trek IDW comics I’ve read, the front page contains a brief summary to refresh the last issue in the mind of readers. While this issue has this, it has something else. The entire opening scene summarises even more key points through a political meeting. It also creates a sense of scale, that even without the Nightbringer, this incident could have far-reaching diplomatic consequences. Maybe if they weren’t always going rogue, it would be better.

This is a comic full of officers going rogue. We’ve got Kirk and Uhura exploring the Romulan Raptor to disrupt the Nightbringer weapon. Their disguises look amazing as well, evocative of “The Enterprise Incident”, probably the best episode in the third season of TOS. There’s a lot of stealth work, exchanging fists with guards and even Akris himself. It’s one of the most tense, edge-of-your-seat comic scenes I’ve read in a while.

The biggest act of going rogue comes from General Uhura, who spent the bulk of the comic aboard the Enterprise. Driven by desperation to destroy her greatest enemy, she doesn’t treat the Enterprise crew all too well. She’s seen knocking out Scotty, stealing her ship back, and flying off only to get blown up. I’m sure she’s not dead, and I understand the character’s motivation. Still, it’s difficult to stomach one of the protagonists doing something so grey.

The Needs of the One

Star Trek: TMP – ‘Echoes’ Issue #4 – Cover Artist: Steffi Hochriegl

Even though Uhura punches Scotty clean in the face, that’s not the only part the Enterprise has to play. With Akris’ life in the balance, Spock makes the decision to fire upon the Romulan ship that Kirk’s on. It’s an interesting one and definitely builds into his sacrifice in The Wrath of Khan. Except here, Spock appears to be sacrificing Chekov, risking his life in firing upon the Romulan vessel.

Seeing Spock in command isn’t exactly uncommon, but it’s cool to see him even more logical than he was in the series. In TMP, he was far more logical from his extended stay on Vulcan. As much as Strange New Worlds have been spending time on Vulcan emotions recently, it’s cool to see a more traditionally stoic one. He appears open to letting Chekov die, which just won’t stand. We know Chekov doesn’t die, the real question is how.

With only one more issue to wrap things up, it’s a shame. Things feel like they’re just getting moving. The Nightbringer, which is a Bajoran Orb, hasn’t even been used yet. I don’t know how you could end a story like this in so few pages, but we shall definitely see next month.

‘Echoes’ Issue #4 Preview

Conclusion

This one’s got a hell of a cliffhanger. Coming back next time is a sure thing, but I’m worried about how this will wrap up. As much faith as I’ve had in Marc Guggenheim, the fate of General Uhura, saving Chekov, destroying the Nightbringer, and making sure none of the canon is violated. Long-time Star Trek fans know the feeling of stressing over canon, and I’d hate to not have a nice time here.

There’s a fact I’m fairly certain isn’t actual canon, but one I’d love to see explored more. That’s the idea of the second five-year mission. The gap between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan was so vast that the timeline fit in a second five-year mission between the two movies. I’d love to see if this ends with Kirk going on another big mission, it would make for a lead-in to maybe the most exciting Trek comic series! Though time will tell…

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: The Motion Picture ‘Echoes’ #4 from all good comic book stores. It’s also available both physically and digitally from Amazon as well as IDW’s website. For news, reviews, and more geeking out about all things Star Trek, be sure to follow Trek Central!

‘Echoes’ Issue #4 Credits

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Oleg Chudakov
Colorist: DC Alonso
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Design & Production: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Editorial Assistant: Vanessa Real

In the Final Issue…

Cover Artists: Jake Bartok
Alexandra Beguez
Butch Mapa

Issue #5 – Peace hangs in the balance with Akris and the Romulans’ plans to test the devastating Nightbringer weapon on an innocent population and with the Enterprise crew’s actions treading the line of the Federation-Romulan peace treaty. Meanwhile, Nyota has gone rogue after finding the crew’s actions too passive for her liking. Can Nyota and Kirk set aside their differences to ensure a peaceful resolution and avoid sparking the next intergalactic war? Find out in the finale of Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Echoes!

Release Date: September 13, 2023


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Connor Schwigtenberg
Connor Schwigtenberg
All round science fiction geek and a passionate Star Trek enthusiast. Can reliably be found nerding out online. Currently exploring the expanded media. A writer at heart, look out for deep dives, reviews, and feature articles.

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