In Review: Star Trek: New Visions #18

A good mystery becomes a fight for survival with visuals that are epic. This is how Star Trek should be.

The cover: Underneath the glorious title “What Pain It Is To Drown”, the saucer section of the USS Enterprise is shown surrounded by giant water droplets. Is the ship underwater or is it surrounded by the monstrous beads of H²O in space? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to read this book. Excellent tease from John Byrne. Another plus for this cover is that this scene actually appears in this story, so there’s no false advertising in this image. I love the Enterprise and I love to see it in environments that weren’t in any of the original series’ episodes or films. Overall grade: A

The story: On its way to Polymax VII for routine resupply, the crew of the Enterprise becomes concerned when signals from the world have stopped in the last three hours. Nothing unusual is detected by long rang scans, but Captain Kirk wants to get there sooner than expected. Once there the crew is shocked to discover that the Earth-like world is completely flooded: no life forms are detected, the oceans are toxic, and the air too humid to breathe. As Spock begins to scan the surface, Uhura receives an emergency beacon from Tasus V, the next planet on their present course. Kirk sets the ship to that world and goes to Dr. McCoy’s office to get some advice. Their conversation is interrupted by a call from the bridge about something they’ve come upon. John Byrne has a great mystery afoot in this issue. The characters smartly try to discover what’s occurring and it’s incredibly interesting. I’ve not read this type of Trek story before and that’s just one reason why this is neat. Having water be a threat is a neat antagonist for the characters and their ship and the solution to this mystery involves the inclusion of a popular character on Page 12, which was more than enough reason for me to pick this up. There are several moments in this issue, such as Pages 17 and 18, that would have broken the show’s budget and they are epic and awesome. Page 23 introduces a neat character that delivered several clues to this issue’s dangers. A great mystery with a great solution. This story goes where no Star Trek story has gone before. There’s also a one page story titled “R.H.I.P.” Even at this short length, Byrne gives the two characters some fun moments that will leave a fan smiling at the conclusion. Overall grade: A+

The art: Seeing these characters, looking as I remember them from the show, is a delight. Having them act out in a new story is twice as fun. The second page showing Polymax VII in its new fatal form drew me in deeper to the emerging story, because this was a new sight in Trek storytelling. The look of concern on Kirk’s face in the third panel on the third page is exactly how he should be coming upon such a disturbing sight. It foreshadows his mood during his conversation with McCoy on Page 4. The visuals outside the ship on 4 and 5 look as though they could be from an actual episode. The large panel on 9 nicely shows some unusual action, with John Byrne creating a good sense of speed. I practically did a cartwheel seeing the person on 12, who is wearing a different outfit than what she is known for. The suits on 13 are outstanding. I really like seeing the crew wearing outfits for unique environments and these more than fit the bill. Their design makes them a perfect fit for this series. The budget busting scenes of 17 and 18 are outstanding, with 22 having the unthinkable shown. The character on 23 is fun, having elements of what one would expect for such an environment, yet having some qualities that are surprising. Pages 33 – 36 capture speed excellently, making the climax of this tale dramatic. I’m continually in awe of how Byrne’s photomontages create new adventures with these beloved characters. Overall grade: A+

The lettering: The Captain’s Log, dialogue, the glorious opening narration, book credits and story title, sounds, and yells are also created by John Byrne. I’m such a fan of this show, it’s impossible not to smile while looking upon the book’s credits and the story’s title. I’m always pleased when letterers employ different fonts for narration and dialogue and that’s what done in this book with the Captain’s Log. Though it’s not technically lettering, the dialogue balloon that contains the speech of the character encountered on 23 is a neat visual effect that reinforces the individual’s identity. Very slick. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The voyages of the original Star Trek crew continue to be thrilling and spectacular with John Byrne in the captain’s chair. A good mystery becomes a fight for survival with visuals that are epic. This is how Star Trek should be. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a print or digital copy go to

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    No Comment