Saturday, November 5, 2011

Review: Saavik's Story Chapter Two

To read my review of Part One, click here.

Saavik's Story continues in issue #8 from November 1984 in the DC Comics Star Trek series.  It was written by Mike W. Barr with art by Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran.  The colourist was Michele Wolfman.
The Enterprise is taking damage from Saavik's phaser fire.  With Scotty's assistance, Kirk manages to make the Enterprise look like it has been severely damaged and is unable to respond.  Having dealt with the potential threat, Saavik moves off into the barrier that surrounds our galaxy.  The Enterprise is able to follow her radiation trail.
Meanwhile, a Romulan vessel is communicating with a Romulan science station which seems to be on a planetoid either in or near to the barrier.  The commander of the ship is Tal (Subcommander Tal was the name of Jack Donner's Romulan character in "The Enterprise Incident".  Presumably this is the same character). Xon has infiltrated the Romulan station posing as a centurion.
It seems the Romulans are conducting genetic experiments and they have created a small group of Romulan "Augments".  A scientist called Lar is using the energy from the barrier to infuse these specimens with some kind of super powers.  One of the Augments is able to sense Saavik's vessel landing nearby and Centurion Xon is sent to investigate.
Xon is shocked to find that it is a Vulcan vessel and that Saavik, his betrothed, is aboard!  The couple kiss passionately and the contact seems to be enough to relieve Saavik's Plak Tow.  The couple plan to take Saavik's ship and warn the Federation about the new Romulan threat but they are stopped by a group of armed Romulan soldiers.  Evidently, Lar has suspected that Xon is a spy and had him followed.
Saavik is able to hide from the soldiers and she uses her communicator to contact the Enterprise in hopes that she left survivors aboard.  Of course, the crew is fine.  They respond to Saavik and beam her aboard.  Sensors indicate that Xon is in the science facility and a great deal of power is being focused on a torture device that Lar hopes will persuade Xon to reveal his secrets.
The Enterprise fires on the station, destroying the systems used to collect energy from the barrier.  Xon is transported to the Enterprise and Commander Tal orders pursuit of the Starfleet vessel.  The Enterprise cannot be allowed to warn the Federation of the Romulan plan.  Kirk and Scotty are able to block the Romulan vessel's sensors.  They can follow the Enterprise only by following its "Identification Beam."  Kirk heads toward the barrier, and the Romulan vessel is so close behind that when Kirk suddenly changes the Enterprise's course, the Romulans cannot stop themselves from entering the barrier at full speed.
Their navigational equipment destroyed, the Romulans will remain stuck in the barrier until they are able to find a way out or they are destroyed.  Dr. McCoy is able to heal Xon's wounds.  Xon and Saavik seem to be quite content with one another and Xon will be able to brief the Federation on the intelligence he gathered.  Finally, the Enterprise heads to rendezvous with the Grissom so David and Saavik can begin to study the Genesis Planet.
Next would come the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

I suppose this is a satisfying conclusion to the story begun in the previous issue but the structure and setting are so different that it really feels like a separate entity rather than a continuation.

To me, the most interesting part of this story is the inclusion of the Romulans.  At this point we haven't seen the Romulans since the original series episode "The Enterprise Incident".  I found it interesting to see how the artists evolved the look of the Romulans.  The soldiers wear helmets and armour that is reminiscent of the original series costumes but definitely has a 1980s flavour. The costumes remind me of something one might see in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Also, the Romulan scientist Lar wears a very Vulcan-looking robe complete with script that is very similar to the Vulcan symbols rata, tafar and tapan. This suggests a much closer link between Vulcan and Romulan cousins than we have previously seen.  I like the idea that some Romulans have respect for their origins even if they differ from Vulcans in philosophy and demeanor.

I'd say this is non-essential reading for most Vulcanologists but it can be diverting for a short while.

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