The first issue, The Gorn by Scott and David Tipton with art by David Messina, give the popular but largely unexplored species some time in the spotlight. The story is not really hugely ambitious or original, but it's fun and an enjoyable read (and not every story has to be a Big event after-all).
The story features a shuttle from the USS Reliant returning to the ship after rendering medical aid to an outpost, the shuttle crashes (as they do), onto a Gorn training world. The Starfleet crew soon realise this and assume they're in for the worse. However the Gorn, keen to prove their honour and balance the books in the wake of Cestus III (fifteen years earlier) decide to render medical aid. Fearing attack the Starfleet team defend themselves and almost get the attack form the Gorn they feared. Thankfully everything gets straightened out in the end in time for a parting joke from the Gorn.
A nice moral tale of misconceptions. The artwork is, to any readers of the Blood Will Tell miniseries, of the familiar
The Vulcan issue written by James Patrick from a story idea from Rick Remender and with art by Josep Maria Beroy, is in my view less successful. The story begin told, in the Pike era, is of a larger scale than the Gorn issue and I think this part works well. However the issue features two plot threads, one of a warring planet, the other highlighting xenophobia in the
Much of the crew are shown to react badly to Spock's Vulcaness, even Pike, who plays the voice of reason to the firey Jose Tyler, is shown to be somewhat accepting of the crew's attitude - accepting an alien joining the crew is bound to increase tensions. Well personally this just doesn't work for me; the Vulcans have had good (if sometimes rocky) relations with Humans for two centuries by this time, they are hardly some shocking unknown. And if anyone in the Trekverse should be accepting of other cultures it’s a Starfleet crew, pushing forward the beliefs of the Federation into the galaxy. To have a Starfleet crew be so xenophobic seems entirely out of character to me.
The secondary plot also revolves around the story's resident Vulcan, in this case his Vulcaness acting as inspiration for violent world featured in the story to bring about peace and order. This part of the story works very well, and in the structure of the story balances the anti-Vulcan sentiments somewhat.
The artwork for this issue I feel is some of the least satisfying in a Trek comics from IDW so far. The book opens with a beautiful space shot but quickly goes down hill, the characters have an almost caricature appearance which is really off-putting. The backgrounds are more mixed, some work very well, others are just garish and annoying. The pink and green used throughout the issue is quite unpleasant, and an interesting contrast to the richer deeper green and red used in the Gorn issue which worked very well indeed.
The good points of this issue: a Pike era story, and an interesting and clever story with the guest aliens. Is this enough to balance the out-of-character xenophobia and unattractive artwork? I’m not sure, certainly far short of Marvel’s Pike-era stories in the Early Voyages series.
The Gorn issue started this series well, the Vulcan one is a less satisfactory continuation but not all bad. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series and certainly think the multiple creative teams approach is a good way to go for IDW. The one story per issue format has worked far more successfully in this series than The Space Between or even the ever improving Year Four minseries. And while not every issue will work for everyone one at least in this case we aren’t stuck with one writer or artist for six issues.The series continues with the Andorians in fortnight or so.