Star Trek: Flesh and Stone (Comics Review)

Something I’ve remarked on before is that IDW Publishing seems to be doing a pretty good job with its Star Trek line of comics. They publish the books on a bi-monthly schedule, which is pretty impressive, and to go with that they also publish occasional specials and one-shots that expand on one area or the other of the entire franchise. I’ve had some good fun reading some of the recent comics, especially the Abramsverse line of Star Trek: Ongoing set in the new timeline from the rebooted film franchise, and am looking to delve further into the whole thing.

IDW’s latest Star Trek special, Flesh and Stone, is basically fan-service to every fan out there who loves some of the franchise’ most important leading heroes, the doctors of Starfleet Medical. About to gather for an important medical conference on Federation Starbase near the Tholian border, the doctors find themselves in a medical emergency and have to play medical detectives to find out the root cause and cure for the sickness that has claimed all the personnel at the Starbase. The Tiptons tell a wonderful and simplistic tale here as the Sharp Brothers do a damn good job with the artwork. More specials like this are most welcome.

Star Trek - Flesh and Stone 001

Right from the start, the Star Trek television shows have all had a very set cast. A Captain, a Doctor, an Executive Officer, a Chief Engineer, a Science Officer, a Comms Officer, and so on. The roles have varied a bit from show to show, but the structure has always been the same. You might remember the Kirks and Spocks and Datas and Picards and Rikers and Janeways and Nerys’ and T’Pol’s and Uhuras more, but you can’t ever forget the doctors of the show, especially The Doctor from Voyager, a simple Emergency Medical Hologram who became the ship’s chief medical officer after the death of the entire ship’s entire medical crew and eventually gained a life and sentience and identity of his own. Dr. McCoy from The Original Series, Beverly Crusher and Katherine Pulaski from The Next Generation, Julian Bashir from Deep Space Nine, The Doctor from Voyager, Phlox from Enterprise, these characters have shaped and developed their respective shows in equal measure to any of the other big names and they set precedents.

Star Trek: Flesh And Stone brings all of these characters together for a really fun outing that entertains and wows all at the same time. Sure, given that there are six main characters in a regular 22-page comic, it means that not all characters get equal time, but it is clear that the Tiptons have done their best to create an equal opportunity environment. I love that they brought together all these heavy-weights together, and so soon after the events of The Fall novel series in which Julian Bashir suffered some great personal setbacks while making one of the biggest sacrifices in his life. Some of the events of that novel series are reflected here, in minutiae and the two stories don’t have anything to do with each other either, but it is nice to see some kind of a subtle synergy like this.

As a fan of McCoy, Phlox, Crusher and The Doctor, this issue offers up a lot for me, and I’m genuinely happy that it all turned out so well in the end. The big mystery of the virus allows for some great cameos in this issue, and that is just too awesome. The medical personnel of Star Trek don’t always get the same kind of attention as the other more highly visible characters, so it is nice to see them get a spotlight like this. Hopefully this can open up the way for some more specials like this.

The pencils in this issue are done by the Sharp Brothers, with colours by Andrew Elder, letters by Neil Uyetake and the colours on the cover by John Rauch. The artwork in this issue tends towards the familiar and the simplistic, but the execution is still superb. And the Sharp Brothers realize the television characters really well, though there can be the occasional moment where the character-work doesn’t match up. But that’s fine, really. And the colours by Andrew Elder are superb all the way through. In true Star Trek fashion, the overall feeling is very upbeat, so that’s good.

Bring on more!

Rating: 9/10


Posted on July 19, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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