Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Oleg Chudakov
Colors: DC Alonso
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Publisher: IDW Comics
Release Date: May 17th, 2023
Set right after 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (you know, the one where Kirk and crew are wearing those disco-style white and grey outfits), Star Trek: Echoes #1 has the Enterprise encountering a ship that came through a spatial anomaly and the surprising warrior that’s aboard it. It’s a slam-bang action tale set in a time period of Trek that’s rarely been explored.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Star Trek: Echoes #1 Review.
I have to admit, when I saw “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” at the ripe old age of 10 years old, I was disappointed by it. The film seemed sterile and frosty. There was none of the warmth and good-natured bickering between Spock and Mccoy. The new characters added (Decker and Ilya) were as bland as cold potato soup. There were no great space battles or one of Kirk’s miraculous last minute saves (that would come in the next film, the spectacular “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan”). The film was more akin to “2001: A Space Odyssey” than to any of the original Trek episodes. Over the years, I’ve come to like the film a bit more, but it’s still near the bottom of my list of Star Trek films.
Now we get Star Trek: Echoes #1 which is set just days after the events of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, and thankfully it’s a lot better than that film. It’s action-packed, gives us a few surprises and sets up a potential face-off with one of the Federation’s deadliest enemies. We even get to see Kirk at odds with the military brass again. Kirk will always prefer commanding the Enterprise and exploring the unknown instead of doing bureaucratic work as an Admiral, and when a mysterious ship appears out of a spatial anomaly, Kirk takes the Enterprise in to investigate it, bringing down the wrath of one of the Federation High Command, who accuses him of using this as an excuse to hold on to commanding the Enterprise longer. One of the things I always liked about Kirk was that he was never a “yes man”, he bristles at the higher ranks and being chained to a desk, so it’s nice to see that even in this era, he still hasn’t lost that urge to go against authority.
I’m not going to give away the surprise occupant of the mysterious spacecraft that comes out of the spatial anomaly. Suffice it to say they bring big trouble with them. We get some great fight scenes as the visitor fiercely resists being thrown in the brig by Kirk and the crew, resulting in a flurry of martial arts combat where even Spock gets involved. My favorite Trek stories are those that feel like they’re a lost episode of Trek. This tale fits the bill. All the Enterprise crew’s personalities are on point and this really does feel like an old episode of Trek that never aired. Doctor McCoy is his usual sardonic self, throwing out a few great quips during the course of the story, Uhura is as brave and strong-willed as ever, and Scotty proudly whips up a solution to a big dilemma the ship gets into.
Other than the identity of the visitor, there are no big mysteries here like classic Trek episodes “The Naked Time” or “The Immunity Syndrome”, where there’s a problem that has to be figured out or contained. Once the visitor’s identity is revealed, the book becomes a cat and mouse chase similar to classic episodes like “Balance of Terror” or “Journey to Babel” (when the Enterprise was attacked by a kamikaze-style Orion ship). I think this is where Kirk really shines, when he’s on the hunt or in combat. Sure, cosmic anomalies and time travel stories are fun, but there’s nothing like watching Kirk take the Enterprise into battle, and the issue ends on a cliffhanger setting up what could be a huge battle between the Enterprise and one of the Federation’s greatest enemies. Fire photon torpedoes!
Oleg Chudakov’s art on Star Trek: Echoes #1 captures each of the characters demeanor and features. His Doctor McCoy is 100% DeForest Kelley and his Spock is one of the best versions of Spock I’ve ever seen.
The action scenes flow and the Enterprise appears both massive and sleek throughout the book.
Star Trek: Echoes #1 is a fast-paced kickoff to the miniseries, with some great action and great moments for the characters. We get to see Kirk come under fire from the upper brass again and the issue ends on a riveting cliffhanger that sets up a potentially very bad dilemma for the Enterprise next issue.