Friday, June 25, 2010

Comics Review : Star Trek Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor Issue 3

The covers: It can't be a quiet threat inside when the cover looks like this. Cover A is actually Page 1 for the story, and this cover looks as though it could be titled Sgt. McCoy and his Howling Medics: the doc, Duncan, and Theela are running for their lives as a monster of a tank is firing at an unseen foe. It's not the sort of setting I picture McCoy in, but that's this issue. Complementing the dynamic pencils of John Byrne is the coloring of Lovern Kindzierski, whose reds and oranges make it come alive. The same team do Cover B, which continues the painfully bad doctor puns. Having these jokes said in the Trekverse only make them funnier. Cover R(etailer) I(ncentive) is the same as the B just without Kindzierski's contributions: it's N(aked) B(yrne), and it, too, is good. I have to give a slight edge to Cover A simply because it's not your typical Trek moment. Overall grades: Cover A A+ and B and RI A.

The story:
"Medics" references several previous Byrne Trek series but you don't need to be familiar with any of them to enjoy or understand this issue. It's a dramatic opening as McCoy and Theela have been separated from Duncan on an alien world due to the ongoing war. The pair are quickly captured by one side (Theela in the most violent of ways) and taken in for questioning. What follows is a four page flashback involving why our heroes are in this situation...and then I'm going to have to be very vague so as not to spoil the rest of the issue. Beginning on Page 10 something is revealed, someone returns, a great (!!!) villain emerges, a ship and its crew arrive, and we're left with a minor (sweet and irritating) cliffhanger. And now some specific comments in the most general of words: I loved the fake destruction on Page 7, only to have it turn real on Page 9 (and BOO! to you Mr. Byrne! I liked that thing!); I half expected the unconscious person on Page 11 to wake up throwing a punch; my jaw dropped at the top of Page 15--You can't do that to that person!; the rationale for the issue's conflict was fine, though the villains' exit was too quick; all of Page 19--Thankyou!Thankyou!Thankyou!; That's too easy an out in panel 5, Page 20; panel four, Page 21--Boo! Again! You can't do this!; and the last panel...? There's too many possibilities! A great issue, again. It's always fun to see Trek go where it hasn't, and I haven't seen a major ground battle like this since Cestus III. Byrne, the writer, is three for three with this series. Overall grade: A+

The art:
Little know fact: John Byrne is just as good an artist as he is a writer. Oh, you did? Well, DUH! His story gives him ample opportunities for many different settings and emotions. Page 2 is your lesson for textbook layout: six panels that begin with a long establishment shot of the setting; panel two is an emotional circular close-up of the "new" character (that reminded me of Barks and Rosa); panels three, four, and five are horizontals (with the first two arrow shaped) that wrench up the emotion sequentially; and that last panel is the game changer, as well as the teaser to keep the reader motivated to continue. Brilliant! I can't get too specific about my likes (without revealing story), but all of Page 7 is great; Page 14, panel four is beautiful; Page 18, panel four is graphic!; all of Page 19, same comments as I stated under story. It's John Byrne, he knows how to draw...really, really well. Overall grade: A+

The colors:
Because of the many places this story goes, Lovern Kindzierski gets a lot to do. You know how Byrne is good at his job? So's Kindzierski! When something violent occurs it's sharp reds, oranges, and yellows. In caves things get darker, but not unrecognizable. On ships things are crisp and clean. Lovern is good! Overall grade: A+

The letters:
Neil Uyetake continues his trek on this series. Nothing but dialogue and two sound effects (one repeated). So, if you felt overwhelmed in the previous issues, you won't this time. Overall grade: A+

A comment apart:
I don't know if it was Byrne or Kindzierski, but I really liked the way flashbacks were shown in this issue. When it's McCoy's tale, it's like a typical "clean" panel. When it's the next individual, it's "dotty" like comics were colored in the 1960s. And the final flashback is from an alien, whose story is given a "washed brush" effect. I thought that was pretty cool how each individual tale was given their own individual effect. Nifty!

The final line:
I loved this comic because it's Trek with an unlimited budget, and we're continuing to see sights the shows and movies didn't/couldn't provide. I'm hating this issue for an event on Page 9 and a declaration on Page 21, but that's only because I'm already fond of these "things." After only three issues, Damn you Byrne for making me care! Overall grade: A+