The Mirror Universe saga concludes with Issue #15, “The Beginning Of The End.” At least, I think it does, because that title feels a little leading compared to the events that take place over the course of the book.
(I’m blogging each and every issue of the DC Comics Star Trek run that debuted in 1984. Why would anyone want to do that? I explain all here in an introduction to this project that includes very first post in this series.)
Things kick off with a return to the finger-pointing court of the Terran Empire, where Captain Blaine discovers the price for his arrogance is death—or at least, it is until the sentence is commuted into sending out on yet another hunt for Captain Kirk and his crew of Federation friends and rebel supporters.
We then cut quickly to the Excelsior, where Kirk et al finally reveal their plan to take down the Empire for good. This gives us another “how big is the Excelsior?” moment as it dwarfs pretty much every ship in its immediate vicinity.
The scheme involves partnering with the Klingons and the Romulans at the same time, which of course requires the most awkward-looking handshake every devised to seal the deal.
With that alliance out of the way, the scene shifts to Sickbay, where McCoy has prepped each of the Enterprise’s Mirror counterparts for stasis.
Writer Mike W. Barr has the good doctor belabor over sedatives being “tricky things,” but not sure that we all got it, the same message is repeated again nearly verbatim on the next page. At that point McCoy is saying it not to the O.G. Saavik, but the Mirror version, who has of course awakened from her chemical nap and replaced her double with the intention of sabotaging whatever the Federation folks are up to.
Betrayal is also on the menu between the Romulans and Klingons, who agree to take down Kirk at the first opportunity. Barr hammers home that neither of these cultures can be trusted whatsoever by letting us in on their most traitorous thoughts towards each other throughout even as their interests briefly align. Because why give depth to alien characters when you can just lean on stereotypes instead?
But back to the plan, which revolves around a nullifying field projected by an array of Excelsior shuttles that will render the Terran Empire’s fleet helpless once it engages. Good Spock and Once-Evil-But-Now-Also-Good Spock forget that they are in the 22nd century and put together a poster presentation of the insulating device that will protect the Klingon and Romulan ships from the effects of the rays. It’s so big, they both have to carry it together. They are so proud, and it’s very cute.
I was hoping for some more cool starship designs in both the Klingon and Romulan flotillas, but it’s more of the same vessels being drawn over and over. That’s a let-down compared to past entries in the series, but perhaps speaks to a time crunch being faced by Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran in putting together this issue.
We get more of the same when the Terran Empire shows up with a repeating mix of Miranda-class and Constitution-class ships to take on Kirk’s armada.
At least we get this period-correct “ISS Nixon” joke as a consolation prize.
The disabling field works perfectly, and Blaine disregards the warning from the leader of his original attack and leads a second wave directly into Kirk’s clutches. Only as it turns out, he’s got a secret weapon.
Yes, that’s another Excelsior. No, I don’t know what’s wrong with its saucer section, which seems to be rearing up like a cobra to spit venom in the face of its Federation foe. Maybe because it’s evil? Probably.
This poses a problem for Kirk because in both universes, the Excelsior uses a technology that’s immune to the effects of his master plan. But don’t worry: Scotty is way, way ahead of everyone, and the Evil Excelsior breaks down like a bucket of bolts.
Wrapping things up we have Evil Saavik sabotaging the ship, before getting phasered by Evil Kirk after she wakes him up from stasis. Evil Kirk is then recaptured by Good Saavik who also (?) woke up. The surviving members of Team Terran is put on a shuttle and set adrift into the cosmos, where they are promptly vaporized by one of their own so they can claim the bounty on their heads.
Kirk counters the inevitable betrayal of the Klingons and Romulans by secretly detonating the device that protected them from the debilitating rays. He then gives the Once-Evil-But-Now-Also-Good Excelsior to David, who claims that crews from the Terran fleet are already lining up to serve his rebel forces. Goodbyes are said and the Excelsior transwarps back to its own reality.
I can’t say I’m upset that we’re leaving this particular plot arc behind, as I feel like it ran out of steam with this issue. The build-up was good, but the payoff was simply more betrayal, deus ex machina, and off-panel shenanigans steering events in favor of our Starfleet friends. David, who seemed like an intriguing leader when we first met him, turns out to be little more than an observer over the course of this chapter.
Presumably, the crew is heading back to face the music after stealing both the Enterprise and the Excelsior. Looming over all of these plot lines are the events of Star Trek IV, which presumably force another reset in the same way as The Search For Spock. I’m curious to see how long Barr and the powers that be can stave off that reckoning.
Best Retro Ads From This Issue
Star Trek #15 has some of the best classified ads to date in the series. Let’s start off with this one, which asks a question humanity is still trying to answer.
We then move on to the most bizarre concept for a book I’ve ever seen.
45,000 words by sound? If you can say it, you can look it up? Who is this book for? And why does the example have no vowels? If anyone’s ever come across a volume like this, or has any idea who the target audience is, I’d love to hear about it.
Finally, let’s finish with rattlesnake eggs.