Thursday, 5 January 2012

Star Trek The Manga Volume Three - Uchu

My sister and I decided to take a couple of buses to the library the other day. We both sat in the bus, looking like weirdos with motor difficulties who just crawled out from a hermit's lair. For once, because I got bored, I actually looked up to see who else was on the bus - people quickly looked away. I think they were watching us, but that's okay because we rock. (Get it? Rock?)

After making our way downtown and browsing the non-fiction floor for books on Latin and Arthur Rimbaud, we went downstairs to look at the graphic novel section. I was really only looking for Daniel Clowes' "Like a Velvet Glove Cast In Iron", but instead I found a Star Trek manga:

I have never really been into manga or anime, but I felt I had to get this one because - well, because it is Star Trek, and Star Trek usually makes everything amazing. Upon further investigation on the way home, I realized that the first story  (Art of War) was written by Wil Wheaton, and the second story (Bandi) was written by David Gerrold (writer of the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles").

The story written by David Gerrold was by far the strangest in the book. It wouldn't be too strange as a story on it's own, but the artwork (done by Don Hudson) makes it bizarre. The guest character freaks me out.

It all begins with Chekov complaining about a teddy bear (he would say it was Russian) who stole his sandwich.

He really cared about that sandwich guys, it was his lunch.

Thanks to Chekov, we will never forget the important fact that this "Russian teddy bear" stole his sandwich. That sandwich was his lunch. And it stole his sandwich, which was his lunch.

It turns out that Lieutenant Altman brought the creature on board because he was their mascot, and he didn't want to leave it behind. After an examination of the stowaway, they find that it has a highly developed empathic ability, and is able to radiate a field of intense emotions as a defense among predators.

The crew begins to express intense mood swings, without knowing the reason. Eventually, even Spock is effected emotionally. Suddenly, on the next page, this happens:

This panel is probably the coolest panel in the entire book - Kirk is being attacked by a Gorn, Mugato, and Klingons. We find out later that this is a nightmare being projected upon Kirk by the creature. He wakes up, sees the creature at his feet, and makes his best "Khaaan" face:

The creature seems to be absolutely terrified of Kirk. When Kirk comes near, he projects feelings of anger (and who knows what else) onto the crew members guarding him. They turn their weapons towards Kirk. They begin to fire, forcing Kirk, Spock, and McCoy to flee and climb through the ceiling.

Because the "Bandi-Bear" can also feel emotions felt by others, the only way to get close to it is for Kirk to think about it pleasantly, projecting feelings of contentment and safety. He finds that the only way he can feel like he cares is to think of his "family" aboard the Enterprise. The only people I recognize in his thoughts are McCoy, Spock and Uhura.

He begins to feel nostalgic, and even admits that it was funny when the tribbles wouldn't stop falling on him in the episode. He realizes that as the Captain of the Enterprise, it is his job to create happiness. (Click images to enlarge)

And then this happens:

Kirk and the creature become "madly in love" and Kirk - overcome with sentimentality, begins to tell Spock how much he cares about him. Spock puts a stop Kirk's gushing by administering a nerve pinch to the Bandi.

The story ends with the Bandi being held in the transporter beam, where it would remain until the bio-station was ready to receive him. Spock remains embarrassed by what Kirk has said, and will not repeat it when Kirk does not remember.

End story.

Although this is supposed to be a manga, it should be read left to right.

That Bandi-Bear still creeps me out.

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