COMIC BOOK REVIEW: STAR TREK: CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER / AUTHOR: HARLAN ELLISON, SCOTT TIPTON, DAVID TIPTON / ARTIST: J.K. WOODWARD / PUBLISHER: IDW / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 3RD
The City on the Edge of Forever is a highly-regarded and award-winning episode of the original Star Trek series. Harlan Ellison’s script went through multiple drafts before making it to production, and the actual episode is much smaller and less involved than Ellison’s vision. Thankfully, due to the wonders of comic books, we can see what the more involved version of the story would look like.
The original plot is a bit different from the episode you may be familiar with. Ellison’s script introduced the character of Beckwith, a no-good criminal and drug dealer who has somehow managed to become Starfleet crew. His mercenary and dark behaviour results in him getting chased by the authorities and he escapes to the surface of the planet the Enterprise currently orbits. This world is host to the City on the Edge of Forever of the story’s title, and a nexus of all time and space. Kirk and company arrive in hot pursuit and find themselves travelling to the 1930s in order prevent catastrophic disruption of the timeline caused by Beckwith’s actions.
This story isn’t that different from the tale that ended up on screen, though this variant does seem to suit the sequential art format a bit better. After all, comic books aren’t hampered by budgets or the limited acting talents of the cast. There are also elements that don’t quite feel like Star Trek, mostly related to Spock one way or the other, and you can see why they never made the final cut.
Hardcore Trek fans probably know the backstory to The City on the Edge of Forever inside and out by now, and this is a novel and enjoyable take on it all.
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