Homage to Vulcan - in Tokypop's second manga collection.
With the wonder of 20:20 retconning hindsight, Tokyopop's newest manga collection does a marvellous homage to all things Vulcan in "Amok Time" (TOS), "Yesteryear (TAS), "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", the fourth season of "Star Trek: Enterprise", and the CGI-rejigged TOS episodes currently being made for the syndication market (and ultimately HD DVD), in their story, "Forging Alliances" by Paul Benjamin (art by Steven Cummings). The creators have managed to slip in visual and/or text references to Vulcan's Forge, the city of ShiKahr, the planetoid T'Kuht, the sites of several Spock rituals (perhaps all three of Koon-ut-kali-fee, Kolinahr and Fal Tor Pan?)... and more!
When le-matyas attack!
This story is more fun than a pack of le-matyas. And we get them, too.
Less exciting was the Diane Duane story, "Scaean Gate" (art by Don Hudson & Steve Buccellato). I guess I set myself up for disappointment, hoping for some participation by Harb Tanzer*, Naraht the horta or Lia Burke, but Ms Duane avoided any connections to her previous Star Trek work. The story premise was reminiscent of "Elaan of Troyius", in that a member of one planet's royal family was becoming monarch of a tenuously friendly rival planet. Complicating matters are a cute reptilian pet and lots of space battles. The art was nice and bold on this one, and a more enjoyable read because of that. At the same time, was it manga style? Not really. (And the queen's high-heeled pumps looked really out of place - anywhere in space!)
I'm in two minds about Christine Boylan's "Communications Breakdown" (art by Bettina Kurkoski). It's set post-"The Changeling", with Uhura gradually regaining her skills from the memory wipe performed by Nomad in that episode. Great premise (I was planning on using that story point myself once), and an interesting guest alien, but a few things just didn't gel, particularly the wacky little androgynous wild-haired replacement officer, Ensign Hodge, who looks like s/he fell out of an anime one day. Interestingly, the story mentions Cassandra of Earth mythology, who was also the inspiration for an unused "Star Trek: Phase II" teleplay.
Overall, Tokyopop's "Kakan ni Shinkou" is a worthy follow up to Shinsei Shinsei.
My complaint overall with the ST mangas so far: if they are going to be just like DC, Marvel or IDW ST comics, then I'd really prefer them in full colour. A few of the stories in this issue seemed to have one or two guest characters with anime-styled wild hair, but everyone else looking like they stepped out of a DC Comic. Reading the ST mangas on a train, at night, with the flu, was causing me terrible eyestrain, too. I much prefer "normal" sized comic pages for my Star Trek stories. For a b/w ST experience, I much prefer going back to the old "LA Times" post-TMP comic strips!
* An obvious person to tour Diane Duane's alien queen around was Harb Tanzer, I suppose, but then he'd be doing McCoy out of a main role, and most ST fans would want to read about McCoy over the lesser known Chief of Recreation.