Strange New Worlds’ “The Scorpius Run” Issue #2 in Review
The race gets off to a flying start, so to speak, in the second issue of this arc, but it’s not an easy one. The first leg is through an asteroid field.
The crew of the Enterprise is under pressure, with Una and Spock having been sent to other vessels in the Scorpius Run starship race. As the ships soar from the page with a splash, Ortegas flies like mad. Pike calls for more power from Engineering, where Pelia needs more assistance, and asks navigator Mitchell to find a shortcut. To aid her in doing so, Pike calls Sam Kirk to take the science station on the bridge. A couple of aliens have ended up aboard the ship and Aisla suggests sending them to Engineering to assist. Pike agrees, sending them to Pelia to do what they can.
Meanwhile, a ship of Orc-like Rovoks under Captain Corsok is being battered by asteroid hits. Una has been transferred aboard the ship and offers to help. Corsok, however, insultingly expresses suspicion that she’s plotting to sabotage his spacecraft. Spock has been put aboard an advanced Karogie ship, whose crew operate it by mental symbiosis, thinking and feeling its way around by using their headsets. The Karogie are far more open to letting Spock help, permitting him to try using their ship’s system, but they discover that he will need to find mental balance beforehand.
Back on the Enterprise, Sam Kirk arrives on the bridge and La’an suggests leading a rescue mission to get Spock and Una back. Pike disagrees, feeling that by placing them on other ships, Zephyx has accidentally given the Starfleet crew opportunity in the race, rather than vulnerability.
Pike tries to persuade Aisla to help take on Zephyx, since her lies got them into this. She refuses, saying that — the first time she participated in the race — her people, the Klessians, formed an armada to fight Zephyx, but when she got home it had all been destroyed, and that this is what Pike can expect to happen too.
Ortegas is enjoying flying the ship through dangers when it is not hit but bitten by an asteroid which is actually a spaceborne lifeform — Oscillans, which hibernate for centuries inside moons or asteroids until the lure of dilithium wakes them to feed. Now, they not only sink their giant fangs into the Enterprise but also target other ships competing in the race. Una, sick of Corsok and his crew’s uselessness, punches out their helmsman and takes the controls. Meanwhile, as one of the creatures attacks the Karogie ship, Spock’s instinct as part of the vessel is to sweep the beasts off with a blast of energy. The Karogie are impressed by his mental skills.
Ortegas has figured out a plan of aiming the Enterprise at a creature so the impact will knock the others off the hull. The Zorruvian ship of Captain Seryn has its warp core eaten into and sends a distress signal, to which Pike decides to respond. He has Mitchell obtain a transporter lock on Seryn’s crew, against Aisla’s advice. Before they can beam the survivors aboard, however, Seryn’s ship explodes.
Sam points out that the explosion wasn’t a structural failing… but a bomb. Pike confronts Zephyx, who says it was a punishment for breaking the “no ship shall help another” rule but obfuscates why he didn’t destroy the Enterprise, as Pike points out. Zephyx proclaims that they’ll have a chance for victory or the risk of punishment in the next leg of the race, to which all the remaining ships are on their way…
As with the first issue, there are assorted variant covers for this second issue. The ones focusing on Ortegas and the Enterprise – one by Megan Levens and one by Justin Mason – are the best, while JJ Lendl’s 1970s-style garish creation is by far the worst.
This issue gets straight into the action, with the race in full swing, which is a good move. To be fair, nothing that happens in this or the previous issue has an original bone in its body. It’s nonetheless exciting enough, and the dialogue and expressions of the regulars are certainly accurate to their TV counterparts. In fact, Sam Kirk is actually better — by virtue of being less annoying — than the TV version. He still has the caterpillar on his top lip, though.
For the most part, the new characters come across well enough, with Aisla being the most interesting, even if she might as well have “I’m up to something dodgy” tattooed on her forehead. Corsok, though, is particularly simplistic as a bully, which very much suits his and his crew’s design — a mix of Dungeons and Dragons Orc and Gamorrean guard from Return of the Jedi.
While the various starships have a lot of 70s-style feel to the inks and to the various protrusions and suchlike, the species aboard are more interesting detail-wise and realistic — yes, even Corsok and company — especially the Karogie. Spock’s experience of visions from his past is possibly the most interesting sequence in the issue altogether.
There are some good splash pages of ships in the race, of explosions, and of the Oscillans, while person-to-person physical action is also suitably dynamic for making everything zip along at a nice speed. The ship-eating Oscillans are the most interesting and original part of the issue, if one can really call them original.
Generally, originality is a trait rather lacking. That’s not as big a negative as it could be in another story, however, as the elements do blend well together, especially with all the good art and the likenesses. Overall, that’s what most sums up this issue — exciting and fun action, with great art.
David A McIntee is a writer and historian who has written for properties such as Doctor Who, Star Wars, Final Destination, and Stargate, as well as having written several adventures in the Star Trek franchise for Pocket Books. He has contributed many pieces to the magazines Star Trek Explorer (née Star Trek Magazine) and Star Trek Communicator, as well as having written nonfiction books about Star Trek: Voyager.