Star Trek: City on the Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison Book Review

Normally I'm bored with comics. I love reading manga though. I was kind of turned off with the drawing style of this graphic novel as it looks like a comic strip dug from an old vault. But finishing reading it, I find the story... beautiful. It's quite simple but the end is deeply moving. Note: I would have been more sympathetic have the woman involved looks young and way more beautiful because I don't appreciate the beauty of the face used in this particular episode. Moreover, I have only watched the new Star Trek movie franchise.

Star Trek The City on the Edge of Forever Comics Review
Genre: Sequential Art, Graphic Novels
Author: Harlan Ellison, Scott Tipton, David Tipton, J.K. Woodward
Series: Star Trek
Expected Publication: February 3, 2015
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Edition: Netgalley ARC
ISBN: 1631402064

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For the first time ever, a visual presentation of the much-discussed, unrevised, unadulterated version of Harlan Ellison's award-winning Star Trek teleplay script, "The City on the Edge of Forever!" See the story as Mr. Ellison originally intended!


Flipping the pages, I met the Guardians of Forever. Wait, am I meeting the Time Lords? Oh wait, that was Doctor Who. So these Guardians guard the Time Vortex where the past and the future merge with the present. For a better terminology, the Vortex is a Time Portal.

If passage back is effected, the voyager may add a new factor to the past, and thus change time, alter everything that happened from that point to the present... all through the universe.

Well, you get it, same concept with that of Doctor Who. I hope you're familiar with it. If not, then same concept with that of X-Men: Days of the Future Past.

The graphic novel is done as if painted by diluted water colors, awashed in dark tones. Oh wait, the dark tones... that was only because Spock and Captain Kirk go back in time trying to revert back the changes when one member of their crew went bad, has gone back in time to 1930s and altered the future of the whole universe which is now the present. I hope that didn't get you confused.

I won't really spoil. I'll just tell you what happened in the beginning. Kirk has this crew-member-gone-bad (Beckwith) who illegally used the transporter to transport himself in an unfamiliar planet. When Kirk's group went after him, they realized that a "city" is well-placed in this otherwise supposedly dead planet. As it turns out, they met upon the Guardians of Forever and their City is locked in time while everything is in a constant change in the universe.

While Beckwith has gone bad, I think the situation wasn't that bad at all. After all, Kirk's crew have discovered a place which is practically a time machine that wasn't visited for "twice hundred thousand of years".

This what I call the 3rd time-travel paradigm concept is quite convenient. When Beckwith went through the vortex and into the 1930s (because Kirk's group met the Guardians before Beckwith did, and Kirk specifically requested for a view of the 1930s old Earth), Spock and Kirk must go after him to rectify the effects after they found out that the remaining crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise no longer existed. So here are some rules:
  • If you want to revert back to the original course of the universe, you can request the Guardians of Forever to lead you to the one causing the changes (let's call him transgressor) but you can only go after this person before or after some time in the time period he went to and not at the exact moment.
  • Since you are traveling in the same line in time as the transgressor, you will always arrive at the inevitable e.g. eventually you will meet the same people.
  • Saving the life of someone who's supposed to die COULD alter the course of events in the ENTIRE universe.
  • If you're a traveler and you kill someone (have you not been there, this person would have lived), the incident could alter the events in the universe UNLESS this incident is NEGLIGIBLE to the external flow of the great river of time (i.e. death does not count).
  • After rectifying the flow of time, you will be transported back to the Time Vortex entrance.
  • If you go through the Vortex again just after you've come out from it, you will be transported to a different time period as the Vortex cannot be set for the same exact time twice.

While the drawings look old, so much details are put on the faces in close ups. I love the details but not the faces. I'm fine with using actor Nimoy's face for Spock but not the old actor for Captain Kirk... he just looks old. But he can be charming sometimes. But the thing is, I like the new cast's faces better (*coughs* Chris Pine). Case in point: female actresses today have more pleasant faces than that of the old cast. Specifically for this graphic novel, the relevant female character looks too old for my taste for me to find her appealing. So anyway, the washout style of the pages was a way to make the scenes look vintage.

What have I learned in this graphic novel? I'll never love the 30s (Great Depression + Great Prohibition: of alcohol + Fear for the Nazis).


I STRONGLY PROHIBIT YOU TO JUMP TO THE LAST 3 PAGES OF THE NOVEL. Spock has mentioned many a learning that I deeply appreciate. You will only come to understanding his words if you've read the novel chronologically in its entirety.

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