I’m beginning to think that the Enterprise can’t take shore leave without something going wrong. In John Byrne’s latest photoplay, “The Survival Equation,” a harmless stopover at Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet brings Captain Kirk into contact with Andrea, a woman he’s sure he’s met – and under worse circumstances. But, Andrea has no recollection of the event. Concerned that her presence could hint at a threat to the whole of the Federation, Kirk becomes intent on solving this mystery.
As with some of Byrne’s previous work in this series (and, indeed, many episodes of Star Trek), the first act is a slow burn. Although the crew of the Enterprise is clearly concerned over the origin of Andrea because of the danger it might pose, the threat is mostly hypothetical, even with the lengthy recap of the episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” in which Andrea first appeared. Byrne ties in some of the previous happenings in New Visions here, too, making this issue a sequel to both an episode and an earlier issue of the comic. Once the plot starts to move a bit more, Byrne handles things with his usual competence with the characters and lingo, though there aren’t many surprises, and “The Survival Equation” lacks the thoughtfulness of its televised predecessor.
Overall, it’s a by-the-numbers adventure for Kirk and crew, and entertaining for Star Trek enthusiasts while it lasts, but it won’t be that issue of New Visions that you tell your friends about. Unless your friends are huge fans of Scott Adsit of 30 Rock fame who makes a brief guest appearance mugging for Byrne’s camera. “The Survival Equation” is a story from which I just wanted a bit more thoughtfulness, and a bit less Kirk punching things.