One of the many things that the original Star Trek gave to television was the term “bottle episode,” after the idea of a ship in a bottle to describe those episodes that took place entirely on the Enterprise. These episodes were often cost-cutting measures; the sets were already built, they often involved few, if any, guest cast, and so they could be produced cheaply and quickly relative to episodes that required elaborate sets, location shooting, or several guest stars. Though comics do not normally have to worry about such things, one could argue that is part of the peculiar charm of John Byrne’s New Visions, since he has to rely on the photo materials he has to work with.
Thus, New Visions #10: Mister Chekov is one of Byrne’s bottle episodes. The Enterprise is caught in the midst of the creation of a new universe, wreaking havoc on the ship’s systems and endangering not just the crew, but the entirety of existence as they know it. More importantly, though, this is essentially a Chekov origin story. He’s been on the ship for barely a week, and he’s wearing operations red, rather than the command gold he wears in episodes of the series, once he appears unannounced during the show’s second season to add a little bit of youth to the primary cast. The story alternates between Kirk commanding from the bridge and Chekov experiencing the crisis from the perspective of a low-level engineering officer, run ragged by Scotty in a desperate attempt to save the ship.
New Visions #10 thus plays to the strengths of the series and Byrne as a Star Trek scribe, with characters who sound true to their television incarnations and plots that could easily be lifted straight from an unproduced script. The pages ooze Star Trek authenticity with a liberal dash of technobabble for taste. This glimpse into Chekov’s early days on the Enterprise may, in the end, feel a little disposable, but there’s no doubt that it is Star Trek through and through.