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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Star Trek: After Darkness (Part 1) "After Darkness" Part 1
Star Trek #21
Written by: Mike Johnson
Story Consultant: Robert Orci
Artist: Erfan Fajar
Cover by: Tim Bradstreet
May 2013


As the Enterprise is about to embark on its five-year mission, Spock undergoes pon farr.


Read the story summary at Memory Beta


Didja Notice?


The Klingon Empire declares Kirk their prime Federation enemy after his incursion into Klingon space in Star Trek Into Darkness. This may be a nod to the fourth Star Trek movie of the original timeline, The Voyage Home, which includes a scene of the Klingon ambassador to the Federation demanding the extradition of Admiral Kirk for crimes against the Klingon people.


Kirk tells the imprisoned Captain April that John Harrison is no longer a problem. Harrison, of course, was a cover identity for Khan used by Section 31 before and during the events of Star Trek Into Darkness.


On page 8, Kirk seems to imply that he wrote the classic "Space. The final frontier..." lines so familiar to Star Trek fans. But near the end of Star Trek Into Darkness, during Kirk's speech at the memorial, he seems to state it is part of the captain's oath instead.


On page 9, Dr. McCoy is worried about possible side-effects of whatever Kirk's heart is pumping through his arteries. This is a reference to the transfusion of Khan's blood Kirk received to bring him back to life near the end of Star Trek Into Darkness. McCoy tells him to let him know the second he starts to feel...different.


On pages 10-11, Spock is seen to be going through the plak tow, the blood fever that is part of pon farr, the peak of the Vulcan mating cycle, occurring in adults about every seven years. The concept was introduced in the original series episode "Amok Time".


Spock is seen smashing his Vulcan harp during his fit of plak tow on page 10.


On page 16, Scotty remarks that he is lower down the chain of command than is customary for a chief engineer due to his checkered history with Starfleet bigwigs. But Kirk gives him the conn anyway while he beams down to New Vulcan with the landing party. Scotty is likely referring to the incident with Admiral Archer's beagle (as first mentioned in "The Vengeance of Nero") and, possibly, his refusal to sign for the photon torpedoes placed aboard Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness (though it might be argued he was proven correct in the latter instance).


Also on page 16, Lt. Carol Marcus requests permission to accompany the landing party, as she would like to discuss the Helios device developed by Vulcan scientists. The Helios device was part of the plot of "Gorn, But Not Forgotten" (as it is titled in the PopApostle study, more properly known as the 2013 Star Trek video game), capable of capturing energy from a sun and using that energy to aid in terraforming a planet (in this case, New Vulcan). This is somewhat similar to the Genesis Device, seen in the original timeline in The Wrath of Khan, which was designed by a scientific team headed by Dr. Carol Marcus.


Kirk mentions the Enterprise's adventure in "Gorn, But Not Forgotten" again on page 17. And McCoy gripes about his bringing up bad memories with the Gorn again, a reference to McCoy's remark in that aforementioned story where he stated he'd assisted in the birth of a baby Gorn.


This issue introduces the Orion officer Lt. Kai. He goes on to appear in later issues. In "Reunion" Part 1, he is revealed to be the brother of Lt. Gaila.


On page 20, Spock's betrothed is introduced, identified as T'Pring in "After Darkness" Part 2. T'Pring was also his betrothed in the original timeline in "Amok Time", though she looks different here.


Confronting the Section 31 emissaries at the end of the issue, the Romulan senator remarks that his planet was nearly obliterated the last time their kind was here. This is a reference to events in "Vulcan's Vengeance" Part 2. 


Unanswered Questions


Why is T'Pring free and not psychotic? She was last seen in the later-written-but-earlier-in-continuity novel More Beautiful Than Death, where she engages in a psychotic plan to replace Spock's mind with her lover Stonn's katra in a fal-tor-pan ritual. At the end of that novel, T'Pring was incarcerated on Calidan III for her actions and is provided with psionic therapy. It could be argued that her therapy was successful and she has fully recovered and become a functional, stable member of Vulcan society as seen in this issue.


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