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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Malibu Comics) – The Rules of Diplomacy (Review/Retrospective)

The September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

One of the more interesting aspects of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the way that the cast actively involved themselves in the mythology of the show. Armin Shimerman originally pitched The 34th Rule as an episode of the show, along with Eric A. Sitwell and David R. George III. Andrew Robinson published A Stitch in Time, a novel based on notes he had been making about Garak during the production of the series. Even J.G. Hertzler co-wrote the Left Hand of Destiny duology.

Of course, this was not a unique occurrence. Walter Koenig had written an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, an issue of Marvel’s on-going Star Trek comic and even The Machiavellian Principle, a play performed at the Ultimate Fantasy convention. John DeLancie had co-written The Gift, a story published in DC’s Star Trek: The Next Generation comics. Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo would lend their names to tie-in Star Trek: Voyager books.

However, it seems reasonable to observe that the supporting cast on Deep Space Nine were particularly interested in fleshing out and developing their characters. So it seems appropriate that Aron Eisenberg should co-write The Rules of Diplomacy, a special about Nog earning some credits before shipping off to Starfleet Academy.

You can't go home again...

You can’t go home again…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Malibu Comics) #29-30 – Sole Asylum (Review)

The September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Whatever happened to Thomas Riker?

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine receives a lot of credit for its move towards serialisation as a prime-time genre show. It wasn’t a pioneer in the same way that Babylon 5 was or even Murder One had been, but it was was definitely ahead of the curve. Deep Space Nine arguably holds up better today than any of the other Star Trek shows, and part of that is down to the way that the show leaned into serialisation. Actions had consequences, effects lingered after the credits.

Hostage of fortune...

Hostage of fortune…

The show was very much leaning that way in the second and third season, building up plot threads that would pay off down the line. The Dominion had been seeded in the show since Rules of Acquisition. The Romulan and Cardassian pre-emptive strike was foreshadowed by episodes like Defiant and Visionary. In the third season, it became clear that Deep Space Nine was ready to commit to some long-form storytelling, in a way that was unusual for a high-profile syndicated genre show in the nineties.

However, it is tempting to give Deep Space Nine a little bit too much credit. There were points where the show seemed to struggle with pay-off and arc-building. In Emissary, Sisko was tasked with bringing Bajor into the Federation; that never happened. After Battle Lines, Kai Opaka never appeared again. Characters who seemed important dropped into and out of the show at random; characters like Martok’s son Drex, Bajoran First Minister Shakaar Edon, Subcommander T’Rul… and Thomas Riker.

The welcome wagon...

The welcome wagon…

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Mike W. Barr and Gordon Purcell’s Run on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Malibu Comics) (Review/Retrospective)

The September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

The nineties comic book market was an interesting place. It enjoyed a huge boost due to the rise of speculation and collectors. The industry was massively successful in the early years of the decade, fuelled by high-profile artists, hype, and events. The industry imploded in on itself in the middle and towards the end of the decade, but it looked surprisingly profitable in the early years. Against that backdrop, Malibu Comics emerged.

Malibu had become the publisher of record for Image Comics in 1992. Image had been founded by a number of popular artists who had departed Marvel to set up their own shop and found their own company. Malibu distributed their comics for about a year, which gave Malibu access to a larger distribution platform. Although Image soon grew strong enough to publish its own comics, there was a point where Malibu had surpassed industry veteran DC Comics in the market place.

"Think of it—five months ago no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space Nine. Now all our hopes rest here."

“Think of it—five months ago no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space Nine. Now all our hopes rest here.”

Against this backdrop, Malibu secured the rights to publish comic books based on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Up until this point, DC comics had been publishing comics based on the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Paramount’s decision to award the Deep Space Nine license to Malibu effectively split the comic book license up. DC Comics continued to publish comics based around the first two Star Trek shows, while Malibu had exclusive rights to the characters and world of Deep Space Nine.

As such, the decision to recruit writer Mike W. Barr and artist Gordon Purcell to write the first six issues of the comic was a pretty big deal. Barr and Purcell were incredibly associated with Star Trek comic books. The duo had done popular work on the movie-era comics, and had demonstrated an obvious and abiding affection for the franchise. Assigning these two creators to work on Deep Space Nine was a very clear message. Malibu were taking this license very seriously, indeed.

Triptych...

Triptych…

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