A conflict between conscience and continuity embroils the second crew of a starship called Enterprise with a number of science-fiction and political overtones to complicate things. Commander Spock is front and center for change in Star Trek: Year Five #20, and the cost of it could literally be everything.
The crew's Tholian guest called "Bright Eyes" can literally hear something coming from the planet Vulcan, something that doesn't make sense. An away team including Spock, Kirk, the always complaining Bones, Bright Eyes, and the Captain discovers a tower that most of them remember, but Bright Eyes insists is an anomaly. Yada yada yada, Spock gets cast back through time to The Time of Awakening, the period which created the schism between the Vulcan people and their soon-to-be Romulan kindred.
What's great about Brandon Easton's script is the gentle hand it uses to showcase the horrors of things like children seized en masse by the state without needing to be hamfisted in the representation. It shows the "civilized" people of the planet Vulcan in a much more repressive, violent state as they sought to implement "the re-education process" (a horrifying term) enforced at the edge of a blade and the business end of a phaser.
Then there's the artwork by Silvia Califano, DC Alonso, and Neil Uyetake, which does some really interesting things with how the Tholians view time (that's a very fun surprise), uses silhouettes effectively, dreams up a new star fleet of interesting determination and delivers panels Easton left without dialogue in a manner that drips with intensity and meaning.
The science-fiction bona fides here are deep, all while looking at political issues that could be seen in our headlines, not just those of 200 years from now. The only criticism that could be leveled here is that — as many periodical stories go — this builds the first act and digs into a second but doesn't come to even a partial conclusion, leaving the next issue to start at climactic points. Still, the deftness of many of the elements here makes this worth buying only to reread and reabsorb some of the story points. RATING: BUY.
Star Trek: Year Five #20
By Brandon Easton, Silvia Califano
As the crew of the Enterprise moves toward an uncertain future, one of their own will be pulled into a violent past! While investigating a mysterious structure on Vulcan, Spock vanishes. As the crew tries to find him, Spock must fight to survive as he navigates the painful past of his home planet. The final voyages of the original crew continue in this time-hopping adventure from writer Brandon Easton (Transformers: War for Cybertron, Thundercats) and artist Silvia Califano (Star Trek: Year Five, X-Files: Case Files)