$20 at your local comics shop
Let me start with the fact that I do not like licensed properties much. Even on the franchises that I like I have found very little in the licensed comics that I enjoy. The rare exceptions that I do enjoy comes as a real delight. Usually those exceptions are fueled by exceptionally talented creators. The creator in question here is John Byrne. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and now that he is doing the Star Trek books, he really appears to be enjoying himself. Superior creators having fun is very often a recipe for a great read. Byrne got his hands on the Star Trek Universe with IDW fairly recently, but it is fairly obvious he has been waiting for his chance for a very long time. The stories in this volume are well thought out and structured in a very readable manner and manage to maintain the fan friendly nature that is essential to all such properties.
Crew started life as a 5 issue mini series and this collected volume works very well as a single read. It follows the early days of the character we know only as Number One from the original series first pilot and the re edited version of that story known as The Cage. In the TV series the part of Number One was played by Majel Barrett, who most fans are well aware of as several parts in most of the franchise incarnations. Byrne adds a great deal of depth and life to the character, lending Crew its soul, but he never fails to remember that any Star Trek fan will have a pre conceived notion of what this character is. Starting with her first assignment out of the Academy, she is posted on the newest Constitution Class Heavy Cruiser, the USS Enterprise for that vessel’s shakedown cruise. Each issue takes a jump in time through her Starfleet career as she works her way through her various tours with a steely determination.
Byrne weaves the progression of the cadet’s career through the individual stories with great effect. The feel of the original series is here for everyone to enjoy. There is little or no hint of the sequel series. There are little touches that weave these stories into the entire Star Trek universe, such as an almost throwaway use of the Next Generation’s least interesting aliens. Appearances by more familiar characters as the series progresses make this the perfect prequel of sorts to the original series pilot. You do get the feeling there is another story from Byrne with Number One assuming the Star Trek powers-that-be allow it as it would likely treat more closely on established cannon than the suits would like, but this is a great taste of a fun creator jumping in a pool with both feet. There are other Byrne Star Trek series available, I personally am heading to Leonard McCoy: Frontier Doctor. I can’t wait!