“We’re here because the balance of power is shifting.”
This issue, along with issue four, is mostly a condensed version of what happened after Dreadstar #64. Whether or not it was the story Peter David had planned doesn’t matter, because it follows logically enough. Willow, in Iron Angel’s body, finally gets Vanth and also gets pregnant. The crew comes across the bug aliens from the beginning of David’s run and even encounter Junior finally. Again. It’s not what you would have predicted necessarily, but it’s a combination of ‘random Star Trekesque plot’ and repetition of previous idea in a way that seemed to be the ultimate form of David’s time on the book. There’s very little of the ‘present’ with Kalla, the Lord High Papal, Teuton, and Skeevo. Most of the issue is Skeevo telling what happened to Dreadstar and company.
What we do get of our new cast is revealing, in a limited way. Kalla hates her father mostly for the parts of herself that she doesn’t like and attributes to him. The Papal tells Skeevo that he basically views Kalla as a daughter. And Skeevo seems ready to go along with whatever plans they have. There’s a subtle complexity to both Kalla and the Papal here that never really gets a chance to play out with this issue acting as the summation of this approach of this series. From here on out, the only context through which these characters are viewed, really, is their connection to the past.
Similarly, the Willow/Iron Angel plot never gets seen through with the moral issues of Willow inhabiting Iron Angel’s body and getting impregnated are mostly sidestepped. Izak raises the issue, but that’s about as far as it gets. David is very good about devising these complex moral and philosophical issues that could occur in worlds such as these, but the follow-through is non-existent. Even the resolution to the Iron Angel plot later in the series sidesteps the issue completely, providing an easy, pat resolution that allows everyone to forget about any possible negative views on what has happened.
At the same time, I do admire part of his approach, which is very practically minded. They could debate the moral and philosophical issues of Willow inhabiting Iron Angel’s body and getting pregnant all they want, but the ultimate reality is that she is going to have a baby. The higher-minded quandaries really can’t stand up to that basic fact. Unless Izak wants to end the pregnancy, there’s no disputing what happened and that the baby will be born. Does that make her the daughter of Vanth and Angel? Vanth and Willow? Who knows? Certainly not this comic.
Tomorrow: it gets better. A little.