Starslip Crisis, Volume 3
by Kristofer Straub
Comic trade paperback, 115 pages. Published 2009 (content: 2008-09). Acquired August 2011. Read October 2011.
Volume 3 of Starslip Crsis claims to be 115 pages, but in actual story, it is only 73 pages long, making it the shortest Starslip volume of them all. This is one of the strip's weaker periods, something Straub himself acknowledges in his afterword. The strip began to be overtaken by its own storylines; while the Fuseli crew being at war with their own future was epic and funny, the characters being split up into multiple locations dampened both the drama and the humor.
Straub's afterword is honest and thoughtful, and there are times where I feel like Steven Moffat would do well to read it as he constructs the next twist in his ongoing Doctor Who saga:
I had thought that added storyline complexity would be a challenge to write, which was what I wanted, but it turned out to be easier than I expected. Too easy. Not because I was a genius, but because at a certain depth complexity begins to look arbitrary. Something readers kicked around was the increasing likelihood that Vanderbeam would actually become so twisted in his time-travelling search for Jovia that he turns into Katarakis. And it's a wonderful idea.
But what bothered me wasn't that it was a wonderful idea -- what was troubling me was knowing that, if I needed to take the story there, I could. And if I needed to reverse that plot point somehow, I could.... All the plot loops and time travel had made things too straightforward.When you can reveal that two of your protagonists' daughter was actually their childhood best friend with seeming no consequences, you've fallen into this trap I think.
My complaints about the River Song storyline aside, the slimness of this volume comes from the fact that it ends at the point the universe is reset, jettisoning all that continuity, but keeping the character histories in tact. (DC Comics, take note.) Some "extras" take up the slack, but at 40 pages, there's too many of them. There's some extra strips, which is good, and there's also a few pages of art for a potential monthly Starslip comic, which looks nice, but the formatted-to-take-up-a-lot-of-room script for it shows that it was nowhere near as funny as the original; the whole art museum/critic angle is dropped, and it's a pretty generic and toothless Star Trek parody. I can't say I'm sorry it didn't come to pass.