In Gold Key issue 6, “When Planets Collide,” (December 1969), our brave crew of space pioneers risk themselves and the Enterprise to save two planets about to, well, collide. When you pitch it that way it sounds relatively straightforward, however, let’s see, how can I put this . . .
Okay, if you read the Gold Key comics, you know that part of their goofy charm is how far off they can be from the source material as well as how un-sciency the science can be. But this issue turns that dial all the way up to 11 and leaves you wondering, “Did I really just read that?”
It all starts with the discovery of two unidentified bodies on a collision course in the Alpho Galaxy, picked up courtesy of the Enterprise‘s “TV space scanner.” Upon closer inspection, they are found to be planets “in the galaxy and orbiting Alpho.” Now it was just established that Alpho was the galaxy they’re in, so that quote, from a red-haired Scotty, is a bit confusing. But that’s nothing. Spock determines that if the two planets do collide “the shockwaves upon impact alone would pitch many of the Alpho planets out of orbit…to burn in space!” I don’t even know where to begin unpacking that.
Our crew realizes they need to destroy one or both of the rogue planets. Kirk, Spock, and Scotty (now blonde) beam down to one of the planets to set hydrogen charges. It’s light out even though the planet is in open space without a sun. And it’s inhabited! So after some high jinks with the native population, they race to the other rogue to destroy it instead. But oh noes! That sunless planet also, rather inexplicably, has daylight and is inhabited. Somehow the planets’ courses need to be changed—which will be extra difficult, because it turns out one of them is acting like a magnet drawing the other one toward it.
Well, lucky for them there is the “luminous space particle from the star Doona” a supernova remnant, a “ten thousand ton section . . . ten times the hardness of space diamonds . . . and radiating a repelling force of the tenth magnitude!” Uh, yeah, sure, we’ll go with that! But time is wasting, so Enterprise kicks in its rocket afterburners and “pushes close to the speed of light.” It’s mentioned a couple times that the starship only nears light-speed, and yet it’s hurtling across different galaxies. I don’t even know.
Anyhoo, they capture the space particle with some sort of magnetic net and head back to the collision point. But they’re caught in a meteor storm (science nerd alert: the correct usage would be meteoroid), and several crash all the way through the saucer section, some seem to plow right through the bridge, but with little effect on the ship. Did I mention I don’t even know?
Long story short, they get back in time and release the particle between the planets . . . which slow to a complete stop before colliding, and Kirk and Spock celebrate by raising big glass of some sort of beverage. No, that’s really what they do. Really!
Favorite exclamation: Scotty’s “Yiiipes! Be-Bejabbers! Look at that!”
Second favorite: Kirk’s “All rockets on full! Star course deep galaxy penetration!”