This issue does a great job playing with its main premise, largely because it doesn't shake up everything just because the characters' gender changed. Captain Jane Kirk is every bit as impulsive, Spock as logical, and Dr. Lea “Bones” McCoy as grumpy as their male counterparts, and the characters play off of one another in the same ways. Why would their personalities differ or their dynamics with one another change just because of a change in gender? That's not to say that “Parallel Lives” ignores the gender dynamics entirely. This alternate universe seems to still have a patriarchy in place, but when the characters'—okay, the ladies, the guys don't catch any crap—gender is called out, the women of the Enterprise aren't afraid to smack down those challenges. I might have cheered at those moments. Okay, I definitely cheered at those moments. You wrote those scenes well, Mike Johnson.
The art team of Yasmin Liang's inks and Zac Atkinson's colors outdid themselves on this issue. With so much of the gender changes being visual, Liang did a fantastic job reimagining the Enterprise crew with their genders swapped. The characters bear a resemblance to their male counterparts but with liberties taken such as the variety of hair styles, the way the characters move, and even placing some of our traditionally male character in the skirt uniform Uhuru is so famous for, but notably not all of the women. (Yay, pants!)
I can't say I'm a huge fan of the plotline for this issue, but that's largely due to my griefs with Star Trek Into Darkness, which this issue strongly follows up on. I'm glad to see the Star Trek ongoing series incorporate those events and even play with some of the gaps in logic and implications from the film, but the whole scenario still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, although the tie-in is almost worth it to see the parallel world's female version of Khan.
And, the ending. Well, the creative team made a bold move, and we'll have to see how the gender dynamics play out in Issue #30. I'm excited and nervous for where this could go.
Four Violations of the Prime Directive Spirit out of Five