Ok I've read the latest issue and I really enjoyed it. It was a good framing issue, setting up several plot points for the rest of the arc. It made appropriate use of relevant recurring characters and didn't shoe-horn anybody in for the sake of it - Carol's involvement was a bit forced but it made sense in the context it was presented and I'll be pleased if she gets some appropriate character development.
Taking a bit of extra time to set up a slightly more complex and involving story is a good thing so I hope that all the plot points aren't resolved too conveniently like some of the other 2-parters. This is the first story that has really built on previous stories so it gets a big thumbs up from me.
There are signs that the writers are beginning to increase the number of women involved in the stories but there is still a bit of careless sexism with all-male security guards, an all-male Klingon council (which comes as no surprise since women aren't allowed), an all-male Vulcan delegation except for one, and an all-male Romulan senate.
It is almost as if all the women that appear are romantically linked to a male character or at the very least, they all do seem to be deliberately female as opposed to coincidentally female. There are background women on the Enterprise however, so the artists just need a nudge to remind them that Vulcans and Romulans are not sexist. I really, really, really, really hope that T'Pau features in the next issue - there have been too many Vulcan plot points that have not involved her to date!
She could easily be dead but if she is, that would make three strong, well-written female characters from the sixties that have been deliberately written out on top of Chapel. No Janice in this one but she wasn't needed. She could have piloted the shuttle but we got an alien crewman instead - not an Andorian but it's only a matter of time...
Carol may suffer from the same problem as Chapel. As a physicist, she steps on Spock's toes, and it may be hard to see when it would be necessary to use her instead of him, which might mean that a chunk of her usage has to come from a romantic sub-plot, and that never did Christine a lot of favours! Her specialism in weapons tech may mean that she has enough of a niche though - certainly in TOS Spock stole airtime from other characters e.g. by working on communications tech and deciphering codes instead of Uhura. It does look as though that style is going out of fashion fortunately so that the support cast get a fair shout.
They went out of their way to introduce Chekov to the franchise and it appears that they don't know what to do with him. He's the navigator who is better with transporters than the transporter operator and the ensign who gets promoted to chief engineer above more experienced engineers. That's terrible character development. Steering him towards a more weapons-tech related role per TMP might have been scuppered by Carol's niche. I don't think he'll get much to do in this story but I hope they have a story that features him more prominently coming up soon.
The gap in my comic chronolgy has left me wanting the movie adaptation - I hope it's coming soon!