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Ancient Greek deities force Kirk and Spock on an odyssey of peril! — "What Fools These Mortals Be.." was a comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1978, the 53rd issue of their TOS series. It was the thirteenth comic drawn by Alden McWilliams and the fifth written by George Kashdan. In this story, the USS Enterprise encounters Zeus and other Greek gods from Mount Olympus.


Lured to a strange world by unknown forces, the Enterprise crew soon find themselves enslaved by an unseen, irresistible power! But only a trip through a gauntlet of terror will provide the final, shocking answer to the nature of their immortal captors!


Captain’s Log, star date 29:01.1
We have diverted toward the border of the Perseus Arm, in response to an S.O.S. from the starship Pathfinder!

After saving the Pathfinder from three Klingon battlecruisers, James T. Kirk ordered the Enterprise back to its regular patrol sector. As they passed an unnamed planetoid, an unusual lethargy came over most of the crew. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy beamed down to investigate, where they soon fought humanoid cannibals. When they were suddenly confronted by the mythological cyclops, Spock's suspicions were confirmed: they were reliving the adventures of Ulysses after the Trojan War on Earth from thousands of years ago, as written in Homer's Odyssey.

Captain's log, star date 29:01.3
A fissure, similar to a dimensional warp, has occurred in the atmosphere, revealing a place that is quite familiar to anyone who has read the Greek mythologies of Planet Earth!

As Mount Olympus appeared through the clouds, the landing party was taunted by Zeus, Hermes, Pan and other mythical Greek gods, then struck by gale-force winds from Aeolus. After dispersing the wind with phasers set on wide field, they fled to a Homeric ship alongside a river, then encountered hypnotic Sirens and a whirlpool created by Scylla and Charybdis.

Eventually the wooden ship docked alongside an inhabited Greek-styled city. Zeus reappeared, bragging about his influence over the civilization. Kirk balked at what the gods were doing, as it violated the principle of the Prime Directive. Zeus shot lightning bolts at him, and Kirk retaliated by having the Enterprise fire the ship's phasers at Zeus' feet, which made the city's inhabitants laugh. Insulted, Zeus turned his back on them all, telling his fellow gods that they were leaving, never to return.



AeolusCharybdisPavel ChekovCyclopsHermesJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyPanMontgomery ScottScyllaSpockHikaru SuluNyota UhuraUlyssesZeusunnamed Beings
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

boatUSS EnterpriseUSS Pathfinder (Constitution-class heavy cruisers) • Homeric shipunnamed D7 class starships


Perseus Arm (planetoid) • Mount Olympus
Referenced only
Earth (Ancient GreeceLand of the Lotus Eaters)

Races and cultures


States and organizations


Science and technology

atmosphereboomerangdimensional warpdeflector shieldequilibratorhypnosismedical tricordermedikitphaserphoton torpedoplanetoidprotoplastershieldspeartractor beamtransporter

Ranks and titles

cannibalcaptainchiefgeneralgodlieutenantOlympiantorpedo crew chiefs

Other references

alert status (battle stations) • animalArticles of the Federationatmospherebeardbirdbrainbridgecannibalcitycivilizationdanceearthquakeevolutionhelmetlifeformlight-yearmeatminutemountainmushroommusicmutinymythologyOdysseyorbitvegetationPrime Directivereptilesciences divisionsecondsectorshipwreckSOSstunthousands of years agothunderbolttransporter roomtreeTrojan Warwarp factor (warp five) • whirlpoolyear


Related media


Identities of the Beings

  • Hermes was not named, but he was known for his winged helmet.
  • Pan was not named and had no dialogue, but was recognizable from his horns. Interestingly, he was not depicted with pointed ears, one of the traits for which Apollo compared him to Spock in "Who Mourns for Adonais?".
  • The bearded god who wore a green toga was not named, but most likely was Poseidon. Since he was seen in Mount Olympus with Zeus, he was likely one of the seven major male Greek gods. But he was neither Zeus, Apollo, Aries (did not wear warrior garb), Hephaestus (no association with fire), Hades (did not wear black), nor Dionysus (no association with wine), leaving only Poseidon. Additionally, this character said that Ulysses hadn't been afraid of the challenges the gods put to him, as if he'd participated in those events. Poseidon was in the Odyssey, and he was also god of the sea, an enemy of Ulysses, and father both to cyclops and Charybdis. (Ancient Greek religion article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia., Poseidon article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
  • The crowned goddess seen beside Zeus was unnamed and her identity unclear. She could be one of the five major female Greek gods. She probably was not Hera, who scattered herself to the winds. (TOS episode & Star Trek 7 novelization: Who Mourns for Adonais?) She was not Artemis, who was allowed to roam outside of Mount Olympus following the death of Apollo. (NF novel: Gods Above) She might be Demeter, Aphrodite or Minerva/Athena. She could also be Zeus' consort Dione. (Dione article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)


  • The title of the story had two periods at the end. The correct punctuation for omitted text is the ellipsis character (…). (Ellipsis article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
  • When the landing party was being blasted by gale-force winds from Aeolus, Kirk strangely remarked that the air blasts had "the force of a hundred protons." One hundred protons could be found in 12 1/2 atoms of oxygen. (Oxygen article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)



Gold Key Comics stories and publications
Issues "The Planet of No Return" • "The Devil's Isle of Space" • "Invasion of the City Builders" • "The Peril of Planet Quick Change" • "The Ghost Planet" • "When Planets Collide" • "The Voodoo Planet" • "The Youth Trap" • "The Legacy of Lazarus" • "Sceptre of the Sun" • "The Brain Shockers" • "The Flight of the Buccaneer" • "Dark Traveler" • "The Enterprise Mutiny" • "Museum at the End of Time" • "Day of the Inquisitors" • "The Cosmic Cavemen" • "The Hijacked Planet" • "The Haunted Asteroid" • "A World Gone Mad" • "The Mummies of Heitius VII" • "Siege in Superspace" • "Child's Play" • "The Trial of Captain Kirk" • "Dwarf Planet" • "The Perfect Dream" • "Ice Journey" • "The Mimicking Menace" • "Death of a Star" • "The Final Truth" • "The Animal People" • "The Choice" • "The PsychoCrystals" • "A Bomb in Time" • "One of Our Captains Is Missing!" • "Prophet of Peace" • "Furlough to Fury" • "The Evictors" • "World Against Time" • "The World Beneath the Waves" • "Prince Traitor" • "Mr. Oracle" • "This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit" • "Murder on the Enterprise" • "A Warp in Space" • "Planet of No Life" • "Destination... Annihilation!" • "And a Child Shall Lead Them" • "What Fools These Mortals Be.." • “Sport of Knaves” • "A World Against Itself" • "No Time Like the Past" • "Spore of the Devil" • "The Brain-Damaged Planet" • "To Err Is Vulcan" • "The Empire Man!" • "Operation Con Game"
Additional stories "James T. Kirk: Psycho-File" • "A Page From Scotty's Diary" • "Spock: Psycho-File" • "From Sputnik to Warp Drive"
Collections Star Trek Annuals (1969197019721973197419751976197719781979198019831986) • The Enterprise Logs (Volumes 1234) • The Key Collection (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key Archives (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key 100-Page Spectacular
Related media "Voyage of Discovery" • "The Exile" • "The Red Hour" • "The Tunnel of Death" • "... Wild Goose Chase!" • "A Hint of Life" • "Space Chase" • "Escape from the Clinging Dags" • "Eye of the Beholder" • "The Menace of the Mechanitrons" • "Trial by Fire!"


Published Order
Previous comic:
#52: And a Child Shall Lead Them
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#54: Sport of Knaves
Previous story:
And a Child Shall Lead Them
Stories by:
George Kashdan
Next story:
Sport of Knaves
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Communications Breakdown
Star Trek: The Manga
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Operation Con Game
Previous comic:
Communications Breakdown
Star Trek: The Manga
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Three Next comic:
Operation Con Game
Production history
July 1978
First published by Gold Key Comics.
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD. (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
31 January 2019
Reprinted in Graphic Novel Collection #55. (Eaglemoss)
Dutch: In Ruimteschip Enterprise Special. (De Vrijbuiter)
German: As "Odyssee des Grauens" in Raumschiff Enterprise Comic Sonderheft (Special Issue) #1. (Condor)

External links