Continuation comic series often work at their best when they can engage in long-form, ongoing storytelling, crafting a singular narrative over a significant run of issues. Boldly Go has largely avoided this technique over the last twelve months, focusing on two-part stories or singular tales that focus on specific characters or situations.
Writer Mike Johnson often tends to use two-part stories to reinvent classic The Original Series tales, such as he recently did with the Garth of Izar story ‘Whom Gods Destroy’ and previously a new take on the Babel Conference from ‘Journey to Babel’. The opening season story arc which introduced the Borg to the Kelvin timeline has previously been the only multi-part run. That all changes with ‘I.D.I.C’.
I.D.I.C is one of the most famous acronyms in the Star Trek franchise, standing for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. From Vulcan philosophy, it’s described here by Spock as a ‘thought experiment’ involving the concept of multiple variations on the existence they perceive to be real, and this provides Johnson his leaping off point for what could be the ultimate ‘alternate reality’ story in the Trek universe.
These kind of stories are perhaps among the most key and common in this franchise, stemming right back to ‘Mirror, Mirror’ in the 1960’s which created what would become known in fandom as the Mirror Universe, a dark inverse of the hopeful Federation future. Subsequent Trek series have played with the idea in manifold ways.
Johnson uses the opportunity here to tell a vast narrative whereby an ultimate variation of the traditional Enterprise crew can exist, based on the tenet Spock discusses with Uhura as they touch base with the in-waiting Enterprise-A crew of the USS Endeavour currently, given they remain on sabbatical on New Vulcan. Johnson immediately launches into a reality in which Spock was raised on Earth rather than Vulcan, earned the name Simon Grayson, and is a headstrong Starfleet Commander under a still-alive Captain Christopher Pike who struggles to engage with his Vulcan side, rather than the opposite. A fun inverse, and one which as Trek is wont to do, touches on the key similarities between Spock and his best friend, Jim Kirk.
Speaking of the infamous Captain, this reality posits Kirk, following the destruction of the USS Kelvin, was intercepted and raised by Klingons on Q’onos as a warrior. Known as ‘the Orphan’, Kirk is a battle-hardened human living alien amongst a culture in which many refuse to accept him; Johnson here gets some lovely nods to The Undiscovered Country in with Kirk having ‘escaped from Rura Penthe’ and the fact he wears an eyepatch almost identical to the one General Chang sported.
We don’t only get this Kirk, however, as the very last panel introduces the most uniquely diverse version of Kirk and Spock yet, wrapping all of these disparate realities around, in classic Trek style, a strange subspace anomaly (one is reminded of TNG’s ‘All Good Things…’) which may serve as a way for Johnson to explore a myriad set of parallel universes.
Though very much a scene-setting issue, introducing numerous different versions of the characters we know and love and establishing a central mystery, Johnson packs a lot into Boldly Go and, as ever, its drawn and coloured with that same bright, light, expressive aesthetic as we’re used to from the Kelvin films. ‘I.D.I.C’ is set to run for around six issues and if this opener is anything to go by, it could be one of the most unique Star Trek comic stories yet.
Star Trek Boldly Go #13 is now available from IDW Publishing. Let us know what you think of the series.