Given how expansive the Star Trek universe is, a comic such as ‘Waypoint’ makes perfect sense. Designed as an anthology series of several different mini-stories taking place under a single umbrella, ‘Waypoint’ is essentially to the extended IDW-fronted Trek comic world what the ‘Strange New Worlds’ prose anthologies were in the late 90s and 2000s: the chance for a variety of writers and artists to tell small, self-contained little tales inside the wider Star Trek universe.
After a series of one-shots across 2016 and 2017, ‘Waypoint’ returns for a bulked out, almost 60 page special featuring four stories. Here’s a basic précis and summation of each one:
‘Only You Can Save Yourself’ kicks us off with a colourful, zippy action romp designed, one suspects, with one eye on youthful readers, by artist Nicole Goux. Dave Baker’s tale centres on Ezri Dax, the erstwhile one-season replacement on Deep Space Nine, as she races to get a group of civilians out of a dangerous situation against attacking Andorians, all with the spectral advice of her previous symbiotic hosts – everyone from Jadzia to Joran, her secret murderous Dax host. It moves fast and has an uplifting message about how Ezri is her own woman, but it’s fairly gimmicky and throwaway.
‘Consider Eternity’ is very intriguing, even if Brandon Easton’s story never quite rings true. Picking up directly after the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as V’Ger inhabits the unified bodies of lovers Decker and Ilia before ascending to another plane, this tale posits that ‘Super V’Ger’ got swept up by a bored Q, who attempts to teach him the key secrets of how to exist as an omnipotent being. Easton writes Q well, but Josh Hood’s panels are quite featureless, and you never really feel that sense of awe that Q attempts to bestow upon a confused Decker. This one almost could have done with being a mite longer.
‘My Human Is Not’ is extremely indulgent, even for Star Trek, but it’s really quite sweet. For once, Data’s loyal cat Spot is not only placed front and centre, but he is characterised as we hear the limited inner thought process of the feline. Spot, crucially, recognises Data as ‘his human’ and what semblance of rather forced plot we do get in this short but sweet piece reinforces the idea that, to Spot, Data is just as human as anyone else. Some may consider it all too cutesy and silly, but Jackson Lanzig & Collin Kelly at least seem to have a tongue in cheek about that.
‘Histories’ is easily the strongest piece in this ‘Waypoint’ special, even though it barely features any of the established characters from Star Trek across any of the series. Matthew Dow Smith’s idea focuses on an unnamed alien species, far in the future, whose histories tell of the Federation as a colonial, warlike species, only for one brave bastion of truth to go against their doctrine and try and convince his society they are wrong about the past. Drawn starkly by Smith, with lots of dark hues from colorist Shaun Steven Struble, this one may feel a bit like Voyager’s ‘Living Witness’ but serves as a timely reflection of our own problem about historical truth. It does a lot with little.
Overall, a fairly mixed bag of tales from this ‘Waypoint’ special, but enough goodness to justify the comic’s continued existence in the Star Trek expanded media pantheon. Better ideas than perhaps, at times, execution.
Star Trek: Waypoint Special is now available from IDW Publishing.