The life of a rank and file Starfleet officer can be one of rather varying fortunes. Look at Chief Miles O’Brien, who went from transporter chief on the Enterprise-D to chief of operations on Deep Space Nine. Sonya Gomez would only appear in two episodes of The Next Generation, yet would turn up in Lower Decks as the captain of her own ship.
Consider, then, the ignominy of those faithful members of the bridge crew on Discovery who have gamely appeared in multiple instalments, sometimes even getting a piece of the action, yet for the most part remain utterly unmemorable. It remains less a reflection on the actors, and more one on the writers and creative team, who seem to have done their best not to make it easy to remember anything about the various characters who form part of the background ensemble.
Unless you happen to be a diehard fan, you would very likely be hard pressed to remember anyone else beyond the main ship’s complement. Michael Burnham, for example, tends to pull focus, and suck a lot of the oxygen of attention out of the room. Pity, then, poor Thingy, Whatshername and You Know Who, the ones who you see making up the numbers week on week, yet you would probably have to run over to Wikipedia in order to look up their names, which still remain so elusive, and slip from the memory as if Teflon-coated.
It appears, however, as though IDW’s Star Trek: Discovery – Adventures In The 32nd Century might be about to redress the balance somewhat. Being single issues that focus upon different characters, the series of comics now starts to turn its attention to Lieutenant Keyla Detmer. You know, Detmer. The one with the cranial implants? No, not that one: you are thinking of Seven of Nine from Voyager and Picard. Detmer is the other one with the cybernetic face furniture.
All joking aside, Detmer is the one you very likely have the most chance of recalling out of the supporting crew, thanks chiefly to her distinctive appearance, more than any actual characteristics or attributes. Sadly, this latest issue of IDW’s Adventures In The 32nd Century does little to fill in many (or, perhaps, any) of the blanks, and while rather diverting and entertaining enough in itself, does seem to do Detmer something of a disservice, by failing to expand upon her in any real or substantive way.
It really comes to something when the ship’s resident cat was given more in the way of depth and fleshing out than poor Detmer receives here. Although whimsical, and giving us a bit of an insight into part of her childhood (via a Calvin and Hobbes-esque fantasy), it really fails to tick the main boxes, and leaves the reader wanting more. Whether this is because writer Mike Johnson has been given limits as to just what backstory he can explore is unclear, but this does seem a wasted opportunity all the same.
A hopefully isolated misstep or hiccup in what is still one of the most promising TV tie-in comics out there.
Star Trek: Discovery – Adventures In The 32nd Century #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.