Star Trek #5 – Comic Review

Captain Benjamin Sisko, once an Emissary to otherworldly, godlike beings, now finds himself in a race against time to try and prevent celestial creatures from being completely exterminated across the cosmos. Having hunted down the perpetrator of this heinous act, he finds himself facing off against the reincarnation of a Klingon legend, as IDW’s new Star Trek story reaches its penultimate issue.

This comic series has aped – be that intentional, or purely coincidentally – some of what we have seen in the recent iterations of Star Trek on television (or, more accurately, streaming). As well as bringing in some legacy favourites, there have also been a few new faces thrown into the mix too, as if the nostalgia value alone would cause the whole enterprise (no pun intended) to collapse beneath its own weight, without the solid foundation of some load bearing characters to prop up everything.

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In Picard, for example, we have seen a whole selection of newbies brought in, some far more enduring than others, with maybe the MVP being the most lovable curmudgeonly bastard you are ever likely to encounter in the shape of this season’s Captain Liam Shaw of the USS Titan. Similarly, in Strange New Worlds, an entourage of brand new creations has turned up to accompany Pike, Spock, M’Benga, Chapel, Number One and Uhura from the original series. There has to be an infusion of new blood, otherwise the franchise ends up being inward-looking and at risk of feasting on itself.

During the course of IDW’s current run of the lead title, we have been introduced to the first non-binary Vulcan in Mx. T’Lir, someone who has been brought to the fore in previous issues, and suggests that they have a far greater role to play in the story, given some intriguing hints. However, after all the promising setup so far, this latest issue sees T’Lir being reduced to one of the chorus once again. It may be a feint by writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, a cunning piece of misdirection which makes us look the other way, obscuring T’Lir’s actual significance in how events ultimately unfold in the finale.

Hopefully, this will not end up being just a double bluff, as to telegraph a new character like this, only to then bench them, would be a monumental waste of material. The other option – akin to Decker and Ilia in The Motion Picture – is to end up casually offing them, having brought T’Lir in to fulfil a story function, rather than actually being bothered about them as a fully rounded creation who deserves to continue into being in future stories. Pity poor T’Lir – and poor Lily Sato, another new creation – as the crew roster on the Theseus does feel a tad top-heavy, firmly favouring the old guard.

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Talking of whom, we finally have an apparent answer to an omission made by Worf during his introductory spiel in the current series of Picard, something which may be simply a happy accident, rather than by design. In any case, having a sudden turn of events leaving Worf with divided loyalties is evidently just a setup for giving him his own simultaneous spinoff comic, Star Trek: Defiant, in which he can boldly go and pursue his own storyline, parallel to the main plot. This slight thinning of the herd, especially so late in the day, does feel a rather curious move, but as this story winds down and Worf’s gets underway, the pieces may start to fall into place of a grand design.

At least the issue culminates in a genuinely jaw-dropping bit of action, a real ‘get-out-of-that’ cliffhanger, which leaves the reader wondering how things can possibly be wrapped up, now that the stakes are so high. The artwork by Ramon Rosanas and Erik Tamayo is consistently strong, notably in a double-page spread depicting the ultimate fate of the God City of T’Kon, and helps paper over any cracks which might otherwise be showing in the story.

Star Trek #5 is out now from IDW Publishing.

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