With the mad Klingon emperor Kahless II having unleashed the primal horror that is the sleeping God City of T’Kon and fled, Captain Benjamin Sisko finds himself stranded on the surface of the awakened creature, together with his son Jake and Dr. Beverley Crusher. T’Kon is heading towards Earth, to unleash its wrath, and time is running out…
Having been one step behind the whole way, the stakes have never been higher for Sisko, as the sixth issue of IDW’s Star Trek comic shows the desperate race to stop the onslaught of this higher being. T’Kon can perhaps best be described as a Lovecraftian nightmare, and the full page image by artist Ramon Rosanas showing it in all its ‘glory’ – with an overlay of overlapping psychic ‘speech’ – is definitely something to behold. In fact, Rosanas’ art is on point all the way through, and helps truly sell the epic scale of the story by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing.
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Particularly impressive are pieces by Rosanas like a double-page spread with Data’s head as the centrepiece, as events on the USS Theseus unfold in panels either side. Equally as noteworthy – as well as breathtaking in its simplicity, yet so emotionally powerful – is the image of Sisko embracing his son Jake, having finally managed to reconnect with him after struggling to adjust to life back as a linear, corporeal being. With the two-part finale of Deep Space Nine having been called ‘What You Leave Behind’, the meaning of it becomes clear as Sisko comes to terms with his guilt over abandoning his son for a higher calling.
At the heart of Star Trek has always been family: typically more the family you choose than the one you are given. As The Next Generation introduced an era of Starfleet officers being able to live together with their families while posted on active duty, Deep Space Nine gave us the first example of a single father in the franchise, trying to bring up his son in a dangerous environment on the edge of the Final Frontier. In Benjamin Sisko, we saw a role model at a point in time when the media was not typically portraying black men as dutiful fathers, showing once again how progressive Star Trek was in its attitudes.
In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, there would be talk of the “human adventure”, a reminder that for all the space battles, fist fights and shoot-outs, right at the core of the franchise lies humanity, with all its myriad wonders and flaws alike. In finding out once more just what it means to be human, Sisko provides the key to saving the day. Like in the very best of all Star Trek, the solution to the problem comes from the heart, not from the holster, with our inherent humanity proving to be the most effective weapon of all. Kelly and Lanzing seem well versed in understanding this, and deliver a payoff which works beautifully.
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In embracing Star Trek’s infinite diversity, the writers bring into the fold something first seen in the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy, in the form of the Proto-Warp Drive, lest any fans think about dismissing Prodigy as not being ‘real’ Trek. Kelly and Lanzing have done a creditable job with merging together so many different parts of the franchise, although the actual distribution of the action between the crew might have seemed a little uneven at times. With a large ensemble cast, it means that the legacy characters have stolen more of the spotlight than the new creations, which is a real pity.
However, as the voyages of the USS Theseus continue, then if this imbalance can be sorted out moving forward, it could mean IDW have on their hands an interesting new addition to the ever-expanding Trek universe.
Star Trek #6 is out now from IDW Publishing.