Star Trek: Defiant #2 – Comic Review

When he created Star Trek – and The Next Generation in particular – Gene Roddenberry had the notion that by that point in his fictional future history, humanity would have evolved beyond interpersonal conflict, and look to solve all of its issues in a reasonable and respectful manner, without any arguing or friction.

A laudable utopian ideal, but dramatically something of a dead end. As his grip on the franchise which he had devised began to loosen, and the reins were gradually taken up by protege Rick Berman, Star Trek started to turn away from Roddenberry’s idealised view of humans getting along in a tension-free, agreeable fashion, and started to mine those opportunities presented by having that natural discord. By distancing itself from the Roddenberry vision, Trek was able to boldly go in new dramatic directions.

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Nowhere was this new approach more evident than in Deep Space Nine, the first post-Roddenberry show, which saw a charged, febrile atmosphere in the closed environment of a space station, with co-existence of different species posing its own challenges amongst the Starfleet crew. The clash of opposing ideals was also evidenced with the introduction of the Maquis into the franchise, with Voyager seeing quite an uneasy alliance between a group of these freedom fighters (or terrorists, depending on your perspective) and the crew of the titular vessel as they fought to get back home, having been flung to the other side of the galaxy.

IDW’s Star Trek: Defiant picks up on threads from both of those series, by bringing together a former member of the Maquis with a Bajoran ex-freedom fighter turned Maquis spy, and making them rather uneasy shipmates as some unresolved issues rise to the surface and threaten to get in the way of their mission: to stop the Klingon figurehead of Kahless II from his onslaught against higher beings across the cosmos. Can Captain Worf’s unlikely crew manage to put aside their differences for long enough to be able to stop the insane emperor before it’s too late?

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Writer Christopher Cantwell’s story sees some timely links to the current – and final – series of Star Trek: Picard, with two characters featuring in that show making appearances. Without spoilering anything about their involvement in the series, Cantwell’s use of the two players foreshadows their turns in Picard, lending an extra poignancy to proceedings. We also get to see Worf before his transformation into that Chamomile-drinking, Zen pacifist of the 25th Century who he has now become, and the contrast between them is quite striking to see.

Another link to Picard – intentional, or otherwise – revolves around the theft of a dangerous artefact from a facility being controlled by the shadowy Section 31, whose presence across all iterations of Star Trek is pretty much guaranteed at some point, it would seem. Cantwell’s unenviable task of trying to draw together disparate elements not only from across the franchise on screen, but also from the main Star Trek comic story running concurrent, must feel far tougher than trying to thread a Starship through the eye of a needle, but so far he seems to be doing so quite competently.

Star Trek: Defiant #2 is out now from IDW Publishing.

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