The recent news of IDW Publishing’s parent company, IDW Media Holdings, having made dramatic cuts to its workforce as well as delisting from the NYSE is quite a worrying turn of events, especially as the company is currently one of the top five comics publishers, and been a mainstay of the scene for just under a quarter of a century.
The last couple of years has been rather a turbulent time on the multimedia landscape, with the pandemic having played its part in some of the tectonic shifts being felt all across the board. Mergers, scaling back of content, and the rejigging of plans are all issues that have been seen at the very highest levels, with companies like Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney, so the smaller players have been even more prone to feeling the impacts of the changing economic landscape, as belts are being collectively tightened.
READ MORE: 5-25-77 – Film Review
For IDW, this has been a particularly vulnerable time, as they have seen the recent loss of a number of big hitter properties from their licenced comics roster, such as Star Wars, which is something sure to have impacted the bottom line. Luckily for them, IDW still holds the rights to publish comic books based on Star Trek, having done a recent soft relaunch of sorts with its lead title seemingly intent upon trying to cram in as much of the franchise as possible. Basically, throwing everything it can at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Having already created something of a Traveling Wilburys-type supergroup of Trek characters from across The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and The Original Series, writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing appear to have decided that you can’t have too much of a good thing, and – in one of the unlikeliest of crossovers – now brought into the mix one of the characters from Lower Decks. In the context of the story, it actually makes perfect sense, so the addition of a particular member of the bridge crew from the USS Cerritos is a logical enough move.
However, it remains to be seen how well the potential tonal mismatch will be handled, given that Lower Decks is played rather broadly, and is something of a meta commentary on the franchise. So far, it seems to be working out surprisingly well, which is rather a marked contrast to how well Kelly and Lanzing have dealt with some of the live action counterparts so far, with characterisations being occasionally patchy, and at times almost completely absent. Someone like Tom Paris, for example, virtually slides off the page altogether through being so indistinct and generic.
READ MORE: Big George Foreman – Film Review
Issue #7, however, has at least given us chance to pause and take stock, after the epic scope of the first six issues, dealing with gods and higher planes of existence, as well as a cosmic threat. A brief layover at Deep Space Nine offers some much needed downtime for the crew of the USS Theseus, and – in particular – Captain Benjamin Sisko. Having been snatched back to a corporeal, linear mode of being, Sisko has scarcely had time to reacclimatise to ‘normal’ life without being able to truly take stock of what he left behind.
Thank goodness, then, that Kelly and Lanzing have seen fit to revisit Sisko’s life as a family man. As the latest season of Star Trek: Picard has shown us, family is a dominant theme in the franchise, both in figurative and literal terms. Small, personal stories help counterpoint the epic space adventure parts of the saga, and this latest issue demonstrates that the people are as much a critical part of the mix as anything else.
Star Trek #7 is out now from IDW Publishing.