Benjamin Sisko’s day of reckoning approaches, as he awaits the inevitable judgment of the Cardassian court, which has tried him for heinous crimes against their people during the Dominion War. As Sisko finds himself counting off what time he has left, his crew are facing off against Kahless’ fanatical cult known as the Red Path, in the latest issue of IDW’s Star Trek comic.
As command level Starfleet officers go, Sisko is probably not your typical example. This is the man who, on his first face-to-face meeting with Q, punched him square in the phizzog. There are also not too many Captains or Commanders who have ended up becoming a key religious figure in a planet’s theological system. In the pantheon of Star Trek leaders, it seems he never quite got his due from fans, as he was only a Commander to begin with, and didn’t have his own Starship until the third season of Deep Space Nine.
Yet it appears that Sisko is somebody you underestimate at your own risk. A far more thoughtful figure than you might expect, as well as a man of action when required, he knows that actions have consequences and is willing to face up to them for the greater good. Writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing show his quiet nobility in being willing to sacrifice his own life if necessary, all in the cause of the bigger picture, believing if it can help bring some closure and healing to the pain being felt by the Cardassians from the aftermath of the war, it will be worth it.
In contrast with Sisko’s dark night of the soul, where he faces up to a ghost of the past, his crew are facing the fight of their lives in a vault full of stolen Bajoran artefacts. For all the talk about Star Trek’s mission being to seek the utopian future of peaceful exploration and coexistence, it really would be quite dull without all the dust-ups, space dogfights and shootouts that go on. It felt like Captain Kirk could barely go more than a couple of episodes without a bout of shirt-ripping pugilism and flying kicks.
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Here, with the odds against them and the situation grim, the USS Theseus’ Away Team receives some unexpected backup, to help turn the tide. Splitting the art duties between them, Mike Feehan and Manuel Bracchi do a grand job of bringing the epic close quarters battle to life, as well as the drama of Sisko facing up to his fate. It still seems remarkable how the writers and artists alike have managed to bring Lower Decks’ Shaxs to life, and not come across like the one-dimensional, violence-loving fanatic seen in cartoon form, but a character with a bit of actual depth to him.
Of course, having somebody a bit tasty with hand-to-hand combat comes in handy in a scenario like this, so at least he has a chance to be in his wheelhouse for much of this action-laden issue. It also happens to be quite refreshing to see the original characters of Mx. T’Lir and Lily Sato get something to actually do, rather than being inscrutably enigmatic and wacky, respectively. Both legacy and new personnel end up being reasonably well served here, in a chapter of the story which manages to ramp up the tension a few more notches, leaving us on a double jeopardy ’twofer’ cliffhanger.
Star Trek #9 is out now from IDW Publishing.