Star Trek #10 – Comic Review

For the most part, the original Star Trek series traditionally told self-contained tales, with each of the episodes having a definite conclusion to them (barring the anomaly that was ‘The Menagerie’, which was a two-parter). All of this began to change with The Next Generation, thanks to ‘The Best Of Both Worlds’ not only creating the tradition for Trek to have multi-part stories, but also an end-of-season finale, which would sometimes finish with a big climactic moment ‘To Be Continued’ after an agonising wait.

However, the idea of having cliffhangers was nothing new to the franchise, if you think about it. When you study just how the template was set back in the original series, there would be a pre-credits sequence, used as a ‘hook’ to get the viewers not to touch that dial, and then the big build up at the end of each part, right before a fade to black going to a commercial break, challenging the audience to carry on after the adverts. Yes, in the best tradition going all the way back to the black and white movie serials of days gone by, Star Trek has had its fair share of cliffhanger moments.

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In a format like comics, where a single adventure can stretch over several issues, a gripping ending to each instalment is a pre-requisite, and there was certainly no finer example of it than with the last issue of IDW’s lead Star Trek title. Facing a day of reckoning at the hands of Cardassian ‘justice’ in a trial held in the public gaze, Captain Benjamin Sisko and counsel – as well as estranged former spy – Garak faced the prospect of death by firing squad, with seemingly no hope of reprieve or escape. Without giving anything away, the resolution that comes about – courtesy of writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing – is both unexpected and appropriate.

It also serves to remind us that, following their prominence in Deep Space Nine, the Cardassians have faded from sight in the franchise, which seems not only a terrible shame, but also a puzzling oversight. They were part of a seismic shift in the status quo, through their involvement in the Dominion War, and yet with the end of DS9, there seems to have also been an end to their story. Thankfully, with IDW’s Star Trek comic being so heavily influenced by DS9, the Cardassians have once more had a role to play, and so we find ourselves keeping up with them again.

Kelly and Lanzing’s take on Sisko is also an interesting one, addressing the plurality of his nature, being variously part of a species’ religious iconography; a man out of place (as well as, literally, time) following his ascendancy; a leader; a peace maker, as well as a warrior; and a family man. Having all that to contend with makes Sisko a very complex individual, one who perhaps never got due credit when DS9 was still on the air. While the series appears to have suffered from ‘middle child’ syndrome, it was also perhaps quite ahead of its time and, with its themes becoming more relevant, is now due to have a much-needed reappraisal.

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Hopefully, Kelly and Lanzing’s work can help play a part of that process, and while it may end up being superseded and overwritten by as-yet undetermined future plans or developments for Star Trek on TV (or streaming services), this may help us appreciate what we left behind. The tale is still something of a creative jamboree, quite a mish-mash of varying cross-franchise elements, some of which manage to sit together rather more naturally or comfortably than in the case of others. Perhaps the best description for something of this nature in Trek terms would be a ‘SmörgåsBorg’.

All of the paths laid out so far in both this main Star Trek title and its companion, Defiant, are now leading toward the big forthcoming event, Day Of Blood, seeing the culmination of months of careful work and preparation. It is to be hoped the ultimate destination proves to be as satisfying – if not even moreso – as the journey (or continuing voyage) has been so far.

Star Trek #10 is out on 12th July from IDW Publishing.

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