IDW’s Star Trek – Comic Round-up Review

Lee Thacker attempts to catch up with some of the many Star Trek lines from IDW Publishing! We’re looking at Day Of Blood – Shaxs’ Best Day, Star Trek #12, and Star Trek: Defiant #8.

IDW’s grand cross-franchise Star Trek comic event Day Of Blood comes roaring to a truly explosive climax, with a one-shot spin-off, an epic finale, and a repositioning of pieces in readiness for what now lies ahead for the various characters under the publisher’s plans covering a missing period of the sci-fi property’s continuity on screen.

Given how understandably serious the tone of Day Of Blood has been, with events taking place on a cosmic scale, dealing with the murder of gods and the planned rise of a whole new galactic order, it was natural that someone like Shaxs from Lower Decks would be pitched slightly differently than the violence-loving religious adherent with a taste for cross-species bestiality we know from that cartoon. Taking Lower Decks characters out of their natural habitat is something we are now familiar with, thanks to the episode of Strange New Worlds which saw Boimler and Mariner having a literal extra dimension to them.

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Shaxs has also had extra depth and gravitas in his portrayal in Day Of Blood, making him more in keeping with the other Trek alumni. However, one-off Shaxs’ Best Day gives him a piece of the action all to himself, as writer Ryan North sends the USS Cerritos’ Security Chief off with a signature blend of mayhem and carnage. If you can stand the near-guaranteed tonal whiplash between this and the rest of the Day Of Blood story, there is just so much to enjoy here, especially in artist Derek Charm’s perfectly capturing both the look and feel of Lower Decks, and also making sure that Shaxs is perfectly in his element in the OTT orgy of violence and destruction that ensues.

Meanwhile, back at the main story, in issue #12 of IDW’s lead Star Trek title we get a rush to stop the Klingon figurehead Kahless II from carrying out his deadly plan, as the odds are mounting against our heroes being able to win the day. The writing team of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing have such an awful lot to try and pack in, and not many pages in which to do it, particularly with battles which are being carried out on so many fronts. Such a relentless onslaught taking place against the Starfleet crews has been set up to leave them all in various forms of jeopardy, each seeming equally parlous, with little prospect of victory in sight.

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Events have been balanced on a knife (or, perhaps somewhat more aptly, bat’leth) edge, and as well as such a huge cosmic scale to proceedings, there are also smaller, more personal stakes, such as the conflict between Worf and estranged son Alexander, who had been set up for a confrontation, with all the bad blood between them, and now having the prospect of a possible reconciliation seemingly snatched away. Although a victory by our assembled heroes was never really in doubt, one last lingering loose end crops up, and denies us the truly satisfying conclusion we needed, feeling instead as though this has been the set-up for another story.

With the breathless pace of events taking place over so many issues and titles in IDW’s Star Trek range, there is finally the prospect for the characters to try and lick their wounds, both physical and emotional, in issue #8 of Star Trek: Defiant. For so many, the cost has been high, and with all of the events of Day Of Blood hopefully behind them, there is a reckoning to be had for some, with the consequences of their actions now catching up with them. Writer Christopher Cantwell has the task of showing us the aftermath playing out, with prospects not appearing particularly favourable for those looking to try and argue that the ends justified the means.

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For those who know the lay of the land in that period during which Star Trek: Picard is set, there are certain requirements that need to be met in terms of where some of the characters have to end up by the start of that series, in order to maintain continuity. However, there is still a certain amount of wiggle room available in which writers like Cantwell can play, giving sufficient space and time to do something quite unexpected, as opposed to charting a predictable course. Rather than just setting things up for where we know certain people will have to end up, the issue actually doubles down on the direction in which this comic book series has been headed, offering quite the exciting set of prospects for the future.

Rather than being full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, the ongoing Day Of Blood event has been a bold and worthy experiment, being able to use a far larger canvas than could be used on television for various reasons. The stewardship of Star Trek’s comics incarnation certainly appears to be in safe hands if all the creative talent involved here can continue in the same vein. Far better to be adventurous and risk failure, than to simply play safe and tread water.

Day Of Blood – Shaxs’ Best Day, Star Trek #12, and Star Trek: Defiant #8 are available now from IDW Publishing.

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