Right at its very core, Star Trek has arguably been very much focused upon families: both those linked by blood, and those which you choose.
In the case of the latter, take a look at the likes of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, who forged a bond as close as any which could be the result of genetics, to the extent that the trio even spent their shore leave together in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Even though Kirk and Spock both had actual brothers, their connection was as close and fraternal as what they had with their own relatives, if not more so. Shipmates would grow to become more than mere colleagues or friends, which is only natural, given the extended periods which they would spend in each other’s company.
Familial relationships would also develop in other ways, like in the marital unions of William Riker and Deanna Troi, Worf and Jadzia Dax, and Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres. Parents and children also form part of the rich tapestry which is Star Trek, with examples of this being seen in Benjamin and Jake Sisko, Beverly and Wesley Crusher, or Rom and Nog. With the latest issue of IDW’s lead Star Trek title, we get to see some of these different connections playing out, as the crew of the USS Theseus finally have a little downtime in which they can try to recover from the events which played out in the Day Of Blood storyline.
For fans of the franchise, the idea of ‘family’ takes on a much broader meaning, as it can refer to characters who hail from throughout the canon, and so the Star Trek family can reach right across almost six decades of exploring the galaxy. Here, we have members from different branches of the family tree meeting up in a way that we never saw on screen, but which – in this particular context – makes perfect sense, as Sisko is feted for his efforts in stopping Kahless II from carrying out his plan to reign down chaos by killing off higher beings and godlike entities from across creation.
Being commanding officer of the Starship Theseus, Sisko is very much the metaphorical ‘father’ of his crew. Writing duo Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing show us all just how heavy hangs the head which wears that crown, as Sisko is delivered some news which threatens to break up his established team as he is assigned a new mission, with scarcely chance to draw breath and recover himself. While all of this is unfolding over at Starfleet Command, Sisko’s crew are taking the chance to try and address some issues of their own with family, be they biological or extended. This presents us with an opportunity to explore some of their inner thoughts, as well as their lives away from their duties.
Of course, Star Trek is not a story of introspection and going on voyages of self-discovery, so Kelly and Lanzing manage to balance this out nicely with what the saga is chiefly all about: encountering alien life forms and – where necessary – doing a little bit of cowboy diplomacy. Sisko has prior experience of the Tzenkethi Coalition from his posting to the USS Okinawa earlier in his career alongside Ensign Sato’s father, making a further family connection. In the best traditions of Trek, the Tzenketh are vicious bipedal dinosaurs, bringing to mind the Gorn, although thanks to Marcus To’s art, we have no risk of them resembling a lumbering man dressed in a rubber lizard suit.
This new story – ‘A Savage World Of Glass And Bone’ – is off to a promising start, with some lovely kisses to history, and the sense of a crew whose camaraderie which was forged in the heat of battle is now going to face a completely different set of challenges, from both inner and outer space. Star Trek #13 is definitely not unlucky for some.
Star Trek #13 is out now from IDW Publishing.