I have been eagerly awaiting the first issue of IDW's new STAR TREK (no subtitle!) comic. Other than solicits and covers, I'd avoided all spoilers or reviews. I just finished reading it and here is my honest review. SPOILER'S AHEAD!
First off, I like the story concept. Someone or some thing is killing god-like aliens and the wormhole aliens, fearing for themselves, send Benjamin Sisko back to normal space/time to solve the puzzle and save the day. Given that we're likely not to get live-action Sisko back any time soon, this has great potential. With a little help, Sisko assembles a ragtag crew, gets his hands on an experimental starship and heads to the place the Prophets told him to go. The story is fast-paced and at times you want the story to explore more of where Sisko finds himself. Despite that, I understand that this is a comic and has a lot of ground to cover in just a few pages.
The story takes place three years after the end of Deep Space Nine and the same year Voyager has returned home. I believe IDW's new line of Trek comics (the next title Star Trek: DEFIANT) will take place in this time period, which is not a bad thing considering Lower Decks and events of Nemesis (and things referenced in Picard) are about a year off. This isn't a lot of time, but allows for a few adventures. Here are my takeaways:
When Sisko comes back, why don't we see any time with the DS9 crew still on the station. Presumably, Ezra and Julian are still there. Kira really never gets in time with Sisko. It feels a little rushed. One thing that confuses me though. Kira is called "Commander Kira", yet she's back in her Bajoran uniform. Is she still Starfleet or back to being a Bajoran Colonel? It's been three years, presumably, she's still in command of DS9, but got no promotion?
Sisko goes to Picard and we get some of the best dialogue in the book. After the Locutus incident, Sisko thinks Picard can sympathize with his predicament and get him a starship. Unfortunately, we never see the Enterprise-E exterior (other than on a couple of the covers). At one point, it almost seems Sisko is demanding that Picard give him the Enterprise, but that may have just been a misreading of the dialogue.
I'm liking the mixture of crew members old and new. It mostly feels organic and not some mishmash. The one character I don't understand is Doctor Crusher. Data and Sisko travel from the Enterprise to their new ship, but it doesn't appear Crusher came with them. We know she was stationed on the Enterprise prior to Nemesis, so where did she come from? In fact, why. not have a line that indicated that Picard had sent a skeleton crew from the Enterprise to help crew the Theseus? It just felt like the writers wanted a big reveal for Beverly, but left me confused.
I'm assuming Ensign Sato, an Andorian, is somehow related to Hoshi, but who knows? I like T'Lir, but he doesn't seem to have the deadpan Vulcan approach that Spock, Tuvok, Selar, Vorik, etc. had. And the starship pronouns conversation "their vs. her" was so off-putting. Please, IDW, stop including 21st century culture war propaganda in 24th century Star Trek. Star Trek, by its nature is woke, you don't need to add these bullshit, forced lines that stick out like a sore thumb.
I like having Tom Paris here, but if B'Elanna is going to be helping Worf out, who's watching Miral? I thought including Scotty was unique. Even the history of the Theseus, Sisko's new ship, is creative. It's basically been refit after refit as an experimental ship all the way back to the Kirk's days. Now, it's sort of Scotty's pet project. I love the bridge design, too. Too bad Data has to stand all the time!
I don't understand the uniforms. Nemesis and Lower Decks make it clear Starfleet hasn't changed uniforms away from the grey and black ones. Lower Decks has an in-universe explanation for having special uniforms, but there seems to be no reason here. I don't buy any "we're experimental operations" or some ignorant reasoning. The Defiant was an experimental ship. So was the U.S.S. Prometheus in Voyager. I wish the current crop of Star Trek series and comics would get their uniform history aligned. It's getting ridiculous to try to explain in canon. And please, IDW, don't have more new uniforms in Star Trek: Defiant!
The final encounter with the crystalline entity was shocking! But I wouldn't have ever classified them as a space god. Rather, they are semi-intelligent, but not omnipotent or omnipresent in anyway. They're more planet killer than Q, so to speak. Speaking of, one might wonder why Qu didn't step in on this little mystery and ask for Picard or Janeway's assistance.
So, is this worth a pick up? Absolutely! It's the freshest I've felt a Trek comic has been in years. IDW has put out some good stuff, but it lacked any coherency since the Kelvin comics ended. The most excited I have ever been about Star Trek comics was when Marvel launched Paramount Comics with Voyager, DS9, Early Voyages, Unlimited and Starfleet Academy. Wow, those were the days! This isn't that exciting yet, but from what I'm seeing (hoping) IDW is heading in the right direction! Hopefully, we see more moving forward than rehashing things like the Mirror Universe or defaulting back to the original series yet again.
My score: four pips out of five.