Going on four years, IDW has published an ongoing Star Trek comic book; it’s written by Mike Johnson with story consulting by Roberto Orci. The series is set firmly within the new timeline started in the 2009 film by J.J. Abrams. I’ve long been a fan of Star Trek, particularly the original series and The Next Generation. While I grew up with The Next Generation, I’m significantly far more educated in T.O.S. When Star Trek came out in 2009, I fondly remember seeing it with friends and family and was moved to tears multiple times at an advance screening. I’ve largely admired the work IDW publishes and the licenses they have; nothing short of impressive. This Wednesday, August 5th, sees the release of issue 48 of Star Trek ongoing and with it comes the start of a new two-part story – “Deity.”
Star Trek continues the story of the five year mission that truly began after the events of Star Trek: Into Darkness. James T. Kirk has come into his own as Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701. While scouting territory never explored by mankind, the Enterprise arrives in the Alpha Quadrant, specifically the Banks-216 system. Instead of exploring one of the planet’s himself, Captain Kirk chooses Sulu to lead the away team mission. “One thing I’m sure of is that you’ll be the captain of a starship one day” he tells the helmsman and it’s a great acknowledgement of Sulu’s future responsibility as Captain of the U.S.S. Excelsior.
“Deity” part one plays out like an episode of the television series and while Mike Johnson’s script isn’t complex by any means, it’s for this very reason that makes Star Trek ongoing and issue 48 so much fun. Sulu chooses his away team and once they land on the planet it’s soon apparent that the expedition won’t be as simple as just studying the population and habitat. The team encounters an odd structure with several carved symbols. A new character, Science Officer Ferdowsi, notes that the towers appear to be ceremonial of some kind and of the possibility that it’s used for astronomical calculations as other pre-warp cultures. Their security officer, Lt. Cordry (a red shirt), picks up multiple targets heading their way, on her tricorder, so the team is then able to test Mr. Scott’s “rudimentary form of holographic technology.” It’s a cloaking curtain that brings to mind the one used in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Of course with a storm fast approaching and the cloaking curtain failing, the away team led by Sulu is soon discovered by a group of bird-like, alien chicken people. As Sulu notes in his helmsman’s log, “The Prime Directive has been shattered. My only consolation is that things can’t get any worse…can they?” To be continued!
There’s a little more to “Deity” Part One that sets up this ritualistic sequence among the population of alien bird chickens. (They have yet to be named.) There’s also a set up with a crescent shaped ship appearing before the Enterprise that is sure to guarantee contact between Kirk’s crew and theirs. One of the greatest strengths of Mike Johnson’s story is of how direct it is without sacrificing an authentic Star Trek voice. Whether or not you enjoyed J.J. Abrams altered timeline, Star Trek ongoing manages to create a balance that remedies both timelines in even a greater way that a 2 hour plus film could not. Star Trek ongoing, in particular issue 48, feels like a lost episode of the animated series that aired shortly after The Original Series third and final season.
The art for Star Trek is simply beautiful and it’s easily one of the best looking comics out there. I’ve long enjoyed Tony Shasteen’s interior work and covers. He easily goes beyond the work of Tim Bradstreet, by not so much delivering a heavily processed photo cover or interiors that offer pre-existing imagery, but gives the reader new work that, while easily reflecting that of the cast, is completely new. His renditions of the planets and aliens are just as stunning as to how much he captures Chris Pine’s Kirk, Simon Pegg’s Scotty, and John Cho’s Sulu to name a few. Tony Shasteen is one of the best artists out there as he’s able to create a compelling and adventurous portrait of Mike Johnson’s script, complete with every nuance!
Star Trek issue 48 is out now and gets five out of five stars.
Star Trek #48
Writer: Johnson, Mike
Artist: Shasteen, Tony
Cover Artist: Shasteen, Tony
On Sale: August 05, 2015
Product ID: JUN150378