IDW’s Star Trek series released its 53rd issue this past week. It’s amazing for us Trekkers to realize we’ve been supporting, enjoying, and following an ongoing Star Trek comic book for over four years now. 53 issues! In many ways IDW’s Star Trek ongoing has served as the ultimate validation and legitimization of J.J. Abrams relaunch of the series with the 2009 film. Star Trek by Mike Johnson, with story consultation by Roberto Orci, began the year leading up to 2013’s Into Darkness, and now we are finally at a place within the series in which Johnson takes us on the five-year mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
“Reunion” Part 1 of 2 does what every great issue of IDW’s Star Trek does – it boldly goes into territory only hinted or teased within the films. Mike Johnson’s 53rd issue reintroduces us to The Orions, and gives us a backstory on the character Gaila. The green skinned Orion girl should be familiar to fans of 2009’s Star Trek as she was played by Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, SyFy’s Continuum) and was not only Cadet Uhura’s roomate, but also Cadet Kirk’s brief bedfellow. It’s great seeing Gaila back in Star Trek as there were thoughts that she may have died during the events of 2009’s Star Trek. “We don’t know, obviously, did Gaila die? Did she get blown up? Is she alive?” Nichols said in an interview with StarTrek.com and now fans have their answer – she’s alive, a Lieutenant science officer on the U.S.S. Tereshkova.
A year ago when Marvel launched their cannon Star Wars comics, fans were equally excited as much as they were divided. Original material that fans embraced was now no longer accepted, whereas other plots were. As a Star Trek fan, despite having two-timelines, most material is accepted despite there being a school of thought that whatever appeared on screen was cannon whereas everything off screen wasn’t. I love Mike Johnson’s work on IDW’s Star Trek and it’s massively rewarding to have been following it for so long. In regards to story lines like “Reunion”, it helps having an editor like Sarah Gaydos, along with Roberto Orci as the story consultant. Trek fans are ensured they are getting a story line of the highest quality and with the utmost attention being paid to what is cannon and what isn’t. There should no longer be a question of Gailia’s existence post-Into Darkness as Star Trek issue 53 takes place during the five-year mission which begins after the events of the 2013 film.
Tony Shasteen’s artwork is equally impressive and the skill of his pencils are only brought out by the magnificent coloring by Davide Mastrolonardo. Each panel retains the Star Trek aesthetic from the J.J. Abrams series while maintaining enough nods to reminds us of its humble beginnings on CBS. Shasteen and Mastrolonardo’s work on Star Trek ongoing also provide a nice balance to Star Trek: Starfleet Academy by artist Derek Charm.
I’m happy to see “Reunion” Part 1 of 2 reintroduce us to Gaila and The Orions. They have always been such an iconic part of Star Trek and Rachel Nichols’ character was a lot of fun in the 2009 film. Star Trek is in safe hands with Mike Johnson and 53 issues into the IDW series (and its 50th year), I could not be more proud as a Trekker to have this title on a monthly basis!
IDW’s Star Trek issue 53 is out now. It gets five stars.
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