If you were looking for one word to describe the nature of Star Trek: Boldly Go #7, it would have to be “frantic.”
I mean, IDW’s production staff must have been working at warp speed to get this issue out a week after the last one, and I found the pace of this book to be fairly rushed, and you can see it in the dialogue and the transitions. It really had an influence on the book.
The story so far: the Borg are the real threat in the quadrant and the combined action with the Romulans offers the promise of peace with them. The Endeavour is slated to pick up diplomatic delegates to meet at a planet designated Babel for a peace conference to discuss an alliance to defend against future possible offensive actions.
During this time, the Endeavour has a group of cadets on board, to assist in the capacity of diplomatic aides at the conference: the cast of last year’s Starfleet Academy series, along with Star Trek Beyond’s newest recruit, Jaylah. In short, the conference does not go off as planned, and even Kirk’s captured Romulan first officer is present… though not in the role that Kirk would have preferred.
The initial re-introduction to the cadets happens very fast, assuming readers have already read the Academy miniseries. Scotty addresses them; Kirk arrives to greet them and Jaylah is briefly reunited with him. They also meet the disapproving Andorian Ambassador – one of the delegates to Babel, and father to one of the cadets. In three pages, we see three subplots quickly set up that all have bearing on the main storyline in this book. it’s quite a feat of story-structuring by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott.
It’s a lot to for the dialogue to carry. The dialogue around these events is pretty choppy and brief. Cadet Shev’s father clearly disapproves of his son’s role in Starfleet, but the underlying problem with this is then why is he there in the first place? This was a little more complicated a subplot than the dialogue allowed for, and I feel that it needed more attention than a dismissive and curt admonition to not embarrass his family.
The setting was a combination throwback to both “Journey to Babel” and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. While this can be considered a salute to these worthy Trek presentations, it was also a bit expected. To be fair though, if anyone were to think of a diplomatic setting for a Trek story, then Babel would clearly be the first thought. However, I found that the main plot seemed very similar to Undiscovered Country, particularly with the similarity between Chancellor Gorkon and the Romulan Ambassador.
This issue is literally crammed with events. It felt like there was a lot to happen in this story, but there had been a lesser amount of issues allocated for the story arc. That’s just my opinion, but that’s what it felt like to me.
With so much going on in this book, it must have been difficult to keep track of everything. I found a slight editing error. The new communications officer’s name was misspelled from the last time we met him. Is it Lieutenant Murica, or Murcia? While this is a minor issue, it also adds credence to the hurried nature of this issue. It’s almost as if this book had to get out this week for some scheduling reason.
I was also introduced to a new artist: Megan Levens. I’m not familiar with her work, but on first glance, I found it a little too cartoony. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I didn’t like it; but a property like Star Trek has a certain gravitas to it and the art needs to be less informal.
I don’t know if that makes sense but I feel that when you are dealing with characters referenced from film, likenesses and exact dimensions need to be applied. Perhaps I’m being too fanboy-reverential or spoiled by Tony Shasteen’s incredible work, but the art seemed very whimsical and carefree, and not within the character of the franchise. Even the Romulan Ambassador’s facial expressions seemed out of place for the situation. I’d venture the opinion that it wasn’t the art for this book.
Looking at the covers, I also have to admit that I wasn’t overly impressed with the diversity of choices for this book.
- The only notable exception was Cryssy Cheung’s work on the ‘B’ retailer-incentive cover (above, far right); what a shame that it will be only published in limited quantities. A stunning portrayal of Zoe Saldana’s Uhura, this is by far the best cover out of the four choices IDW has provided for us.
- George Caltsoudas’s regular cover is a fairly unexciting one of Kirk and Spock, flanked by cadets in the background. I describe Caltsoudas’s style as art deco, though in my limited art appreciation, I may be slightly inaccurate. Still, there is a very definitive flavour to his work that is extremely personalized and recognizable.
- The subscription cover by Garry Brown is a little rough and undefined. I find it to be somewhat rushed – strangely in tempo with the nature of this issue, ironically, – though possessing of a dramatic flair.
- The ‘A’ retailer-incentive is simply a photo of Zachary Quinto’s Spock and really has no place on a comic cover.
All in all, it was a passable issue that had a tremendous amount of story events and background plots but I couldn’t help but get the sense that it was rushed and had a sense of imperativeness in its execution — and I can say that I am eagerly looking forward to Tony Shasteen’s return to this title.
Hopefully the next issue will slow down a bit and return to its usual level of excellence.