Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott combine their literary talents to bring us this next installment of the ongoing saga of the crew of the USS Endeavour under the command of Captain James T. Kirk.
As Boldly Go #6 begins, we see the Endeavour holding station at Starbase K-4 after the battle with the Borg; repairs are effected, casualties transferred and crew assignments are re-organized. Kirk offers the First Officer’s position to Mr. Sulu while Spock and Uhura have returned to Vulcan.
We are also introduced to some completely new characters and Kirk plans to retrieve Commander Valas, the former Romulan first officer of the Endeavour from her captors back on Romulus.
Romulan first officers, different starship and brand new crew members – sounds like completely unconventional Trek, doesn’t it?
Of course, it does – that’s the point. When working on an iconic franchise like Star Trek, sometimes the only way to make a story stand out is to put an unfamiliar and uncomfortable twist on it. New characters, new assignments and even a new ship all work together to make this issue really stand out as Star Trek that fans haven’t seen before.
Of course, that also has the effect of making the story really belong to Parrott and Johnson. The inclusion of Science Officer Ellix, Lieutenant Darwin and the enigmatic Lieutenant Murica is their own contribution to the Trek Universe; well, at the very least, to the Kelvin Timeline.
There is, however, a bit of a rushed pace to this story. It’s clearly a bit of a transition issue in which the characters are established in their various positions and locations while minor event occurs that sets the readers up for a major arc that is yet to occur. There is a lot happening in this issue that, in my humble opinion, seems could have been stretched out a bit. Still, a lot happening means that the reader does not suffer from a lack of boredom.
But the Kelvin Timeline offers writers like Johnson and Parrott the chance to push themselves to the limit. The exploration of this alternative universe is the perfect playground for writers of Trek to push their creativity to the limit and create a story that not only reflects new perspectives of this alternative Star Trek but also reflect parts of their own personalities.
For example, it’s easy to recognize Johnson’s skill with meaningful character dialogue in the exchange between Kirk and Sulu in the aftermath of the Borg’s abduction of Sulu’s family. I particularly enjoyed the brief respectful moment between Hikaru Sulu and his former commanding officer, Captain Terrell. In this reality, Terrell seems to fare a bit better.
Unfortunately, the art doesn’t fare as well. Perhaps it’s a factor of being spoiled by the amazing art of Tony Shasteen or J.K. Woodward and their precision and attention to detail, but for me the art from Chris Mooneyham seemed somewhat rushed and not as polished as I’ve grown accustomed to on this book.
If there’s anything that Shasteen does well, it’s capture likenesses and expressions. In fact, in a conversation I had with J.K. Woodward, he expressed how easy Shasteen makes it look, but in any event, there is a definite absence of expression and detail in this issue and these are things that I have come to expect when I read this book.
Speaking of art, we turn our attention to the variety of covers that IDW is known for when releasing a book.
- The regular cover is a fanciful design by George Caltsoudas in which we see our favourite ship’s surgeon, Dr. Leonard McCoy indulging in a bit of the night-life. Caltsoudas’s art has a somewhat art deco appeal which gives the cover somewhat of a flair.
- The subscription cover is by Tony Shasteen and definitely exemplifies what I was mentioning earlier. This is another of his crew assignment covers and this time features Hikaru Sulu and his assignment posting to the USS Miranda. With respect to the detail he is known for, what’s really cool about this image is that he even catches John Cho’s hair style.
His natural pompadour is certainly recognizable and Shasteen manages to capture that to make the likeness instantly recognizable and accurate. This certainly has to be my favourite cover out of the four.
- The retailer incentive “A” cover is another photo cover, this time featuring Simon Pegg as Montgomery Scott. I wish someone would explain the appeal of a photo on a comic cover to me because I honestly don’t get it. It must be a collector’s thing…
- Retailer incentive “B” cover is another of Marc Laming’s cut-out dolls. Featuring Mr. Scott once more (along with his pint-sized alien accomplice), this is a fun cover that definitely is attention-getting. Complete with a leather jacket, equipped devices and another accomplice, this is a fun cover to collect.
Unconventionality is the name of the game when it comes to this book. Johnson and Parrott have made their own impression on the Trek universe and it’s a great story to follow.
The Kelvin Timeline is a new frontier for this franchise and there’s a lot to encounter and discover… and isn’t that what Star Trek is about?