Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott give us something in Star Trek: Boldly Go #8 that’s been sorely missing from the classic Trek era: zero-gravity combat!

I don’t want to leave out artist Megan Levens on the credit list, as she was the one who visualized the scene for us, but I have to say, that out of all the scenes in this book, that’s the one that really snared my attention.

This is the continuation of a two-arc story as the crew of the Enterp — urk, I mean, Endeavour — along with their trusty underclassmen cadets, attempt to uncover the mystery of the assassinated Romulan delegate. There’s definitely a lot more to this issue than the previous one and we see a good deal of character building along with some exciting combat scenes that culminates with a very entertaining resolution.

It’s a very neatly tied up story that really entertains and welcomes the non-Terrans back to the Federation, which in my opinion, is a dimension that the Kelvin Timeline really doesn’t explore too well.

As I mentioned before, we begin this story with a great space combat encounter with James Kirk and entourage investigating a mysterious spacecraft lurking in the hidden folds of the space, outside the Babel Station where the delicate peace summit has been threatened by the assassination of the Romulan ambassador. The suspect? None other than one of the young Starfleet cadets: Shev, the son of the Andorian ambassador, no less.

There is some exceptional interplay between the characters in this issue. We see Spock mollifying and stalling the Romulan delegation as they are in a hunt for young Shev, who has escaped from custody with the help of Jaylah. The cadets rally to the defence of their own as they recruit Dr. McCoy to allow Vulcan cadet T’Laan the chance to gain access to the body of the Romulan ambassador for some very unique forensic evidence.

We see a lot of involvement from a great deal of the usual cast in addition to the supporting members. It’s certainly a team effort in terms of contributions and performances.

We even get a hint of potential future storyline as Kirk comes face-to-face with his former first officer, Commander Valas, now returned to the Romulan Empire and a member of the Delegation. Why did she readily give up her Starfleet commission — seen in an early Boldly Go issue — and leave the Enterprise? Clearly Mike and Ryan have some future plans in exploring this plot.

There’s also some very entertaining humour in this book as well. When Kirk and his team board the enemy shuttle, Kirk’s big reveal towards the end of the story, and McCoy’s usual banter in the face of danger and even in his ability to charm a coroner into allowing him access to the morgue – there are some funny moments in this book that not only amuse but also speed the plot along quite nicely. In short, this is a very enjoyable read and certainly an engaging story.

There is a great number of cover variants for this book. As a side note, I’d love to know the decision-making process involved in selecting not only the type of covers for a given comic, but also the number. It seems that there is a random amount of covers per book and it would just be good to know how the powers-that-be (aka, editor Sarah Gaydos) determine criteria for this choice.

  • Megan Levens has the honour for the regular cover this month. It’s a gorgeous realization of zero g combat. Ducking asteroids, phaser fire and all sorts of acrobatics make this definitely an engaging and exciting one for readers to want to pick up this book.

  • The subscription cover by Vincenzo Federici features the cadets in a battle-ready pose and probably is the cover that should have gone as the regular one as it seems to be more story-relevant. It’s a fairly dynamic one as well and like I said, it makes me wonder what the criteria for selecting these covers could be.

  • The retailer incentive cover is another publicity photo of Zoe Saldana and John Cho from Star Trek Beyond. Again, this is a photo, and has no place on a comic cover. If you’re going to spend the money, spend it on a good artist’s work.

  • The second retailer incentive is an amazing rendition of Zachary Quinto’s Spock by Cryssy Cheung. This is a gorgeous likeness and is the type of work that IDW should be investing in rather than photos. Leave this as the sole retailer incentive cover – it’s gorgeous and this artist’s work needs more paid exposure. This is definitely my favourite cover and I’d like to see more of this artist’s work.

  • The final cover is a representation of the Funko POP! version of James T. Kirk, and I can’t say that I’m impressed. I prefer covers to either be a stylized or related design that adds to the story or a reader’s appreciation of the characters in some way — rather than a platform for tie-in merchandising.

All in all, there’s a lot to this issue that really entertains a lot of different levels. There’s exciting combat sequences, humour, themes of loyalty and friendship and even a little bit of mystery and intrigue that could develop into future storylines down the line.

Star Trek: Boldly Go #8 had it all and it’s one that Johnson, Parrott and Levens should be proud to take credit for.