The structure of this fourth issue of the I.D.I.C. storyline in Star Trek: Boldly Go #16 definitely differs from the others.

Inasmuch that Mike Johnson has done a fabulous job of reconciling the multiple incarnations of the crew of the USS Enterprise in as individually focused stories as he could in previous issues, this time, think of the proverbial camel’s back and one too many straws, and in the end, will we discover the ends for all the Captains Kirk in this story?

So many Kirks – so many problems.

For me, that isn’t a problem. Hell, with my last name, I’ve got no shortage of admiration for that most revered of my literary heroes. The more Kirks, the better, I say.

In this storyline we have a Floral-Kirk, female Kirk, Klingon Kirk, robot Kirk and then there’s good old-fashioned reliable and Chris Pine’s “normal” Kirk. We follow all three of these Kirks and their assorted crew from other dimensions as we move through the story on the path to discover exactly just what is going on. Where are all of these diverse Star Fleet officers and more importantly, why are they all here?

I imagine this has been a daunting story for Johnson; after all, not only is he balancing the story on several different subplots, but he also has to make sure that the characters are all recognizable enough in their other-dimensional incarnations for us to be comfortable and familiar with them, yet different enough in that they continue to be interesting.

The story so far: we have one group on Vulcan, led by Captain Jane T. Kirk, awaiting their dimension’s Nero to destroy the planet; the Tree-Kirk setting down roots — in a wholly literal sense — on Risa, and the Kirk we know from the Kelvin Timeline films attempting to escape from the Empress Khan.

Johnson separates the three adventures and tells the story from an interrupted “stop-gap” presentation. It’s a very chunky storytelling process but gives the reader a mini-cliffhanger effect as the plot develops. However, the three-part perspective allows for the demonstration of what fans like about Captain Kirk – any Kirk.

It’s no secret: I have always idolized Captain Kirk for a variety of character traits that I deem heroic: his boldness, his quick-thinking in tight situations but more importantly, the ability to extend trust and faith in his friends and to have that returned in kind. It’s this last quality that makes Kirk a good leader and inspires his crew. While there may be an infinite combination of diverse Kirks, at their core they are still one and the same.

I can see this aspect of the character as the foundational basis for this issue, and I find it to be an enjoyable one as it reinforces one of the positive character traits that I like most in a Kirk’s character.

But it all has to come to a close at some point. I am eager to see how Johnson ties it all together. After all, each crew assortment is currently facing different challenges, but these are still minor in comparison to the overall question of how they all got there in the first place.

There has to be a hidden central figure that we haven’t seen yet who is telling the story and calling the shots, so to speak. I’m also still very curious to know the identity of this hidden narrator — I have my suspicions, but that’s something to look forward to.

Looking at the art, I am becoming a big fan of Angel Hernandez’s work. He has a complexity and sophistication in his renderings that leave the viewer with a sense of quality. It is good work and should be acknowledged.

  • Cover A is Hernandez’s – it is a wonderful portrayal of the Spock variants in this story. It inspires a curiosity about the characters and I would love to read a story about the Floral Spock by Mike Johnson. Are there Floral Vulcans? Good covers incite a reader to turn the page and read the book.
     
  • Cover B is a humorous one by Mike Martin, capitalizing on the pervasive popularity of the Funko POP! range of toys. Number 5 of 7 Funko covers covering IDW’s releases, this one sees a Funko Captain Kirk sitting quite comfortably in his command chair. It’s cute but lends nothing to the story within, of course.
     
  • The retailer-incentive A cover is a photo-cover of Chris Pine’s Kirk. While appropriate for the story focus, it’s a photo-cover and I have always stated that comic covers should be the realm of illustrators, not photographers.
     
  • The retailer-incentive B cover is Yoshi Yoshitani’s stylized depiction of an engaged Lieutenant Uhura poring over her console, while a concerned Kirk and a somewhat irritated Spock look on. I can’t say I liked this cover, given that Spock’s face seemed emotional and the entire scene seemed too generic and not relevant to the story.

The end of this issue is also a wonderful homage to the Kirk assurance of the non-existence of the “no-win scenario”, which is also a great lynch-pin for the story’s premise. After all, if you think about, the philosophy of I.D.I.C lends itself well to the Kirk sense of intrepid daring. Infinite diversity is just another way of describing the sense of there always being possibilities.

Kirk can always see his way out of a dangerous and seemingly hopeless situation, but I’m wondering how Mike Johnson is going to write all of the Kirks out of the unfortunate predicaments they find themselves in at the end of this story… with just two more chapters left before Star Trek: Boldly Go ends its run in March.

So many Kirks; so many possibilities!