Advance Review: Journey’s End In `Star Trek Year Five – Experienced in Loss’

by Tom Smithyman


What happened to Kirk to make him accept a promotion to admiral? Why would Spock choose to shed all emotions? Those are some of the questions the final collection in the Star Trek Year Five series attempts to answer. If you’re a fan of the original series, this is pretty much a must-read.


The end of the original Enterprise’s five-year mission has been the stuff of speculation for decades. Cut short after only three years, the original Star Trek ended in 1969. When The Motion Picture debuted a decade later, it found Captain Kirk had accepted a promotion to admiral, Spock on the verge of shunning his remaining emotions and Doctor McCoy had abandoned Starfleet altogether. What led to those stunning decisions was unknown.

IDW Publishing’s Star Trek Year Five series attempted to fill in those gaps, and now the final issues of that series have been collected in a single volume.

The first story, by writer Paul Cornell and artist Christopher Jones finds Kirk falling in love. While the tale lacks much in the way of adventure, it helps to develop the character of the captain-turned-admiral-turned captain in a way that has seldom been attempted before.

The second, multi-part tale sends Spock back to the civil war that ended with the Vulcans and Romulans splitting into different races. Told by writer Brandon Easton and artist Silvia Califano, the story illustrates that history is written by the victors, as that Vulcan legend Surak is not quite the dispassionate leader that the pointy-eared species would have you believe. Most importantly, it demonstrates why Spock decided to choose his Vulcan half over his human side, leading him on the path to rejecting all emotions, as seen in ST:TMP.

The third story details the last epic voyage of the Starship Enterprise, as Kirk and crew attempt to thwart Gary Seven and the Tholians from starting an all-out war with the Federation. Ultimately, though, the story is about dealing with loss – mainly the loss of purpose. As Kirk look ahead to his future after the five-year mission, he must come to grips with a time he doesn’t have as much control over. Ultimately, he faces his own Kobyashi Maru – his no-win scenario.

The final story, aptly titled Epilogue, gives a sneak peak of the bridge crew as they begin their new journeys. Kirk working with the Tholians to hammer out a peace treaty. Uhura and Scotty sparking a romantic relationship. Sulu and Chekov trying their hands at diplomacy. Spock heading to Vulcan to purge himself of all emotional baggage. And Bones building himself a retirement home in the American South – beard already started. It is a nice coda to the strong series that IDW constructed.

While the original Enterprise’s mission may now be over, the franchise’s future clearly remains in good hands with the IDW team at the conn.

Star Trek Year Five – Experienced in Loss will be available for purchase tomorrow.

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