Review: An Incomplete `Star Trek: The Best of Picard’
by Tom Smithyman
Instead of showing some short stories about a fan-favorite Star Trek captain, this incomplete collection reprints four premiere issues of longer stories. That leaves anyone who buy this book with little more than a teaser of much broader stories.
Jean-Luc Picard is a one of the best characters in Star Trek lore, up there with Kirk, Spock, Quark and Seven of Nine. Any celebration of him is welcomed. Well, almost any. IDW’s new collection Star Trek: The Best of Picard is a head scratcher. It’s not because the stories are bad or drawn poorly. Quite the opposite – they are all interesting tales. But they are all also the first parts of longer stories. The reader is left with nothing more than an introduction with no conclusion in sight.
The first is a reprint of The Q Conflict #1 written by Scott and David Tipton and drawn by David Messina reads well enough. It involves a pre-Nemesis Enterprise-E crew exploring a sudden explosion in the number of supernovas. It turns out that everyone’s favorite omnipotent nemesis Q is responsible as he’s trying to show other power aliens who is boss. Those aliens are a selection of original series beings – the Metrons, the Organians and Trelane – along with the crews of classic Trek, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. It’s a great story – though hardly a great showcase of Picard – and it deserves a great a conclusion. But that conclusion won’t be found in this book.
The second selection, The Mirror Broken #1, is also written by the Tiptons, introducing us to the next-gen version of the mirror universe. This story, beautifully depicted by JK Woodward, suffers the same issue as the Q story as it is only the first part of a longer tale. It’s a great tale of the evil Picard, who is still captain of the Stargazer. Instead of the Federation, this bearded Picard serves the human empire, which is fighting the Klingon-Cardassian alliance. Unfortunately, that’s where this part of the story ends.
The third story, Return to Raimon, takes the reader back to the Next Generation’s second season. Written by Michael Jan Friedman and drawn by Pablo Marcus, this installment tells the story of a dying leader of the planet Raimon, with whom Picard struck up a relationship years prior. It’s a fine Picard tale, but ends, just as the story heats up.
The final tale is a setup to the Picard streaming series on Paramount+. It tells the story of now Admiral Picard leading the effort to evacuate Romulans from their homeworld and nearby colonies before its sun explodes (as seen in 2009 Star Trek). The story by Kristen Beyer and Mike Johnson is the stuff of classic Trek. While evacuating Romulan colonists, Picard learns there is a native race of millions of sentient beings on the planet. The Romulans want to leave them, but Picard stands up for them. What happens next? You won’t find out in this book.
With all of these incomplete stories, what is presented as a celebration of a hero instead comes off as a way to make a quick buck from recycled content. Picard fans deserve better.
Star Trek: Best of Picard will be available for purchase on April 20, 2022.