Advance Review: Revisiting Jean-Luc’s First Command In `Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer’ #1
by Tom Smithyman
The series is off to a good start with a creative team that seems to understand Star Trek. Some inspired artwork from Angel Hernandez captures the essence of Jean-Luc Picard at different points in his life. It’s a remarkable feat and a highlight of the issue.
For Jean-Luc Picard, before there was the USS Enterprise, there was the USS Stargazer.
Picard’s first command, years before he became captain of the Enterprise-D, ended with the ship’s abandonment following a battle with the Ferengi. A new version of the vessel debuted during the most recent season of Star Trek: Picard.
To tide fans over before the third and final season debuts next year, IDW has introduced a new three-part limited series featuring Picard, Seven of Nine and the new ship. In it, Picard returns to the Stargazer to revisit a planet he first visited while he commanded the previous incarnation of the ship. With his typical cunning, Picard was able to defuse an encounter with the Romulans and leave the pre-warp civilization in peace. Decades later, though, there appears to be no life on the planet.
Written by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson, this initial issue reintroduces us to some familiar characters while setting up a new mystery for them to solve. The creative team has done a good job in crafting story feels very much like an extended episode of a Trek series. And it looks as though they are setting up some significant character development for Seven – which is both welcome and rare for a comic book tie in.
(There is, though, a continuity issue with the Romulans that will bother the true Trekkers who are devoted to canon. It can be easily looked passed, but it will certainly irritate some.)
Artist Angel Hernandez has nailed the look and feel of the older Picard. And the juxtaposition of the retired admiral with his younger self is striking. It goes beyond just his hair (another continuity issue if you’re a fan of Star Trek: Nemesis), but rather Hernandez captures kinetic energy of the younger version. It’s a remarkable difference, yet both feel authentic.
Whether the Stargazer appears in the next season of the Paramount+ show or not, it’s fun for fans to revisit the starship and to reunite with old friends. The creative team gets what works for Trek, so readers should be in for a good ride to the final frontier.
Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer #1 will be available for purchase on August 31, 2022.