Bonding A Crew The Starfleet Way: Reviewing ‘Star Trek’ #2
by Scott Redmond
‘Star Trek’ continues to bring bold concepts and intriguing mixes of characters together while adding so much to the almost sixty-year-old tapestry that is Star Trek. One of the things central to Trek shows has been the characters that we follow around, and those crew dynamics start to really form and gel in this second issue.
A powerful force is annihilating other god-like beings and one Starfleet crew is all that stands in their way. IDW’s return to publishing an ongoing Star Trek series hit warp speed in the first issue and does not slow down at all with the second.
After such a huge devastating ending to the first issue, it would be natural for things to start off loud and huge here but Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing take things in a more natural beneficial direction. Sisko is in some ways a man out of time, not only because he was missing for years but because he was living outside of time with the prophets, and this is not his crew that was his family. It would be easy to just say all these characters, new & old, just gel as a crew but instead, we get something far more realistic of seasoned folks having to learn to trust and work together.
Issue one was a bit of a stellar whirlwind what with having to introduce all the characters as well as the mission and threat, so it’s nice that here we can take a bit to step back and have deeper crew interactions. Adding Worf to the mix, a face familiar to both Sisko as well as Data and Crusher, is a great way to enhance the mixing of these crews since he’s already a character that bridges together two of the series of that Trek era. Also, more Worf in anything is always welcome as the character is just amazing no matter where he appears.
Building that trust between this crew pops up most in some moments between Sisko and Data, stemming from disagreements of a sort about threatening the Klingon/Starfleet alliance by going to Sarkadesh as well as protocol about Captain away missions. It is funny to really see this last point come up since it was popping up all the time in TNG, but with the more affixed less starship angle of DS9, it wasn’t something Sisko ever really had to worry about (also helped that his first officer wasn’t from Starfleet). Having Sisko’s view of Data instantly change after how the first officer handled the dire situation with the Shapers of Sarkadesh, not only was a great payoff to the aforementioned friction but is exactly how you build the crew’s trust. Just like in DS9 with Sisko and Kira, the moment that the captain and first officer are on the same page and have mutual respect it can connect a crew easily.
Sisko’s bolder no-nonsense sort of command style, this of course is not the first nor last time the man has cast all ‘rules’ and such aside to accomplish what he thinks is right, pairs actually pretty great with Data’s more tempered and logical standpoint. It should prove to be quite interesting to see their relationship grow moving forward.
Building this cast out of characters from various Star Trek shows allows for more than just fan joy at characters meeting up and interacting (though that is amazing). It allows an exploration of a variety of realms that might have gotten more or wider development in one show over another. Take the Klingons for example.
Our glimpse into the Klingon’s new situation was very illuminating, especially since it built off so much of what we saw from both TNG and DS9. The former series was foundational in building much of what we know about the houses and council and how Klingon society works, while the latter took that even further and expanded it as we spent even more time on Klingon ships and watched how essentially a coup works in their system. We now still have Martok as Chancellor with a council that opposes his ways, which allows the clone Khaless to have a much bigger stage and a bit more control as the ceremonial Emperor.
Last issue characters outside of TNG got to see Crystalline Entities, next issue everyone seemingly will get to interact with Q. The possibilities are endless for what realms and places this series can go, picking and choosing pieces from all Trek lore to play with. I for one cannot wait to see where we’re going next.
Oleg Chudakov steps into this issue following the work that Ramon Rosanas delivered in the first issue, with Lee Loughridge still on colors. Just like a great many actual Star Trek episodes, this issue heavily features the characters standing or sitting around having discussions with a bit of action that pops up near the midpoint. It gives plenty of space for Chudakov to present these characters and various locales, hitting a point where there is a strong likeness to the actors without going to the point of just drawing true-life pictures of actors in a comic book. In the first few pages Worf is a bit hard to recognize, but within a few pages that quickly works out and he’s very much the Worf that we see on screen and in our mind.
We get some nice shots of the ship, both cruising through space and in battle, and Sarkadesh/The Shapers are intriguing visuals. I do really like how Chudakov uses the panels, making great use of negative space borders and closeups for maximum emotional effect in many areas. That slow zoom-in to Khaless before he just shuts Sisko and crew down is pretty amusing and powerful.
One thing that carries across the two issues is just how varied and gorgeous the colors are that Loughridge brings into play. No two spaces feel the same, coming in with entirely different visuals from the orangeness of Qo’nos to the darkness of Kahless’ throne room right into the red filtered quarters of Worf and the bright greens and blues of the Theseus bridge into the bright purples and pinks of Sarkadesh and the Shapers. It just makes everything pop and stands out in distinct ways, while reinforcing that these worlds and people and things are all their own spaces and aren’t just cookie-cutter worlds. In many ways, they are able to accomplish what was harder for the shows of old to do, make various alien worlds look unique rather than similar because they were filmed in quarries or wooded areas generally around Los Angeles.
Oh also, one of the first things that I just loved in this issue was the choice to play with the colors on the opening page. Having Sisko (and then the Qo’nos backdrop) be the only thing in vivid color while the rest of the scenes were greyed out as he’s thinking hard about what they’ve been through and how this crew isn’t fully on board yet is perfect. It visually tells us how alone he feels in this moment, along with how much his own thoughts/words tell us this.
Another returning member of the creative team is letterer Clayton Cowles, keeping the energy going from the first issue with spot-on voices and visual flair. One thing I really love is the aspect of the caption boxes having the uniform and pips aspect on the side, just as a really cool addition that in the future if others get them just makes it 100% clear who is doing the speaking/thinking.
Cowles makes sure that so much of the dialogue stands out just as much as Loughridge’s colors do for the visuals. Just like the scenes, there are changes made to the colors and shape of fonts so that characters speaking Klingon stands out from the standard basic English. Sure the words themselves would be distinct enough, but it makes them pop even more and pays off later when Worf peppers some Klingon into his speech during his showdown with a Klingon ship near Sarkadesh.
A big kudos to the continued well-conceived use of the data pages here, which are visually appealing and bring a lot of context to situations so that characters don’t have to spend time telling us. I mean hell, reading the Klingon Defense Force saga about Sarkadesh is so poetic and just a joy. So much thought is going into this series from everyone involved, and that along with their love of the franchise shows up on every single page clearly.
Star Trek #2 is now available from IDW Publishing.