Advance Review: Pike And Crew To The Rescue In `Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Illyrian Enigma’ #1
by Tom Smithyman
Picking up just after the cliffhanger in the show’s season finale, this limited series tries to shine some like on the mysterious Illyrians. With a script that sounds like it belongs on Paramount+ and artwork that makes it easy to recognize each character, this initial issue feels like slipping into a comfy pair of slippers.
While episodic in nature, the newest Star Trek series, Strange New Worlds, ended its premiere season on a cliffhanger – with first officer Una Chin-Riley under arrest for failing to report her illegal genetic modifications.
That surprise development shocked Captain Christopher Pike and his crew, laying the foundation for the beginning of next season’s story arc. It also sets up the newest Trek limited series from IDW, which bridges the gap between the two seasons. In it, Pike and crew take it upon themselves to investigate the mysterious Illyrians, Chin-Riley’s species.
While the Illyrians were featured in a few episodes, little is known about them, so the Enterprise boldly goes in search of answers. It’s a far cry better than the milk run of a mission that Starfleet assigns them to.
Writers Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson have nailed the characters’ dialogue. That’s not surprising given that Johnson has written his fair share of Trek stories and Beyer is a co-executive producer on the streaming series. But regardless of the pair’s pedigree, the text comes off sounds like an episode from Paramount+. Few other writers could produce such an authentic outcome.
Artist Megan Levens’ style is deceptively simple. There’s not a lot of complex artwork going on here. The level of detail is not what you’ll find in a many other books. And yet, she nails the essence of each character. Pike and Spock look like the characters we watch every week. While more detail would be nice, Levens knows how to get her point across. (A special shout-out to variant cover artist Chris Fenoglio for his hilarious Lower Decks-style take on Pike and his hair, which must cover half a parsec. That cover alone is worth the price of the book.)
The creative team has done a good job of setting up the story. Now comes the difficult part – paying it off in a satisfying way over three more issues while leaving something juicy for the new streaming season. If this first issue is any indication, they shouldn’t have much trouble.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Illyrian Enigma #1 will be available for purchase tomorrow.