Space, the final frontier. The USS Enterprise was on a five-year mission from Starfleet to seek out life and new civilizations. In the televised world, the fourth and fifth years never happened. IDW Publishing has shown us part of Year Four, now they bring us Year Five. Take the jump for our review of Star Trek: Year Five #1 after the jump.
Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Stephen Thompson
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Regular Cover: Greg Hildebrandt
Cover A: J. J. Lendl
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: April 24, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in STAR TREK: Star Trek never fulfilled their fourth and fifth year mission within our world, but in their universe, IDW provided us with the Year Four series that called back to some of the classic episodes, and now they bring us a fifth year. What does that lost year hold for the crew of the Enterprise and her captain? Let’s find out!
A CAPTAIN GOES DOWN WITH HIS SHIP
On the anniversary of their five year mission, the crew of the starship Enterprise is, effectively, saving the lives and potential lives of everyone within ten thousand light years of their current position. Starfleet has detected the Lloyd Zeta hypergiant, the largest stellar object ever discovered, is in the process of going to explode. To stop this, they have dispatched device that will harness the energy flowing from the star and feed it through a wormhole, effectively containing it and allowing the massive star to stabilize. Spock calls it the most dangerous mission the Enterprise has ever untaken, but Kirk seems un-phased as he orders the mission to begin. Therefore, while saving countless lives, the Enterprise is also granted a massive, celebratory light show by nature.
However, not all is perfect. Scotty has been coaxing miracles out of a ship that, technically, is outdated. The mission they just succeeded at has caused damage to the computers, damage which the Science division still have not fixed, despite Scotty submitting the repair orders before the damage happened. But as Scotty and Spock discuss that matter, Doctor McCoy senses that his captain is in need of some liquid refreshment. With Saurian Brandy in hand he tracks James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise down and finds that he is indeed trouble. He has received news from Starfleet, news that changes everything, and may require the ship to return to Earth immediately.
However, while this review started with the diversion of a hypernova, this issue did not. You see, as we started our tale, Captain James T. Kirk is in the captain’s chair of a seemingly unmanned Enterprise, hurtling through space with its saucer flowing red flames of energy. He is being held at phaser point by some unknown figure and is making the last entry into the log of the USS Enterprise.
A STAR SPANNING FIRST ISSUE
Jackson Lanzing (Gotham City Garage, Joyride) and Collin Kelly (Hacktavist, Green Arrow) have an established history as collaborators. They also spent some time in the Star Trek Universe with an inclusion in the 2018 Star Trek: Waypoint special. With their taking the reins of Year Five, they have done something which the printed four-color adventures of Star Trek have not always been able to accomplish: establishing a cinematic feel. From the first page, this title feels larger than other Trek series. Often there is a tendency to follow the formula and the storytelling patterns of the television series. Lanzing and Kelly have broken through that barrier and immediately you feel as if there is a widescreen story being told. It grabs you and leaves you wondering what’s next. This is not your average space story formulaic tale, it aims to be more. So far it is on target.
Establishing that cinematic feel is the artwork of Stephen Thompson (Star Trek: New Frontier, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser). He does this first by nailing the likenesses for the characters. Often a licensed book can seem to have art where the characters have been traced from a photograph or worse, run through a sketch app. Not here. Thompson gets the look of all the characters, the emotions, and expression, but keeps the art in a style of his own. Does he use reference? I would assume so, but there is a difference between a reference and a trace. Secondly, he used wide panels when necessary. There is not a lot of wasted panel space, and he designs them to where they all give that feel of BIG. Double page spreads with individual panels are used but not miss used. There is even a traditional nine-panel page which is one of the most rewarding ones in the book. Really excellent work.
Lastly, because I can’t help but let my inner fanboy out here, there is the cover by Greg Hildebrandt. Oh…my… goodness. It is beautiful. It takes me back to my childhood and seeing the Hildebrandt Brothers work for the first time. He is able to accomplish this “glow” that I do not believe any other artist can match. It is a wonderful thing and also, if my memory serves, his first Star Trek work. IDW, if you ever cared about me, I need this in a full size 16×22 print to hang on the wall of my office.
BOTTOM LINE: ACTION PACKED
Star Trek has always been well known for addressing social issues and being used as a commentary for real-world events. It is also known for a “shoot to kill/we come in peace” mentality and sometimes stands contrary to the very message it tries to promote. This issue dabbles in both of those is no different, but it does it in a very natural and unforced way. The choices made are the choices of the moment. Here, despite all the legend surrounding him, James T. Kirk is still a man. We will have to stay tuned to see if ultimately is a good or bad man.
STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE is a bold step onto the path of a largely unexplored time in Star Trek comic book history. Fans will love it, and casual readers will be won over.
Star Trek: Year Five #1
Great action and intriguing twist make Star Trek: Year Five a must read issue.