Review – Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 (of 5) (IDW Publishing)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer(s): Mike Johnson, Ryan Parrott
Artist: Derek Charm
Release Date: 16th December, 2015

After the absolutely cracking main Star Trek comic that IDW has somehow managed to not only fire out every single month, but also maintain such a high level of quality with, it was almost inevitable that spin-offs would arrive hot on its heels. And whilst it’s not exactly the worst thing that’s ever happened – at the end of it all, it’s still the Trek you know and love – this first issue doesn’t make quite the same impact that its ongoing counterpart  did.

There are two disparate stories at play here, one featuring more familiar faces in Uhura, Spock, Kirk and Chekhov, who are on the trail of a strange signal that may or may not be a distress beacon, coming from a restricted area; and the other featuring a new band of likely rogues entering a celebratory competition of sorts that’ll test their viability as Starfleet officers.

It’s interesting enough, though the fact that it does appear, at this point at least, to be two separate stories crammed into a single issue unfortunately leaves both feeling a little thin. My story-sense tells me that they’ll like-as-not see themselves twisting together in later issues, but it would have perhaps been nice to see them do so early on. As it stands, it does feel a little like we’ve gotten two half-comics, instead of one complete one.

Still, the characterisations are strong enough to buoy up the issue’s story – the returning main Star Trek cast all read pretty-much exactly like their screen incarnations, though Spock does devolve into borderline logical-sounding nonsense in a couple of lines. The new folk are fairly strongly-wrought, though they do suffer from only having a half issue to get any kind of development in.

The art, as a whole, is pretty decent, capturing the look – if not the lens-flare – of the reboot series rather elegantly. There are a couple of moments where it looks like the setting might be a regular-old high-school having a cosplay event, though this never really detracts from the look of the book.

Ultimately, it’s a well-put-together issue that unfortunately, doesn’t immediately scream ‘this series needs picking up’. There’s potential, certainly, and I’d be happy to gamble that it’ll get far more interesting as it picks up steam. For the moment, though, it’s not quite enough to steal December from that other Stellar Adventure.

Rating: 3/5.

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RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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