Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Tony Shasteen
Release Date: 13th January, 2016
Star Trek #53 marks the first main-series Star Trek comic of 2016, Star Trek’s 50th anniversary year, and even with Star Trek Beyond and the promise of news concerning Star Trek’s return to TV in 2017, it remains the comics which I am most excited about. As the 50th anniversary celebrations will undoubtedly focus on the root of the franchise I believe IDW’s ongoing Star Trek comic is the piece of Star Trek media which will continue to reflect the episodic nature of the original property.
It is great, then, to see Mike Johnson, fresh off of a year of large, multi-part crossovers, returning to smaller, two-parter stories; The “episodes” to the crossovers’ “The Motion Picture” scale. Star Trek #53 brilliantly balances the return of a minor film character Gaila, who fans will recognise as Kirk’s fling from his academy days, as well as exploring her species, the Orions.
The awkward, unexpected reunion between Kirk and Gaila runs parallel to Gaila reuniting with her brother, as the two reflect upon their father’s sacrifice in helping them escape the exploitative culture of the Orions. Johnson once again shows that his comics can explore the niche corners of the Trek universe that a fast-paced film simply cannot delve into.
Tony Shasteen provides great work once again, depicting fantastically detailed exteriors and interiors for the Orion homeworld, and great character likenesses (as always). Of particular note is his work in depicting our escaped Orion family on Earth, with incredibly natural posing and facial work helping to sell the family dynamic at work in the scene.
Star Trek #53 plays like the great first half of an old Star Trek episode, exploring an underused alien culture from Trek mythos, bringing in side characters and fleshing out their backstories, and ultimately ending on a cliffhanger full of suspense and family drama. If Johnson and Shasteen can keep this up throughout 2016, then Star Trek can really have no better 50th birthday present.
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The Writer of this piece was: Andrew Stevens
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