Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writers: Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly
Artwork: Angel Hernandez
Colours: Fran Gamboa
Lettering: Neil Uyetake
Release Date: 16th September 2020
Packed full of the kind of physical bravado long time Trekkies would have expected from William Shatner’s portrayal of Starfleet’s youngest Starship captain, issue #14 of Star Trek: Year Five provides its readers with plenty of violent action and political intrigue. But whilst such plot devices as Captain Kirk running the gauntlet of his Klingon persecutors provides this twenty-page periodical with plenty of pulse-pounding pace, the fact the Federation officer has willingly submitted to being so barbarically tortured in the first place will also have this comic’s audience scratching their heads in bemusement.
For starters, it is arguably never made clear just what the point of Kirk’s so-called trial is supposed to be, apart from providing “showrunners” Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly with the opportunity to reminisce about what I’m guessing are their favourite Klingon episodes from the franchise’s original televised run in the ‘60s. True, towards the end of the book it is revealed that the traitorous Admiral Koraxi wanted the Enterprise’s skipper “off the board so he could keep conducting illegal experiments”, but if the entire purpose was simply to kill him then surely a disruptor blast to the head would have been a more reliable method than the theatrical challenge penned for this particular publication?
Similarly as nonsensical is the writing duo’s secondary story-line concerning Spock and McCoy exposing “a disturbing secret that stretches to the highest levels of Starfleet Medical.” Bound to a chair in readiness for a grim interrogation by his abductors, the Vulcan easily escapes by snapping the metallic arm restraint supposedly holding him in place and then brings the entire conspiracy to a swift end by simply pointing a phaser at the Admiral’s second-in-command; “Your boss is a traitor, son. Be real careful with your next choice.”
Mercifully however, visual side of this book is far more successful than its narrative’s logic, with fan-favourite Trek artist Angel Hernandez doing a stunning job of capturing the increasing physical damage James Kirk receives at the hands (or rather blades) of his merciless Klingon captors. Indeed, the illustrator seems to really capture the essence of Shatner’s battered, bloodied and bare-chested look from the broadcast episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before” in his sketches of the captain’s severe injuries, and even makes Robert Fletcher’s uniforms from The Motion Picture appear surprisingly attractive considering the criticism often heaped upon the one-piece jumpsuit design.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]