Review – Star Trek: Year Five #15 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jody Houser
Artwork: Silvia Califano
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Lettering: Neil Uyetake
Release Date: 28th October 2020

Apart from presumably trying to tie-in with those comic collecting fans interested in the imminent 2020 United States presidential election, it is difficult to imagine just why Jody Houser would feel it was appropriate to pen a multi-part plot focusing upon James T. Kirk’s snooze-inducing investigation into the Andorians’ political aspirations for the Federation’s future leader. Indeed, even the U.S.S. Enterprise’s skipper himself warns the audience at this book’s very start that his mission to spy on a potential political opponent for the Attorney General is “little more than a waste of our all-too-brief flames.”

Unfortunately however, this misuse of a twenty-page periodical is precisely how this publication’s plot pans out due to absolutely nothing of any note occurring until its very end when a startled Montgomery Scott is caught surreptitiously trying to spy upon Harcourt Fenton Mudd’s robotic assistant and gets clobbered across the clock for his troubles; “That… Could have gone better…” Up until this moment, all the Constitution-class Starship’s landing party are faced with is a carousel of seemingly endless panels crammed full of word-heavy dialogue balloons explaining just why the “warp-capable humanoid species from the moon Andoria” have decided to forgive Mudd for his past transgressions and unbelievably feel he is the inspirational candidate required to lead their Originalist Movement to victory.

To make matters worse though, Houser’s storyline doesn’t even feature the science fiction show’s leading cast of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but instead substitutes the logical Vulcan and emotionally-charged physician with Scotty and this ongoing title’s original Tholian crewmember, Bright Eyes. Just why the Captain would be accompanied by such a strange landing party is never convincingly explained and is simply ‘written off’ because the science officer is implausibly worried that the vessel might suddenly be breached by enemy forces despite it being in orbit of a founding member of the United Federation of Planets.

Similarly as irksome as this comic’s soporific storyline is Silvia Califano’s decision to sketch Mudd as the fully-bearded criminal portrayed by Rainn Dietrich Wilson in the first season of “Star Trek: Discovery” rather than as the lovable rogue depicted by Sixties actor Roger C. Carmel. The Italian illustrator does a prodigious job of pencilling all the science fiction franchise’s other thespians from the original television series, so this choice arguably badly jars with the rest of the book’s aesthetics and nostalgic atmosphere.

The writer of this piece was: Blax Kleric
Blax Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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