Review – Star Trek: Year Five #16 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jody Houser
Artwork: Silvia Califano
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Lettering: Neil Uyetake
Release Date: 11th November 2020

On paper, the prospect of publishing a twenty-page periodical featuring Gary Seven and Harcourt Fenton Mudd battling James Tiberius Kirk probably looked like a sound investment of creative talent. Particularly with both sixties-based characters still proving incredibly popular with the science fiction franchise’s fanbase to this day. Unfortunately, Jody Houser’s decision to crowbar the pair into a narrative supposedly depicting just how scintillating an election season can be arguably isn’t the place for either of the ‘antagonists’ to demonstrate just why they still hold a place within a Trekkies’ heart some six decades after they originally appeared on the small screen.

For starters, the thought of Harry rising to the top of the Federation Presidential polls is utterly ridiculous, especially when such a notorious conman’s extensive criminal past is well-known to both his Andorian sponsors and the electorate. Arguably, this premise alone ruins any sense of credibility to a narrative which already heavily relies upon its readers’ willingness to suspend disbelief. The situation is made all the more unbelievable when the Originalist movement reveals that they were so desperate to identify a so-called “suitable candidate” before the election’s imminent deadline that they simply exonerated the swindler for all his past dark deeds.

Disappointingly, Mister Seven’s involvement in this particular storyline isn’t much more convincing, with the mysterious “laddybuck” disconcertingly wanting Mudd to win the galaxy-wide election in order to help him somehow bring Starfleet to a violent end. Sadly, the writer’s room for Star Trek: Year Five seem intent on transforming Supervisor 194 into some sort of omnipotent busybody, who suddenly appears to be more a sworn foe of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s captain than the likes of Khan Noonien Singh ever was. This results in Kirk’s former friend frustratingly jarring in every panel in which he appears; “Let’s just say that there are… pieces in motion far larger than either you or I. It’s my job to ensure that they stay in motion. Distractions, chaos… these will serve my masters’ purposes.”

Ultimately however, this comic’s biggest anti-climax comes from the way Scotty thwarts Harcourt’s real plan to steal as much sensitive technological data as he can from the Andorians by simply sweet-talking the smuggler’s female robot companion into telling him the truth. Such a lacklustre finale beggars belief and comes across as every bit as contrived a conclusion as Spock inexplicably appearing from inside Mudd’s small space shuttle just in the nick of time to pinch the rogue on the neck before he can depart the moon with a hostage.


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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