IDW Publishing 2015
Written by Mike Johnson & Ryan Parrott
Illustrated by Derek Charm
Lettered by Neil Uyetake
Star Trek has such a rich and varied history with so many species making up the Federation and the races they go up against. We always see the adults who are in charge and have been seasoned in some way or another for command already be rarely do we get to see them before they were full fledged Starfleet Officers. Welcome to Starfleet Academy where we get to meet characters old and new who populate the universe and who may or may not become friends, allies and future featured characters.
It’s a no-brainer to have Mike as part of the writing team here as i’m sure he’s giving tips and guidance to Ryan who’s work in the film industry gives him a unique perspective in bringing the way this is told to life. At first I was afraid this was just going to focus on the crew of the Enterprise when they were just students. Thankfully that was dispelled as this books shares the exploits of the past with the present.
I have to say Uhura is and has been one of the most beloved characters of the franchise and this new iteration of her is beyond charming. Smart, driven and capable she’s really that strong woman role model and seeing her use her language skills in everyday conversation showcase why she chose linguistics. Seeing her so distracted as she sits with Spock, while he’s breaking up with her, was one of those moments to cherish really. Seeing that and then what happens with Kirk’s date well it all kind of just keeps fleshing out their adult selves and I am immensely enjoying that.
So as Uhura is wrapped up in a mystery of what she’s found in the long range sensor lab we meet T’Laan a young Vulcan who wishes to leave Starfleet and rejoin the remainder of her people. Her instructor is very against this course of action but convinces her to take part in the Inter-Academy Exploratory Competition and regardless of the outcome should she still wish to leave he’ll see that she can.
A time old ploy to ignite a fire in a student they didn’t know they possessed. So from here we meet the rest of the team she’ll have to work with and we’ll soon discover if these five young adults can be the future of Starfleet.
The dual storytelling is used incredibly well here. The characterization is wonderful and keeps us loving both the characters we know and finding ourselves wanting more of the ones we’re just meeting. So this works as it is since using complete unknowns is always tricky business and sometimes falls flat. Though I applaud using Uhura and her scene with Chekov made me smile like a kid in a candy store. Plus T’Laan and Shev yeah they seem like the pair that will hate each other and then become the most trusted of friends should the writing go the way I think it will.
My only real complaint is that this is more of a Saturday Morning cartoon style interior artwork. Even the colouring lends itself to that look and feel which is kind of disappointing. I’d rather this had a more grown up feel unless of course this is intended to aimed at a more all-ages audience than okay I can see that and it works. Still a more realistic slant to the artwork would be fantastic.
Regardless I love that IDW is branching out the Star Trek Universe, it’s been a very long time since Marvel tried the Academy approach but I think with the talent and way IDW treats this franchise this is going to be one of those runaway hits that just suddenly sneaks up on people.