Star Trek: Boldly Go #10

Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Tony Shasteen
Colors: JD Mettler
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Publisher: IDW

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Reminders; sometimes they are used for as simple as a recollection of items needed to be procured, while other times they are essential to remembering core ideas – what it means to be an American for instance. The announcement of Star Trek: Discovery characters and their backgrounds left a vocal portion of the online fan community in a tizzy last year. Sometimes it is easy to forget that while Star Trek fills a need specific to each individual fan, at its essence is the search for knowledge and understanding by meeting new cultures. Star Trek: Boldly Go #10 is that reminder.

Demonstrating once again why he is the perfect writer for IDW’s ongoing Kelvin Universe comics, Mike Johnson delivers yet another thoughtful story in the Star Trek theme. He provides an inspiring narrative about what makes Star Trek special, while at the same time reminding readers the importance of diversity. At no time does Johnson hit the reader over the head with this idea, as he allows the story to deliver that message.

Returning to the reason of Boldly Go’s narrative, Scotty with the cadets from 2015’s Starfleet Academy miniseries, along with Jaylah, return to Yorktown to observe the progress of the Enterprise-A’s construction. Two familiar faces are hard at work on the ships assembly – Keenser and the crew’s unlikely addition from Star Trek Beyond’s opening mission from Teenax – Kevin.

Turns out Kevin has an aptitude for engineering. The issue is told mainly from Kevin’s point-of-view as he struggles to learn, adapt and appreciate his new found colleagues. Johnson utilizes this narrative device to great effect, one that previous Star Trek writers also employed to allow viewers a window into better understanding their own humanity through the franchise’s alien characters; Spock, Worf, Data, Odo and now Jaylah (who appears to share a lot in common to Worf in her action-first quest in problem solving).

Homecoming is also an interesting theme to the issue, as the characters return to their ship, artist Tony Shasteen returns to Boldly Go after a several-issue hiatus (he was off illustrating IDW’s Star: Discovery comic series debuting this fall). Shasteen picks right up where he left off with his depiction of the characters. His art and storytelling have always been excellent and a perfect complement to Johnson’s words of course, but is bumped up to the next level with JD Mettler’s cover palette. Shasteen and Mettler provide some stunning moments, maybe none better than the page-three reveal of the Enterprise-A. One particularly impressive (and dare say frameable) panel comes on page 16 as Shasteen and Mettler use lighting to great effect when focusing on Scotty.

Deftly capturing the humor of Simon Pegg’s performance of Scotty, the issue has a lightness to it that is perfect for the story Johnson is telling. In fact, under Johnson’s guidance is a certain familiarity with James Doohan’s performance from “The Trouble with Tribbles” and most likely a central moment from Pegg’s depiction, as well as the Kelvin Universe writers.

As usual with a Johnson-penned Star Trek comic, readers will find a few Easter Eggs and throwback moments, including one particularly humorous moment from Star Trek Beyond that Shasteen expresses perfectly with the angles in which he presents the words.

The Verdict

Buy It! Johnson’s monthly Kelvin Universe tales evoke the same hopefulness and comfort that The Next Generation provided its viewers 40 years ago. His Star Trek: Boldly Go #10 should go down as one of the essential stories to understanding Gene Roddenberry’s ideas and the crux of what Star Trek is about. Speaking of diversity and understanding, Johnson closes Kevin’s mission with a surprised interaction from Jaylah, one in which his culture frowned upon, but also one he is now learning to accept.

Rich Schepis

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