The IDW Star Trek series, which I am greatly enjoying, no matter how far I seem to be behind on them (sorry, I like to take my time with them and savor them), brings its first all new story to life in the reset universe.
Previously we have visited past episodes of the classic series, updated, different, and subtly changed from the way we know them, as the new versions of our familiar crew boldly go.
This time around though, we are given an all new story penned by Mike Johnson, and overseen by creative consultant Roberto Orci, so that it fits properly into the new timeline. The work of Joe Phillips, John Rauch and Neil Uyetake continue to be top-notch, capturing the likeness of the new cast while expanding the universe with new aliens, and locations, while still making it feel like it fits in the Abrams universe.
The events pick up sometime after the events of the film, as we’ve seen in the comics, they’ve been out there exploring, and our crew learn about the survival of a piece of the destructive Red Matter.
I’d like to warn about spoilers, but if you’ve seen the covers of either issue, and if you’re reading this article, I know you have, everything you need to know about who’s involved is on the cover (both times).
It seems some Vulcan’s masquerading as survivors of Nero’s Narada steal the recovered Red Matter from a Vulcan Science ship far from its assigned location, as if it were put there on purpose, they claim they are on a ‘covert mission’ for the council.
These Vulcans after a firefight with Kirk and company escape, racing towards the Romulan Neutral Zone.
Kirk confers with Spock, and both realize it will take to long for a response from Starfleet, so they decide to pursue the ‘Romulans.’
And it is at the end of the first issue of this two-parter that we learn that they really are Vulcans, and are in fact led by a member of the Science Council, in fact, it was he who developed the plan that is close to coming to fruition. And if you’ve had a look at covers and know your characters, you know it’s Spock’s father, Sarek.
This reveal would’ve worked better if he hadn’t been on the cover.
Issue 8 opens with Kirk, McCoy, their captured Romulan prisoner, a Lt. Zahra, and Mr. Hendorff (better known from the films as ‘Cupcake,’ in a shuttle craft racing towards Romulan space, the idea being to approach peacefully, rather than with the armed threat the Enterprise would present.
Our heroes are quickly captured by some nicely designed and updated Bird of Preys, you can see the original Classic design there, but they’ve been altered just a bit. They are taken before the Senate (which falls in with the designs seen in Nemesis) where they are found guilty of theft, with the intention of starting a war by stealing back the Red Matter, brought back to them by the faithful ‘Romulans’ from the Narada.
The plan of the Romulan imposters is to actually detonate the Red Matter on Romulus, destroying their world as Vulcan was destroyed.
That one move seems completely out of character with the Vulcans we’ve met in the new universe, or even in the Prime universe, while there are some (like those in Archer’s time, or even Sybok) who may commit such an act of terrorism, and call it vengeance, I don’t think the story works with it being Sarek.
Of course without it being Sarek, Kirk’s captured ‘Romulan’ prisoner (Spock in disguise) wouldn’t be able to connect with him, and show him the error in his ways and in his logic.
So while the story was big on ideas, it just didn’t completely work for me, because we weren’t given enough motivation by the Vulcans, especially Sarek. Yes, they want vengeance for the destruction of their planet, and I get with those events, the Sarek we knew in the Prime universe doesn’t exist here, but I think I wanted more from it.
It’s an epic sized story, and I love the by-play between Kirk and Spock (finally settling in to playing chess with one another), the dialogue between Jim and Bones, as well as the characterization of the crew, those things all work.
I do believe there would be factions of Vulcan who could conceive of attempting to commit this act of terrorism, but even with the loss of his wife, I find it rather difficult to believe Sarek would be one of them.
Still, this series has yet to truly disappoint, and I continue to read each issue eagerly, even if I do take my time doing it.
Next time, we revisit the updated take on The Return of the Archons…