Ever since the original Star Trek was cancelled prematurely in 1969, there have been countless bits of media trying to complete the Enterprise’s five-year journey. From books, to an animated series, to fan films, Kirk’s five-year mission is truly ongoing.

IDW’s STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE takes a stab at this era of Star Trek’s history, showing the final days of their voyage in the final frontier. Written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE manages to capture the feel of the original series with some modern-style action pieces to spice things up. These scenes are beautifully brought to life thanks to the fantastic artwork by Stephen Thompson and Charlie Kirchoff’s colors.

The Beginning of the End

STAR TREK YEAR 5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Before you even open the comic, you’re greeted by a beautiful cover by veteran artist Greg Hildebrandt. Like any good cover, it makes you want to pick it up and admire its colors and details. Hildebrandt’s cover gives off retro sci-fi movie poster vibes — very appropriate for Star Trek. Now that the comic has your attention, how does it plan to keep it? With a shocker of an opening scene!

Captain’s Log…

The comic opens with Kirk at the end of the line, while an unknown attacker has a phaser aimed point blank behind his head. How Kirk got into this situation, and how he’s going to get out of it, remains a mystery. We flash back to some point before this moment, where the crew of the Enterprise are trying to stop a cosmic-scale explosion from devouring a nearby planet. The mystery of the ominous opening stays on hold, at least for now. First, the crew has to investigate a distress call from the planet below.

STAR TREK YEAR 5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

It’s all pretty standard Star Trek stuff, but in my experience, the best Star Trek stories are the simpler ones. Stuff involving time travel and crazy grand-scale conflicts are great and all, but I prefer my Trek to be more straightforward. Planet’s about to go boom, they have to stop it, but there’s a mystery along the way. Nothing too crazy, and definitelya great way to kick off a first issue.

The Writing of STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #1

All of the classic Star Trek tropes and lines are accounted for. The temptation to add these famous bits must be irresistible, but can you really blame the writers? If you’re writing McCoy, how do you resist having him say his famous “I’m a doctor, not a [whatever]” phrase? How do you add some guys in red shirts, and not kill them in five seconds? Lanzing and Kelly embrace these classic Trek tropes, and whether you find them charming or cliché is entirely up to you. I personally loved these references. I thought it was a smart way of re-introducing these characters and the tone of the original series. Make no mistake, the comic isn’t just fan service, though. As the Enterprise approaches her final mission, her crew is sure to go through some mixed emotions.

STAR TREK YEAR 5 IDW
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

The Voyage Home

As the main character, you can expect Captain Kirk has a lot to say about this. He isn’t sure what he’ll do with himself once his voyage comes to an end. All this comes from a more disciplined version of Kirk. He’s less swashbuckling and carefree, but he still has that hunger for adventure. He’s more introspective and seasoned, similar to his portrayal in the films of the 1980s. This was a wise decision on Lanzing and Kelly’s part to show just how much five years can change a person. Spock gets his time to shine, as well. Appropriately, not much has changed with him. Hopefully, we get more insight into the rest of the cast’s point of view, and see how their four years in space have shaped their outlook on things.

STAR TREK YEAR FIVE IDW
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

The Art of STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #1

While their perspectives may have changed, our characters’ appearances certainly have not. The likenesses of the original Star Trek cast are uncanny. Every character looks just as they should from all angles. Thompson was clearly going for a realistic approach, giving the reader the sense that they’re watching the final season of the original show. Also, the Enterprise herself is rendered with total show accuracy inside and out. It’s the dinner plate with jet engines that we all know and love. The alien designs are the only things that aren’t quite show-accurate, however. Instead of opting for something that looks like a rubber suit, Thompson decided to make more sleek and threatening creatures.

STAR TREK YEAR FIVE IDW
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

New Life, New Civilizations

Just like the aliens, the backgrounds are far more impressive than anything the show could have pulled off. Anyone could have used the cheap-but-charming aesthetic of the original show as an excuse to draw bland and boring backdrops. Instead, Thompson and Kirchoff take full advantage of the comic medium to create settings that a 1960s sci-fi show could only dream of having. The landscapes and buildings of this alien world look appropriately beautiful and dangerous. Even the windows of the Enterprise give us a look at the colorful swirls and sparks of space. Throughout all of this, the characters never look out of place with the more elaborate backgrounds. It’s Star Trek, through-and-through.

Final Thoughts on STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #1

Every good first issue needs something to interest the reader in the rest of the series. STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #1 has a great hook, awesome art, and a cast of familiar and lovable characters. Even if you’re barely a fan of Star Trek, YEAR FIVE is a blast to read. No matter how deep you are in the Trek fandom, keep an eye out for the rest of the issues as they come out, as well. You can pick up the first issue at your local comic book shop on April 24th of this year. You can pre-order it now on ComiXology.com, or wait for it to be released on IDW’s official site.

This is the ending Star Trek fans have been waiting for, and you don’t want to miss it.

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #1 BY JACKSON LANZING, COLLIN KELLY, STEPHEN THOMPSON, AND CHARLIE KIRCHOFF
Art
Plot
Characterization
Summary
This is a must-get for Star Trek fans, or anyone who just appreciates good art. It's not just a love-letter to the original Star Trek, it's a worthy continuation of the Enterprise's misadventures.
88 %
A SOLID START

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