Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Art: Angel Unzueta
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Covers: Malachi Ward; Suspiria Vilchez; Elizabeth Beals; Ramon Rosanas; Taurin Clarke
Release Date: August 23rd, 2023
Civil war rages on the Klingon homeworld. Violent riots fill the streets. The chancellor lies dying in the High Council chamber. And the tiny Starfleet crews tasked with stopping Kahless’ god-killing reign of terror are scattered and busy with their own problems. Suffice it to say, things look dire as “Day of Blood” marches on in STAR TREK #11.
Defiant’s and Theseus’s crews are spread out as STAR TREK #11 opens. Tom and B’elanna are fixing Defiant. Data and Lore are securing Korath’s lab. Beverly, Sela, and the Orion are trying to save Martok. Spock and Scotty are evading Romulans up on Theseus. Ro, T’Lir, and Sato are striving to get transporters available so everyone can beam off the planet. The issue goes by fast, quick cutting between all these sequences. For each success–and there are successes, most notably Tom and Be’lanna getting Defiant in the air again—the characters are dealt reversals, such as a critical change in loyalty.
STAR TREK #11 effectively blends the ongoing “Day of Blood” plot with character storylines and even some slight philosophical examinations. The story’s overall pacing is faster than the previous issues. Circumstances are dire, and everyone is in a rush. Everything builds to the final moment, and it’s a good payoff. As a middle issue of a multi-part story, it not only accomplishes the high stakes story advancement that it has to, but it has fun doing it. The more impressive part of STAR TREK #11, though, is how Kelly and Lanzing weave in character arcs and higher ideals.
The least of these is the opening scene between Tom and B’elanna which solves their minor disagreement from the previous issues with an understated reconnection to who they are at heart. This simple moment resolves a character thread from previous issues. More in-depth is an exchange between Doctor Crusher and Sela as the former tries to keep Chancellor Martok alive. Kelly and Lanzing take a moment to consider the idea that one man’s hero is another man’s butcher as Sela pushes back against whether Crusher should save Martok at all. It doesn’t last long, and since the argument is coming from a Romulan in general and Sela specifically the reader might not be inclined to care. But it’s a worthwhile consideration.
The most compelling scene comes late in the issue when Ro and Sato get in an argument about the Kobayashi Maru–Starfleet’s no-win scenario simulation. Ro argues that the simulation is a death machine. It’s purpose is to instill in cadets a willingness to gladly sacrifice their lives for whatever cause Starfleet tells them to. Sato, on the other hand, argues it’s a test of fortitude–do you blink in the face of annihilation? Ro has stood on a soap box of righteousness throughout this series, and it’s engaging to see that challenged. This morality argument isn’t the sort of thing one might expect to find in a sci-fi action adventure.
The Art & Lettering
STAR TREK #11 is an exciting issue and fast paced issue. But it’s also very character focused. Unzueta spends more time on personal disagreements than action. Kelly and Lanzing don’t mince words when it comes to dialogue. But Unzueta’s art adds an extra dimension. For the most part, Unzueta is conservative when it comes to lines and shading on characters’ faces. Visually, every interaction comes down to the characters’ eyes. Unzueta knows just when a character’s eyes need to be wide and when they need to be narrow. He tracks eyelines to near perfection. From panel to panel it’s clear precisely where characters are looking. This plays especially well in the moments of character conflict. In many of these exchanges, less is more.
Louise’s coloring is very effective at establishing the various locations via different colored settings. Her standout work comes on a two page spread at the beginning of the issue. Waves of hand to hand violence fils the burning city. Louise’s work is largely responsible for the layers of depth on the pages and the ease with which everything can be seen.
Security Chief Shaxs joined the series a few issues ago, and the series has balanced his more comedic persona from Star Trek Lower Decks with the serious tone of this series. Cowles’ lettering is conservative for the most part. Of the few exceptions, the biggest comes as Shaxs succeeds in saving the Defiant and shouts out, in huge yellow text that goes well beyond traditional dialogue bubble borders, “This is the best day of my life!” Kelly and Lanzing wrote the line, but Cowles turns it into a fun callback to Shaxs’ roots.
“Day of Blood” hits its middle issue here, and it’s a good one–not just exciting, but also introspective. The crossover continues to improve with each entry, and this one shores up the few criticisms from past issues. STAR TREK #11 delivers a fun and intelligent sci-fi adventure as only Star Trek can.