Star Trek #4 Review

Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing

Art: Ramon Rosanas & Oleg Chudakov

Colors: Lee Loughridge

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Publisher: IDW

Price: 4.99

Release Date: February 1st, 2022

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Star Trek #4 Review.

The Dispatch

What makes a god? No one on Theseus knows the answer to that. In fact, no one on Theseus seems like they know how to put forth the question–and certainly not about their commanding officer Benjamin Sisko. In truth, Sisko doesn’t seem to know the answer himself. But it’s an unspoken idea that has been present in every issue of the new STAR TREK series and in STAR TREK #4 it finally gets asked.

STAR TREK #4 opens with Sisko in his quarters with Jake, trying to find a way to talk to him about his experiences in a way that won’t cause his son to push further away. Meanwhile T’lir, Scotty, and Sato hit upon sudden inspiration and find a way to detect god-like beings through subspace. This leads them to the God City of T’Kon, a hybrid of technology and lifeform that served as the intelligence behind the T’Kon Empire’s power. But Theseus’s opportunity to study the God City is cut short when Emperor Kahless and his “god killer” weapon arrive, intent on destroying yet another advanced being.

The question of godhood comes up several times in STAR TREK #4. The first is in the conversation between Sisko and his son. He wants to know what Jake thinks makes a god. Unfortunately he can’t find a way to ask the question without making his son more distant. The scene is very short. Most of the dialogue and all of the narration belongs to Sisko. The conversation is stilted. Kelly and Lanzing do a good job setting up this question of godhood (which will be interrogated further in the confrontation with Kahless), but what the scene is really about is the relationship between father and son.

Multiple times in the course of the Deep Space Nine television series Sisko and his son found themselves in conflict over Sisko’s willingness to put himself at risk in the pursuit of what he believed the Prophets’ plans were. Add to that that Sisko never said goodbye to his son at the end of the series. Now Sisko is back, and the first thing on his mind is the mission the Prophets gave him. STAR TREK #1 provided a few scenes of reunion of father and son, but never dove too deep into what their relationship is now. And even STAR TREK #4 doesn’t spend a lot of time on it. Kelly and Lanzing’s script efficiently communicates the underlying tension. It is clear that they will have to work to repair the relationship.

The question about the nature of godhood returns bluntly late in the issue. Kahless, preparing to to kill the lifeform at the heart of the God City, asks Sisko if he considers himself a god. Sisko doesn’t answer. But we know from STAR TREK #3 that he experienced things well beyond normal human experience. Sisko has almost no real memories from his time with the Prophets. But he does speak about ideas of omnipotence, omniscience, and destiny. Did that make Sisko a god?

Kahless talks about Molor, the “god” the original Kahless slew. In that case Molor was simply a man with advanced technology. Is godhood truly just a matter of relative advancement over others? STAR TREK has been asking questions like this since the first issue, and Sisko is uniquely suited as a character to explore them because of the way he developed into a religious figure and a spiritual person over the course of Deep Space Nine.

The one stumbling block in STAR TREK #4 is something that has also tripped up previous issues: the dreaded Star Trek technobabble. Kelly and Lanzing make it work, but in every one of these scenes it’s clear this isn’t their strong suit. And that’s fine because they know how to explore these characters very well. But here the sudden realization of how to track these beings through subspace comes across as absurdly simple. It’s so simple that it seems like it should have been developed a long time ago.

The Art

One of the great strengths of Rosanas and Chudakov’s work on this series is how they capture characters’ appearances. This is especially true with body language and facial expressions. Sisko especially is a great success. And it’s this skill that makes what I believe is STAR TREK #4’s most important scene–the scene between Sisko and Jake–succeed.

As a matter of plot advancement, this scene is of virtually no importance. As I noted it does help set up the godhood conversation that comes up late in the issue. But most critically it’s a moment between a father and son. This relationship was at the heart of who Sisko was in Deep Space Nine, so it’s wonderful to see scenes dedicated to it. The dialogue and narration do communicate the nuts and bolts of the relationship efficiently. But it’s a series of looks that communicates the real emotion. In fact, it takes only one panel to express the rift between Sisko and Jake. Jake gives his father an almost withering look that stops Sisko’s line of conversation dead in its tracks. Rosanas and Chudakov make me excited to see where this very personal story might go.

Final Thoughts

STAR TREK #4 continues something that is becoming easy to take for granted: the more than successful blending of subtle character arcs, larger philosophy, and sci-fi wonder into a strong and compelling story. Trek is always at its best when it does this very thing, and so far the creative team on this STAR TREK hasn’t missed.


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