Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Art: Ramon Rosanas & Erik Tamayo
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: March 15th, 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 #5 Review.
STAR TREK started strong, and each successive issue has raised the stakes. Kelly and Lanzing have delivered no shortage of plot twists. And the art teams are taking full advantage of the scope this story offers. In STAR TREK #5 they all look to deliver their most ambitious issue yet. STAR TREK #5 opens with Kahless making an attack run on the God City of T’Kon with Theseus in pursuit. Sisko opens up with all the weapons the ship has at its disposal, and in response Kahless sends a boarding party. Among the invaders is Worf’s son, Alexander. The Theseus crew repels the borders at which point the Prophets reach out to Sisko. They reveal critical information that changes the calculus of Sisko’s strategy against Kahless. He prepares to destroy Kahless’s whip which could provoke a war and will kill Alexander. This leads to a schism with Worf who leaves the bridge. Sisko is left with an impossible choice: killing Kahless or letting the being at the heart of the God City be destroyed.
STAR TREK #5 does a lot of things well, but Alexander’s abrupt inclusion isn’t one of them. Alexander was unwilling to be a warrior in The Next Generation. And while he did later appear on Deep Space Nine as a member of the Klingon military, his motivations were never explained. And based on the dialogue here, Worf clearly had no idea (again) what his son was up to in the intervening years. Of course none of this precludes that Alexander found some kind of faith in Kahless’s ideas. But his appearance comes and goes so fast that it reads mainly like inventing a reason for Worf to have a personal stake in opposing Sisko. It’s worth noting, though, that this could be setting up a story arc for the new STAR TREK DEFIANT series where Worf is the main character. But in this issue it is an awkward insert.
The Alexander criticism pales in comparison to a story development Kelly and Lanzing get pitch perfect, though. STAR TREK’s premise, as established in the first issue, is that “gods” are being killed and they need mortals to save them. That’s the mission the Prophets gave Sisko when they sent him back. That beings so powerful would require (arguably) much lower life forms to protect them was already a compelling idea and one that Star Trek hadn’t really explored before. Everything goes sideways, though, when Sisko encounters the Prophets in STAR TREK #5. It turns out that not only do the higher beings need protection, but one of those higher beings created the very power source that Kahless is using to destroy them. Kelly and Lanzing don’t spend too much time on this here. The need to stop Kahless is too urgent. But the development opens up even more potential to examine the relationship between beings on these different levels of power since not only do mortals have to protect the gods, now they also need to clean up their mess.
The Art and Letters
Rosanas and Tamayo make creative use of the nine panel grid on the first page of STAR TREK #5. Theseus is in pursuit of Kahless, trying and failing to stop the Klingon emperor. The grid panels are all angled and not uniform in size. The slightly chaotic layout lasts only one page, but it pulls the reader in from the start and establishes the urgency and danger of the situation. The artists again play with an unorthodox layout when the Prophets make contact with Sisko. The exchange happens over a two page spread. The art and layout is that of Sisko at the center of the spread, surrounded by a whirlpool. Four trapezium shaped panels (four-sided non-parallelograms) create a rounded border on each side of the spread. The effect is that of a broken window–broken space/time if you will. Its general layout was almost certainly established by Kelly and Lanzing’s script, but Rosanas and Tamayo realize to startling effect.
Louridge’s colors further elevate that same Sisko/Prophet spread. The whirlpool is done in shades of blue, darker on the outer edges and growing progressively lighter as it approaches the center where Sisko floats. The center of the whirlpool is white and it evokes Sisko’s time in the Celestial Temple. Louridge also adds a very subtle blue shading around Sisko’s eyes in the eight surrounding panels. Cowles’s choice of font for the Prophets calls to mind a people who have age and power without leaning on something that looks traditionally old. It effectively sets the Prophets apart from the world that all the characters inhabit.
STAR TREK #5 is the strongest issue yet, Alexander’s clumsy appearance notwithstanding. Loughridge’s coloring choices continue to impress as he takes advantage of the possibilities this story and setting offer. Rosanas and Tamayo close up strong character work and exciting space action with equal skill. And the writing for both large scale plot twists and small scale character conflicts will serve to keep readers on their toes.