Writers: Christopher Cantwell
Art: Ángel Unzueta
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Covers: Ángel Unzueta; Andrea Broccardo & DC Alonso; JK Woodward; Jake Bartok
Release Date: June 7th, 2023
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 Defiant #4 Review.
Regret is a powerful thing. Unfortunately, when you’re single handedly responsible for reassembling the most dangerous android that has ever lived, they might also be deadly. Spock spends all of STAR TREK DEFIANT #4 questioning his logic as the series finally seems to hit its stride.
STAR TREK DEFIANT #4 is a Spock point-of-view story as he wrestles with his decision to reassemble Lore in the previous issue. The story follows the crew’s attempts to decipher the information acquired from the Orion vessel last issue so they can track Kahless’ ship. The ongoing personal conflicts continue, livened up further by Worf who is high on another dose of red path so he doesn’t die from the injuries he sustained last issue. The crew further discover that Kahless has access to time travel technology via Korath, the same Klingon who sold Admiral Janeway the technology to change the past in the Voyager finale “Endgame”. The crew split their forces at this point, with Spock and Lore chasing Korath and the remainder of the crew chasing Kahless and receiving aid from a most unexpected ally.
The Ro/Torres relationship is likely going to be the driving interpersonal conflict in the series. That’s been obvious for a couple issues now. Their arguments are rooted in fundamental disagreements at a personal level, but Cantwell never has them jump straight into that. He manages to find a new duty-related excuse for every bickering session. It’s a clever and easy way to keep the arguments fresh because they can rear their head at any time. There’s even a measure of humor to the arguments. After all, their opinion on each other’s time with the Maquis is meaningless by now.
The callback to the larger Trek cannon is both a nice Easter Egg for fans and a smart story choice. Korath already exists, and as a Klingon can logically be connected to Kahless. Star Trek’s “canon” universe is monumentally expansive for the kind of franchise that it is, and writers who create connections between the various projects don’t just give fans Easter eggs but add the weight of the whole universe to their own projects.
The Spock/Lore relationship takes up the lion’s share of STAR TREK DEFIANT #4. Spock’s log entry provides narration throughout the issue, and it is almost entirely about him struggling with the logic of reassembling Lore and the potential for danger that that created. This is accompanied by Lore growing progressively more arch. Cantwell doesn’t write him as explicitly threatening or dangerous, and that’s why the character is so successful and why, panel by panel, the implication that he will eventually be a complication if not antagonist grows.
The Art & Lettering
Lore is chewing the comic scenery in STAR TREK DEFIANT #4 thanks to Unzueta. He’s innocent, inquisitive, and inappropriately happy among other things. Cantwell’s dialogue contributes to this, but so much of it is accomplished with Unzueta’s art. There is one panel in particular where Unzueta draws the best android-giving-a-”who, me” look that you will ever see.
The standout sequence for Unzueta’s Lore comes late in the issue during his and Spock’s mission. Lore is at his most mischievous and expressive. Spock, meanwhile, is his usual restrained self. The first eight panels, split between two rows, alternate between Lore and Spock with Lore gesticulating excessively while Spock looks on. Only in the ninth panel, vertical across the entire page, are the two men facing each other and by then Unzueta has built up so much momentum with Lore that it feels like he’s been moving this whole time and Spock is suffering him. Unfortunately Lore isn’t a fool.
Louise gets to show off a bit in this issue as there are a few more exterior looks at the Defiant and the other ships than last time. In Louise’s hands, space is never a boring black and white.
Cowles’ lettering is largely restrained again–even more so than last issue because Worf’s dialogue isn’t quite as intense. He uses an IDIC symbol to distinguish that the caption boxes are Spock’s log which is a nice detail. And the sound effect on the final page works well with the art.
The art stays strong in this issue. And most importantly, the writing hits all the right notes–both plot and character wise, and avoids even minor criticisms. After three previous entries, STAR TREK DEFIANT #4 is the series’ first showcase issue.