In Review: Star Trek: Year Five #1

If the series is as a good as this premiere, this will be a voyage to join.

The covers: Five covers to find for this fifth year saga. The Regular cover by Greg Hildebrandt features Kirk’s face in the top center. The Enterprise speeds off from the center to the left, while Spock is on the opposite side flashing the familiar Vulcan greeting. On a barren alien world, Uhura, Scotty, McCoy, Sulu, and Chekov are transporting to its surface. Great cover. The Retailer Incentive cover A by J.J. Lendl has Spock and Kirk back to back. The Enterprise flies up between them creating a red border. Two Tholian ships are beginning to create a web around the pair. Above them are circles containing images of Chekov, Scotty, and Chapel (over Spock), and McCoy, Uhura, and Sulu (over Kirk). I like the title at the bottom resembling the Gold Key comics’ logo. The coloring is similar to the printing processes of the 1960s. I love this. The Retailer Incentive cover B by Hildebrandt is a sketch cover of the Regular. Nice to see what the artist started with. The Convention cover by Hildebrandt is the same as the Regular but is in black and white and features no text save the IDW identification in the upper right. Very cool. However, I love the Diamond Retailer Summit Exclusive Photo cover because it features four of the stars from the series: Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, and William Shatner. I love the covers, but this is the one I need to find the most. Overall grades: Regular A, Incentive A A, Incentive B B, Convention B-, and Diamond Retailer Summit Exclusive Photo A+

The story: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly start this issue with Kirk sitting on a seemingly empty dark bridge. He’s making what he believes to be his final captain’s log. As he speaks a figure emerges from behind him with a blaster pointed at his head. The story then moves to the past where the Enterprise and her crew have arrived at the Lloyd Zeta Hypergiant, a massive object that is soon to explode and sterilize any planet within a ten thousand light year range. Their job is to prevent it. After this long explanation from Spock, Kirk shares some news with McCoy that has the captain revealing some doubt. Any resolution to his dilemma is left as they receive a distress call from Tholians on Lloyd Zeta-9. They go to investigate and are left with several questions. Kirk’s narration tells the reader of the mistakes he realizes he made in the moment. I have no clue where this is going, but I enjoyed the characters’ dialogue and interactions. Kirk is especially strong in this tale, showing an insecurity he’s not known for. I’m all for more from Lanzing and Kelly. Overall grade: A

The art: The first page of this book looks fantastic. The way the first four panels pull in closer to Kirk amplifies the tension of his words spectacularly. The last image on the page is Kirk bowing as the gun is almost touching his head. Artist Stephen Thompson has started this book strongly. A turn of the page has a partial double-page splash of a beautiful view of the Enterprise in front of the object. This leads to a great traditional establishment shot of the bridge, ending with Kirk making a head turn to look at Spock who’s revealed on Page 4. Thompson has got to leave a lot — a lot — of room for the dialogue and he does so while creating very engaging images for the reader. I love the two close-ups on Spock’s eyes that makes him incredibly intense. The panel that ends Page 5 is killer. The three panels that close out 7 are a great way to build up to the closing dialogue on the page. McCoy’s response to the news is perfect on the next page. There are nine panels on 9 and it’s a cool way to put some visual action into Kirk’s monologue. The pull back in the final three panels is very cinematic. The long panel that stretches across Pages 12 and 13 is outstanding: it’s obviously an alien world, but there’s enough that’s familiar looking to draw in a reader and it would fit seamlessly into the television series. I love the point of view in the third panel on 15 and the action in the panel that immediately follows it. The reveal on 16 is good and the action at the top of 17 is surprising. The point of view at the bottom of 17 is a shocker. I’m liking Thompson’s work, but is it me or are several panels done looking up at the characters and up their noses? It seemed to be happening quite a bit until beaming down to the planet. Still, I liked the artwork. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Charlie Kirchoff’s colors create terror in the first panel as the saucer section of the Enterprise looks as though it’s been scratched by a giant cat and yellow and crimson flame is coming out of each tear. The spatial object on 2 and 3 is glorious in orange and yellow. Spock is really pale in this series; I don’t remember him ever being so pale. I did like the blue projection onto the Vulcan’s eyes at the bottom of 6 — very reminiscent of moments from the television series. I also like that when Kirk is speaking with McCoy the captain’s face is colored darkly, as if what he’s learned is physically weighing upon him. The faded rose and yellow on Lloyd Zeta-9 is terrific. The yellows that color the background at the bottom of 17 make the action shocking. I like the shaded sound on 17, which matches the being it was aimed at. Kirchoff did well. Overall grade: A

The letters: Stalwart Neil Uyetake provides the text on this book which includes dialogue, whispered text, scene settings, a yell, alien speech, and a sound. The whispered text is smaller than normal dialogue, putting some quiet intensity into some speech or as an aside to the reader. The scene settings are done in Trek‘s iconic font. An alien tries to speak to the away team, but their universal translator isn’t working, so Uyetake has it look like cool gobbledygook. There’s one scream in this book and it’s epic for a red shirt’s final utterance. Overall grade: A

The final line: Report for duty now! This captures the tone of the classic series as it ventures into unseen territory. I love the moment between Kirk and McCoy and how that foreshadows a major future event. The art captures the likenesses of the characters well, especially on the captain. I really like the settings, with the Enterprise and the alien world exceptional. If the series is as a good as this premiere, this will be a voyage to join. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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