TrekInk: Review of Star Trek Captain’s Log: Sulu

Sulu’s back, and he’s in charge of the USS Excelsior, complete with Lieutenant Rand at his side on communications. On his plate today? Only the matter of a minor rescue from a supernova, a Tholian schedule, and a fencing partner to defeat. In other words, just a day in the life of the starship captain named Hikaru Sulu. Read on for the review of the first issue of IDW’s newest Star Trek comic series, "Captain’s Log."




Set shortly after Sulu’s ascendancy to the captaincy of the Excelsior (around 2288-2290), the first issue of the new Captain’s Log anthology series is out and presents a story about a captain that fans keep clamoring for more stories about. Previous stories focusing on Sulu’s adventures have included the novel Forged in Fire and the Captain Sulu Adventures from Simon and Schuster Audioworks, but this is the first comic story to focus on Sulu’s time aboard the Excelsior since "Tests of Courage" back in the DC days.

Written by Scott and David Tipton, the story focuses on a carefully scheduled diplomatic encounter with the Tholians. As per usual, any time any schedule is made with the Tholians, something inevitably throws something of a wrench into the works. The story begins with Sulu and his new first officer, Cirpiano, fencing before a message from Admiral Renshaw interrupts them to inform them of the pending meeting with the Tholians about a Federation colony on Mirabi 5.

Whenever words like these are said, you just know that it’s coming to come back and bite you in an uncomfortable place… (click to enlarge)

Like John Byrne in one of his recent Romulan stories, the Tiptons take this opportunity to (quickly) revisit an old episode from the Original Series television show, giving a brief summary of the entire episode in a single page of three panels (who knew that Star Trek could be summed up so easily?), quickly reminding the reader of Sulu’s prior encounter with the Tholians in "The Tholian Web". Between the opening fencing match and the recap, the stage is set for the events of the rest of the story as Sulu is forced to use his diplomatic wiles to avoid another disastrous encounter with the Tholians.

Federica Manfredi (from David Messina’s studio) provides the artwork for this issue, and her art is similar in style to Messina’s, but has enough differences to distinguish her. The likenesses of characters we know well (Sulu and Rand) look very close to the actors that portrayed them, the uniforms fit the era perfectly, and the display graphics in the background bring out a strong feel for what the bridge looked and felt like in both "The Undiscovered Country" and "Flashback". Her imagery of starships at warp looks and feels exactly like the style seen in the early movies, and does not attempt to retcon the more "modern" style onto the older era.

The colors, provided by 2B Studios, are vibrant and jump off the page, suiting the timeframe of the story. Most of the exteriors look like they came from the sixth movie, while the interiors have a comfortable combination of the movie era with the warmth from the Voyager era. Some of the most striking colored panels are those set in open space, as the star fields almost look like images from the Hubble telescope. One shot even shows a Tholian web, complete with the strands glowing in space, casting an eerie glow on the page.

A striking image of the Excelsior at warp speed while Sulu ruminates on being late for dinner. Again. (click to enlarge)

David Messina presents the cover art, showing a static shot of Sulu in front of traditional Samurai gear, while the retailer’s image is a photograph of Sulu sitting in his command chair. The cover art has little to do with the story, but is a nice image of Sulu all the same.

Covers for "Captain’s Log: Sulu"
(click to enlarge)

This is a decent story to start off the "Captain’s Log" series, showing a day in the life of Hikaru Sulu. This issue shows the potential for the rest of the series. If the series can keep this level, then the anthology should be a decent one. This series will run like the previous "Alien Spotlight" series, with a different focus in each issue and a different writer. Also like that series, the issues will be periodic. Hopefully there will not be too much of a delay between issues. Look for an update from TrekMovie on the next planned issues of "Star Trek: Captain’s Log."

Captain’s Log: Sulu arrives in comic shops today, Wednesday January 13th, and you can also pick it up at


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Can’t wait to read it.

I have always been a Sulu Fan!

Not having read the comic I could be wrong here, but Constitution Class Schematic behind Sulu in the Turbolift…yeah Im one of THOSE ST fans lol. Looks great, the artwork especially!

Danno-good spot on that one.

@3: it’s not that you’re one of THOSE fans, it’s just that we all know the iconic images of the Enterprise and Excelsior. it’s an oversight to be sure.

Cover art doesn’t really look like him. The drawing one, not the photo, obviously.

@3 Maybe Capt Sulu had those installed because he secretly coveted the Enterprise.

Nicely done.
Part of me wishes they’d gone with a Captain Sulu series. Another is just glad that George got a few choice scenes along that way. Again…nicely done.

AND… George comes back from the dead next week on Heroes!

What? Trekweb isn’t covering the Jay Leno debacle?

Seriously, I love these comic book columns. I don’t have the time or money to keep up with these myself anymore so I appreciate the rundowns.

George Take is still handsome guy, whew i finally got that out of my chest. BTW is Takei returning to Heroes?

Yeah the art’s ok but obviously the artist needs to study the subject matter more, mainly what Sulu actually looked like. And yeah #3, that’s a rather epic fail putting a connie class in the turbolift. If it had been just a blob in the background I could have over looked it but they put some detail into it. Also the corridors look like they did in the Enterprise from ST II and III, not anything like the excelsior. They do look good, though. And of course I’m being picky, but I think if youre going to spend the time to do a comic you should learn enough about the subject to draw it at least accurately. It was like the other comic where Spock’s blood is red. To some that’s a minor oversight, but the whole Vulcans-have-green-blood thing is pretty important to us Trekkies, who are probably the only ones that will read these. Still looks like this could be a good story, though.

…looks like he’s chewing his lip on the cover….(the drawing)

…looks like he’s chewing his lip on the cover….(

Or eating a lemon.


First thing I noticed too. Ha.

Good read, looking forward to the next issue

In Wrath of Khan they had the wrong schematic panels in the background a few times.

I think the Warp effect looks really, really strange. Just utterly bizzarre.

But other than that, it all looks pretty darn good. Might head over and see if I can get this. :D

I know it’s not him, but the character behind Sulu in the left-hand comic photo has a strong resemblance to Darth Vader.

I was dissappointed with the art in this issue. Most of the time, Sulu didn’t even resemble GT. And the aforemention of the Constitution Class ship in the backround. There is a scene where they meet up with a ship that is similar to The Grissom. In a later scene that ship has become a TOS Constution class! And finally, when the Excelsior goes to warp, the artist inserted the word ZOOM! behind the ship! There are other little things too, but that’d be nitpicking!

on the penciled cover it looks like Sulu is wearing gold instead of white…like in the photo cover. also the rank looks like it’s captain, but it looks like it was drawn the same way DC Comics drew the ranks in their first Star Trek volume of comic books (the second volume by DC had some great artwork and paid attention to the details like the rank).

Haha I noticed the Constitution 1701-A diagrams in the background. Not a big deal (though IDW always seems to make tiny little errors like that) and the comic was great. One question I had was on page 11, the Excelsior flies by an old Constitution TOS type ship. That part confused me since they are trying to rescue an Oberth class ship. Can anyone tell me why there’s just a Constitution ship just “there”? Did I miss something?

Thats not a character behind Sulu it is Japanese yoroi (samurai armor) shown presumably to tie Sulu to his samurai roots. Whats always intrigued me is that ‘Sulu’ is not a Japanese name as there is no ‘L’ in Japanese. I do believe though its actually Philipino IINM as in the Sulu Sea.
In Japanese it would be Tsuru (Crane) so Ive always fancied that Sulu is either of Philipino/Japanese ancestry or his name is a 23d century anglicized version of the bird. The crane has a lot of significance in Japanese culture. That being said Im looking forward to this….”Ohhhhhhh my….”

George Takei recalled Gene Roddenberry wanted the character to represent all of Asia, which symbolized the peace of the Trek universe in spite of the numerous wars in the continent. Roddenberry did not want a nationally specific surname, so he looked at a map and saw the Sulu Sea. “He thought, ‘Ah, the waters of that sea touch all shores’,” the actor recalled, “and that’s how my character came to have the name Sulu.” In the book Inside Star Trek The Real Story, the character’s name is noted as a pun on the name of vice president of Desilu Studios, Herb Solow.

Thank you, WIkipedia.

I didnt like the “Easter Eggs” type shots of the Enterprise in various spots. It might be cool if they put the Enterprise in once or done a NCC1701 on the com link like when Shatner was on SeaQuest but to have 3 or 4 obvious Enterprise shots where they are not supposed to be is taking you out of the story.

@18: Ah, don’t you mean that Darth Vader has a strong resemblance to a samurai? ;)

#23 Yeah, what about Han Solo? :-)

When it comes to errors involving wrong ship graphics, dont forget “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan”. The bridge of the Reliant features graphics of the refit Constitution class on a side console. It shows the saucer, nacelles, and secondary hull all separate from each other. The Reliant has no secondary hull and its saucer is different as well.

I hope they give Rand more than a cameo. The Excelsior command crew was woefully devoid of women. I’ll be miffed if the only one they’ve got is reduced to saying ‘Hailing Frequencies open.’ It’ll be like the bad old days.

#26 Maybe they’ll fix the graphics in a future Blu-Ray edition.

@20: I noticed this immediately.

Just adds that the cover art (not the photo, which is spot on) SUCKS.

The golden overstrap on the shirt, and the undershirt and collar color is clearly the yellow-gold of operations, and not the white of command. You can tell this by comparison with the Starfleet Delta of that era, which in the cover art is correctly white in the background. That shade of white should match the undershirt and overstrap, and it doesn’t.

It wouldn’t cost them all that much to have eagle-eyed Trek fans preview their works. They don’t give a damn, clearly.

@26: The “retcon” that only works when the Reliant under Khan is facing Enterprise, is that they’ve brought up the Enterprise’s specs… but that doesn’t explain away the Reliant under Terrell… unless we can retcon it as a prank being played by Kyle and Chekov?

I was a good issue over all, but they need to switch out the Enterprise A for the Excelsior on the MSD Displays. That was my only complaint.

The comic world has has had trouble in the past getting the right look on some of our favorite characters, remember Marvels DS9 “Super Wooooorf!”

The cover art for Sulu makes him look like the lead singer from X Japan

The Oberth becoming a Constitution and the 1701 graphics in the Excelsior really stuck out.
Besides that I thought it was a good Sulu story.

I’m confused, is Sulu serving on the Enterprise? How does he hold two ranks at the same time? If you look at the pages before the flashback page, Sulu has the Captain’s rank on the shoulder strap, and an Admiral’s rank on his sleeve. I have one of these uniforms (which is the best by the way) and a smaller version of the shoulder rank is what is worn on the sleeve.
It is refreshing to have a single story issue for a change, I wish they would do more like DC did.