TrekInk: Review of Star Trek #18

uhura IDW Publishing releases Star Trek #18 this week. This issue of the ongoing series focuses on Uhura, the beginning of her relationship with Spock, and an event that takes place when she was a child. Spoilers ahead.

Star Trek #18
Written by Ryan Parrot, script consultant Mike Johnson, creative consultant Roberto Orci, art by Claudia Balboni, inks by Erica Durante, colors by Claudia SGC, letters by Shawn Lee, edited by Scott Dunbier


Starfleet Academy: It’s the end of the term and Uhura has already uploaded her thesis and finished with the highest score in the class. She invites her teacher, Spock, to dinner. Several months later, Spock asks Uhura to engage in Emafa Kito, a momentary mind-meld to share fears, hopes, dreams and memories. Years earlier: Nyota is aboard a shuttle with her parents and uncle. Meteorite damage forces Nyota’s uncle Raheem to suit up and check the shuttle exterior. An explosion severely damages the shuttle. Still outside the shuttle, Raheem must calm his frightened niece and carefully instruct Nyota how to get her parents safely into the escape pod. Once free from the shuttle, it explodes, and Nyota is stunned to see her uncle already beginning to re-enter the atmosphere. Burning up, Raheem tells Nyota how proud he is of her.


Sharing a private memory.


I found the last issue of the ongoing series, featuring McCoy, a little disappointing. Not so for Ryan Parrot’s tale of Uhura’s past. Her courtship of Spock and a very emotional story from her childhood tell us a lot about her strength and passion for life. We don’t see this depth of character in comics very often. Her story doesn’t tell us anything about the forthcoming movie, but it’s clear that Uhura can handle anything that comes her way. The artists, Claudia Balboni and Erica Durante provide sensational artwork to go with the story. Likewise, Claudia Scarletgothica’s colors add to the poignant atmosphere of this very satisfying episode in the ongoing series. Still to come in the run-up to the new movie are issues featuring the rest of the crew, Scotty (issue #19), Checkov and Sulu (issue #20).

Tim Bradstreet’s cover art features Uhura over a profile of Spock, who is also featured on the retailer incentive photo cover. Uhura has great posture in all the cover images she appears on. I don’t know why, but that seems amusing to me. I suppose that’s better than being hunched over a comm panel.

Star Trek #18 cover art by Tim Bradstreet

Cover: Art by Tim Bradstreet

Star Trek #18 RI A cover art by Tim Bradstreet Star Trek #1B RI B photo cover

Cover RI A: Art by Tim Bradstreet, Cover RI B: Photo cover

Star Trek #18 is coming to your local comic shop this Wednesday, February 20, and in digital format same day as print. This issue will be available in a trade paperback collection this summer, Star Trek, Volume 5, July 2013.

Preview of Star Trek #18

Star Trek #18 page 1 Star Trek #18 page 2 Star Trek #18 page 3 Star Trek #18 page 4 Star Trek #18 page 5 Star Trek #18 page 6 Star Trek #18 page 7

Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.

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Messed up here — the preview is for Countdown to Darkness #2.

I look forward to reading this one. It’s really nice to get some in-depth back-story on all these characters.

Here’s the link to the preview of Uhura’s back-story.

Excuse me if I am an idiot, I thought Nero had modified the timeline to create a new independant one, but , now, you say April was in command of a ship that existed before Nero’s arrival and was decommissined 2 years before Kirk got the chair on NCC1701.What about Spock? He was in Starfleet before Kirk, and apparently doesn’t know the name of April neither the former Enterprise. I don’t follow you anymore! No more!

It sounds like the Original Enterprise existed before the “abrams” Enterprise….the ship as well as the constitution class fleet was “decommissioned” in a sense and rebuilt as a highly advanced ship that shared the same name.

Would make sense…the original Enterprise was an old star ship even when Kirk took command.

#4 – The timeline changed in 2238 and Kirk didn’t get the Enterprise until 2258 in the new timeline. So their could be enough time between those date for their to have been another Enterprise before Pike’s and Kirk’s.

IDW must be running out of covers, isn’t the photo cover the same cover to issue #4 of IDW’s STAR TREK 2009 movie adaptation cover?

#7 – The alternate universe timeline occurred 25 years before Kirk came to be on board the Enterprise. Kirk entered the Academy at age 22 and qualified in three years, not four, as he said he would. Prime Spock came through the wormhole (which, for prime Spock, felt like only seconds) 25 years after Nero entered. When Nero asked Captain Robau what the date was, Robau said 2233.04.

I love it. I always figured that Spock/Uhura relationship was not a student/teacher one. He was no longer her instructor when she initiated whatever it was that they might have by asking him to dinner. I have never believed that those two would have been so silly.

I am also glad to see that the writers are showing that, at least by the 23rd century, that large organizations like Starfleet appear to have a more enlightened attitude toward consenting adult relationships of various kinds (friendships and/or sexual ones). Thank goodness for that!

so is ongoing canon as is the coutdown comics>?

Nitpick here — Spock using contractions in speech. He has never used contractions and neither did any other Vulcan in the original series and movies. It bothered me when Sakonna did it in Deep Space Nine as well as all the Vulcans in Enterprise.

@13 Spock does use contractions in TOS (I believe he did it in COTEOF). . . DATA was the one who wasn’t able to use contractions, and even he did it once. ..


… fine. He VERY RARELY used contractions. :)

Good review, Mark. This issue is definitely looking superb compared to the misfire that was the Pamela McCoy issue. I wish the artists had made Nyota’s mother look like Nichelle Nichols though!

@13 Spock *rarely* uses contractions. You’re thinking of Data who almost never uses contractions. Spock used them frequently in TOS. Even in the sample pages here, I only find Spock using “I’ve” (phonetically close to “I have” with a reduced vowel) and “you’re” (close to “you are” with a reduced vowel)… contrasting with many instances in the sample pages of him saying “it is” rather than “it’s” and “what is” rather than “what’s”. That seems rather rare then, if he only contracts 2 out of 6 or so opportunities.

Sorry, time lag in postings…. @13,15 Jovius, you make an interesting point though! There is a phenomenological review of this manner of speaking, which one can observe at this link: ;)

commenting just the preview I can say:
– I find it funny that she believes that he’s trying to take her to bed lol and in a way, he’s asking her something that is far more intimate, at least for him. Must be [the relationship] a serious thing for him if he asks her to mind meld with him. Anyway, thank you for putting something from his culture in the relationship
– Is that Spock’s apartment? I think there is a mistake there as you can see a girl (presumably Uhura from another panel) on the left (at first I thought they were in a restaurant and that girl was a waitress lol but I then noticed that she doesn’t have half of her body.. )

10. Rose (as in Keachick)
I too thought that their relationship started later.
I also thought that as soon as she wasn’t his student anymore it wasn’t against the rules for them to date each other but perhaps they still chose to keep their relationship private by choice which makes totally sense rules or not

I loved Uhura’s attitude in the right time … obviously she knew this was the only way she could have a chance with Mr. Spock.

I’m not sure why Spock thought that people might think him posting Uhura to the Enterprise (which is clearly where she was meant to be) as showing “favouritism”. The only thing I can think of is how some people can be so envious, jealous and snarly about another person’s success, in either their professional or personal life and so Spock tried not to expose Uhura to that possibility. Perhaps someone made a snarly comment to him about the two of them. It happens, unfortunately, and it’s not very nice. Clearly, Uhura was not going to be denied her rightful place by anyone for any reason and fair enough too. Go Uhura!

Several months into dating this broad, and Spock still hasn’t sealed the deal? She practically threw herself at him! This guy has no game!

Highest score in her class.

@23 “Lastly …..Data from TNG was the only one that never used contractions. It was one of the main distinction between him and his twin brother LORE.”

Data does use contractions.

“Correction sir. That’s blown out.”

I am so happy to see something of Uhura’s backstory.

FINALLY!!! It took nearly 50 years, but we got it!

I think my favorite thing about this is the harrowing and life-shaping adventure she has as a child. I am so glad to see her family members.

….So we get to see a bit of culture from Vulcan and East Africa.


Though, I hope there’s a bit more specificity, like country, state, and city where Uhura lived.

I hope we get some bits of Swahili.

@24 – Data used them when the writer’s bible was still in flux. Once the character was established, he could no longer use them. Not easily at least. Remember that’s one thing that 4th season “Future Imperfect” Riker picked up on.

How could she be so sure that she was the top in the class if not everyone had submitted their final work by that point?

Seems a bit presumptuous & arrogant…

20. Rose (as in Keachick)
Spock knows about prejudices very well as he had experienced them himself since he was a kid and even among the vulcans so I think that this [the reason you theorized] most likely is the reason why in the hangar scene he said that he was worried about the appearance of favoritism.


Hmm. I like this theory. It makes sense to me.


Yes, Uhura is being presumptuous and arrogant…. Or the likelier theory is that this is a simple plothole not spotted by the writers???

Oh, but it’s more fun to see Uhura as somehow lacking, right?

Stay classy, fandom.

I liked this. I wish these things weren’t so short.

Mark, your review was spot on. I just got through reading this story, and I’m not ashamed to say that it definitely moved me. I was totally unprepared for the depth of the story–but you told us didn’t you? This is one of the best back-stories that I’ve read thus far. The team didn’t a really good job!

#30 Jack–I totally agree with you. These comics are too short. Especially when the story is especially good.

29. gingerly – Reel your fraking neck in, it was a joke doofus.

Agreed with 27. Highest score in the class before the due date sounds like they weren’t thinking when they were writing – which is consistent with the reboot universe – but hey they needed to establish Uhura is awesome and can make a good retort.


Riiiight. Because it’s so clearly “a joke”.

And so is calling me a doofus and calling for me to reel in something that wasn’t extended?

I don’t know you like that for you to be name-calling.

Anyone who’s not a troll knows that bashing Uhura is common enough that you shouldn’t make statements like that.

You weren’t joking.

You’re trying to save face, now.

Again, stay classy.

Yea~ An authentic back story and not fan-fiction dribble.
This is awesome! Gotta buy it.

Yes, Uhura does seem a bit presumptuous in assuming that she got the highest grade. Maybe she was doing a bit of quipping and more than a bit of hopeful thinking.

I personally suspect that the dialogue regarding highest grade was just sloppy writing. However, you could also spin it that she meant she got the highest possible grade (ie 100%) – she’s supposed to be smart enough and hard working enough for that to be the case.

As I buy the comics bound up in the Volume n paperbacks, and this comic will be in Volume 5, I’ve got to wait until August-September 2013 to get it, according to Amazon :-(

Presumptuous…not at all.
Most of the time in academia, in high school as well as on the collegiate level, the student who has the highest GPA going into the final exam or term paper, will also be the same student who receives the highest grade in the class. Mainly because, that student has maintained the highest GPA consistently throughout the semester. So, it really wouldn’t matter how the other students performed on their finals. If Uhura was the forerunner going into her exams and presuming she didn’t flunk her final, which we know she didn’t, and maintained her high level of performance throughout her final term paper, it wouldn’t be a forgone conclusion that she also retained her high level of excellence on her final (since it was already graded) and beat out all her other classmates.

(You could also liken this theory to trying to surpass, your proposed high school valedictorian or saludetorian even if you tried to ace all of your finals.)
It’s the same principle. Uhura is sharp.

@27. Well, she was porking her teacher. That’s usually good for a high grade…..nobody here seems to have an issue with fraternization, so lets just call it for what it is, fraternizing. It creates the appearance of improper promotion, so what the hell, let everyone do it.

For those who don’t have access to this issue yet, someone has uploaded the final frame of the comic to the internet. I won’t post a link here as I’m unsure of the etiquette/ethics of doing so, but it’s fairly easy to find. The frame is absolutely gorgeous, both in content and execution. I agree, based on what I’ve seen so far, that the artwork in this issue is exceptional.

@39 Phil

Did you actually read the review and the first 7 pages of the comic? She did NOT enter into a personal relationship with him until he was no longer her teacher, and as for any intimacy – that appears to be quite a few months down the track from the first dinner.

We don’t really know what the fraternisation rules are for Starfleet in the 23rd century – we can only guess. The comic does establish he was no longer her teacher when they started the personal relationship. Whether she was working for him as a TA during this time is unclear, and again we don’t know what the rules are in such a situation. We do know that when he was in a position to make a decision regarding her deployment, he put her on the Farragut to avoid the ‘appearance of favouritism’, even though she was objectively qualified for the Enterprise. She called him out on it, and rightly so in my opinion.

#41 ObsessiveStarTrekFan:

I swore I was going to stay away from this thread for my own sanity. Oh well. As a Navy brat, born and raised, I couldn’t let this one go…

I understand where Phil is coming from. Our real life military does have a fraternization policy, an entire subjection of the UCMJ, with very specific rules against romantic relationships between both Chief Petty Officers and Junior Enlisted within the same chain of command and between instructor and student (so regardless of the teacher/student relationship coming to a conclusion, their ranks would still prevent a relationship between them). Roddenberry himself was a pilot in the Air Force, in fact, he was awarded a couple of medals if I’m not mistaken (don’t know if you knew this but before he came up with Star Trek, he had a one season show based on military life called “The Lieutenant”). So the correlation between the military and the conceptualization of Star Trek is there.

Although never directly stated (although I do believe Janeway referenced in an episode of Voyager, it escapes my mind which one, that a fraternization policy is at the captain’s discretion, at least in the 24th century) its easy to see where the comparison is coming from.

As for the assignment scene… I was actually thrilled to see a self-confident, self-assured Uhura in the 2009 film, but…

For those of us with any military exposure whatsoever, we all cringed during that scene. You simply do not speak to your commanding officer that way. Your answer should always be “Yes sir” no matter how smart or deserving you may be (believe it or not there is written protocol for this, as well). In fact, in real life you don’t deny your orders, period. You can maybe swap with another person, if they are willing, but when you join you agree to follow. The way she approached him was far, far too familiar, which is why more than a small number of us did a double-take (heck, I still double-take during that scene, and I’ve seen the movie a bazillion times).

For the record, I’m not trying to start an argument with you, I’m explaining the mindset of those of us who had a little trouble swallowing that particular aspect of the movie. Cringing during that scene doesn’t mean I hate Uhura, far from it, it simply means that I was raised to view policies within a militaristic organization a certain way and that scene was contradictory to said knowledge thus… uncomfortable.

No offence intended, but why would Uhura be dragging her parents a distance in feet and not metres. Trek is 100% metric, baby (except in Trek V, I think Star Trek ’09 got this right). Right now, pretty much everybody but the U.S. uses metric — the whole darned planet. But wouldn’t American readers be able to figure out what a couple of metres is, more or less… (1.5ish)

“For those of us with any military exposure whatsoever, we all cringed during that scene. You simply do not speak to your commanding officer that way. Your answer should always be “Yes sir” no matter how smart or deserving you may be (believe it or not there is written protocol for this, as well”

I resist responding to your comments as I fear this will get me told I’m insulting Gene Roddenberry or get me threatened with being reported to the site administrator, but, while Trek had discipline and protocol — I don’t recall it being a “Sir! Yessir” kind of organization. I’m not attempting to challenge your discomfort with the scene, just making an observstiob. And is he her commanding officer in this scene — he’s in charge of doling out assignments, apparently?

38. Spuhura Addict
I know that from experience lol in some course you simply can’t get the highest grade if you haven’t archived high grades in all the previous exams.
so say that the max the students could get in that class was 100 and it could be the total of previous archived grades + the final thesis. If Uhura got a 100 then she knows, mathematically, that she got the highest score in that class as no one will get more than 100 (they could get a 100 too but this still makes her one of the top students)
if that was the highest grade they could get and she got it then it’s not so presumptuous for her to state that simple fact, at all

and anyway.. guys are you really nitpicking about this?

I swear , I bet the writers have so much fun reading us. We’re all kinda absurd …

41. ObsessiveStarTrekFan
This is an ad hominem argument between the haters and the writers.

I love how some people here are still making certain assumptions about the story all the while even the last comic essentially contradicted them all and proved the very opposite of what they’re saying.
The writers say that the sky is blue and people here write that it’s red and even whine about the writers not making it blue enough.
and I’m not even surprised ^

42. Trekkiegal63

That’s what I call being a glutton for punishment :-)

I stayed off all threads for a week after one of them went to hell with name calling and bad language etc, but I couldn’t leave this one alone – more fool me.

I can see where you are coming from. I have no military background – the closest I get is that my father served in WWII, so I don’t automatically think from a military perspective.

I did find this quote fom Bob Orci posted on this web site in the comments section of the article on Orci & Kurtzman at WGA on Jan 23, 2010. It relates to the whole fraternisation issue, rather than the questioning of orders in the assignment scene, but I think it’s still relevent as an indicator of how things might have changed:

“Who is to say that in a futuristic utopia-ish society, workplace romance is a no-no? Perhaps it’s fine and allowed. After all, NASA is already having to deal with the potential sexual health of astronauts as they ponder prolonged space flight. May not be unprofessional at all at Starfleet. That view may simply be a remnant of our puritanical society that Starfleet outgrew.”

Regarding questioning orders – yes, I accept that from today’s military perspective that would be a big no-no. Is it in Starfleet? I don’t really know. While I am aware that Roddenberry had a miltary background, what I remember from TOS, and I am speaking of the series here, not the movies, is that things were far less formal than I associate with a military organisation of today. Yes, there were ranks and orders. However there was no saluting or ‘captain on the bridge’ that I remember. I also do specifically remember both McCoy and Uhura verbally (and publically) lashing Spock for orders he had just given while in acting command of the Enterprise in at least a couple of the episodes. So, I’m going to cite precedent – even if the precedent was in the future in an alternate reality… I can probably look up which episodes I’m thinking of if you want me to.

I do recall watching The Lieutenant. I remember noticing at the time that the actor who played Gary Mitchell in Where no Man Has Gone Before (Gary Lockwood) was the same actor that played 2nd Lieutenant William Tiberius Rice in The Lieutenant (is there some significance to Tiberius that I’m missing? That’s 2 Roddenberry shows with the main character having Tiberius as their middle name… ) …and having just used Wikipedia to refresh my memory on this stuff, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised how many TOS actors guest starred on The Lieutenant, as they were both Roddenberry shows.

My reaction to Phil’s comment has more to do with his implication Uhura got that high grade in the first place because she was in a sexual relattionship with Spock, when the comic preview we read makes it abundantly clear that this is not the case, rather than any concerns he may have over whether the relationship they then undertook would constitute fraternisation.

30. Jack – February 20, 2013

I liked this. I wish these things weren’t so short.

I liked both backstories (McCoy’s and Uhura’s) and I wish the comics weren’t so short…but I have to admit that the one about Uhura surprised me I didn’t expect it to be so good and it’s better than the one about McCoy. Now I’m curious about the others (though, admittedly, theirs were the ones I was the most interested about)
Little Uhura was so cute and that memory was heart breaking. The S/U relationship also is introduced perfectly and it’s believable.

re discussion about military, fraternisation, etc. there are a few things in the TOS writer’s bible:

‘Q. Is it a completely military arrangement?
A. Semi-military but without being heavily authoritarian. For example we will not be aware of ‘officers’ and ‘enlisted men’ categories. And we will avoid saluting and other medieval leftovers.’


‘Marriage, love and general hanky-panky? We’ll assume (and hope) all will still exist.’


‘Stay away from petty military politics, it usually comes off as unbelievable in our advanced century.’

Mind you, the first page says Captain Kirk would never, ever put his arms around his pretty Yeoman when faced with certain death, but in ‘Balance of Terror’ he does just that – LoL!×14/balanceofterror187.jpg

#48 Baby:

Making things personal are we?

It isn’t, by far, the only thing I keep talking about. I have posted on other topics. But what I have posted on it seems to have struck a nerve with you…

I peruse threads for the same reason you do, I imagine. I love Star Trek. The reason I was going to avoid posting on this thread was because I knew it would be infiltrated by shippers, which, on multiple occasions have taken their parasocial relationship with a fictional set of characters to such extreme measures that they attack real life people for having a differing opinion. I can point you to numerous examples of this here on this site. I purposely left my post to strictly about the military for that reason, I didn’t want to turn this into a previous discussion and because I have military knowledge, adding the disclaimer that I was explaining a point of view, not necessarily the only point of view, just one perspective. By delving into a personal attack against me instead of addressing the point I was trying to make you just made yourself a sterling example. Congratulations.

But here’s the short answer: I can post what I want, within the guidelines of this forum, of course, and as long as its fairly on topic, i.e. about Trek, when I want, because this is a public access forum. That does not mean you have to agree with me. However, you DO NOT have the right to tell me what I can and can’t post about, regardless of whether it offends you shipper sensibilities or not. You’re lucky I woke in a good mood, otherwise I’d post a diatribe on the unhealthy psychology evident in ‘shipping’ just because you’ve inspired, i.e. egged, it on.

#44 Jack:

I don’t randomly go around reporting posters. I reported that one poster because she was completely out-of-line and bordering on psychotic. I was far from the only one who thought so. I’ve never gotten that impression about you, wrong as you may be on the subject of the allegory and TOS’s influence over modern science fiction (I kid, I kid).

To answer your question, while I did always get that Kirk’s command was more informal, which I always attributed more to his particular command style, protocol was still respected. Here is some tidbits of the “Where No Man Has Gone Before” script, found here:

KIRK: No visual contact, Mister Kelso?
KELSO [on monitor]: No, sir. It’s too small to be a vessel. It only reads about one metre in diameter.
SPOCK: Not large enough even for a lifeboat.
KELSO [on monitor] Small enough to bring it aboard, sir, if you want to risk it.
KIRK: Lock onto it, Mister Kelso

SCOTT: Materialiser ready, sir.
KIRK: Bring it aboard. Old-style ship recorder that could be ejected when something threatened the ship.

KIRK: Screen on.
KELSO: Screen on, sir. Approaching galaxy edge, sir.
KIRK: Neutralise warp, Mister Mitchell. Hold this position.
MITCHELL: Neutralise warp, sir.

DEHNER: Autopsy report, sir. Each case showed damage to the body’s neural circuit. An area of the brain was burned out.
KIRK: And you, are you feeling all right?

*shrug* That’s a lot of ‘sirs’ within the first five minutes of the episode, so I do believe an argument can be made either way. And anyway, I was never arguing that strict military policies are precisely the case within Star Trek, merely that those of us with that knowledge perceived it that way, which is why certain scenes that seem to be bordering on insubordination are uncomfortable.

I also do specifically remember both McCoy and Uhura verbally (and publically) lashing Spock for orders he had just given while in acting command of the Enterprise in at least a couple of the episodes. So, I’m going to cite precedent – even if the precedent was in the future in an alternate reality… I can probably look up which episodes I’m thinking of if you want me to.

LOL, no need, I’m well aware of the scenes you speak of. In fact, there were multiple occasions of McCoy questioning Spock’s orders or at the very least sassing back. “The Man Trap” for one, just off the top of my head. “The Tholian Web” for another. That’s pretty much par for course with the two of them (love the man dearly, but McCoy should have been written up by Spock many, many times, that scene in “Requiem for Methuselah” was completely out-of-line).

However, there are cases of Kirk dressing down officers for informalities, such as the case in “Balance of Terror”, so, an argument can be made either way.