We interrupt our regularly scheduled anticipation of Star Trek Into Darkness for a brief, but entertaining visit with Sulu and Chekov in Star Trek #20, the last prequel issue of IDW Publishing’s ongoing series. Comic spoilers ahead.
Star Trek #20
Written by Ryan Parrot, story consultants Mike Johnson and Roberto Orci, art by Claudia Balboni (pages 1-11), inks by Erica Durante (pages 1-11), art by Luca Lamberti (pages 12-22), colors by Arianna Florean, color supervisor Claudia SGC, letters by Tom B. Long, edited by Scott Dunbier
Red Level Down: Starfleet Academy Cadet Hikaru Sulu is in the running for the last available spot in Red Squad. Cadet Amy McKenna reminds him what success or failure can mean for his career. On a training run, Cadet McKenna trips Cadet Pavel Chekov out of her way. Cadet Jim Kirk gives the young man a hand up. Kirk has been looking for Chekov. McKenna has instructed Sulu to buzz the crowd during her Federation Day speech as his final Red Squad initiation task. His friend David tells him it’s too dangerous. Kirk meets Chekov in his dorm room and asks him if it’s possible to reprogram a training simulation. He also learns that Chekov is planning something special for McKenna’s speech and warns him not to do anything he’ll be ashamed of later. On Federation Day, Sulu and Chekov must each decide who they are and how they will live their lives.
Noooo, not Belzodian fleas!
Writer Ryan Parrott tells an illuminating story of character featuring Sulu and Chekov at Starfleet Academy, with an amusing cameo appearance by fellow cadets Kirk and Gaila. In this alternate universe, it seems that the most of the original series gang are at Starfleet Academy in some capacity, mostly as cadets. We learn how Kirk began his Kobiyashi Maru campaign, but mostly we see Sulu and Chekov grow up. This is a novel moment in Star Trek history. Of course, we knew they would do the right thing, but I appreciate Parrott’s efforts to give us a thoughtful backstory for these underutilized characters.
The artists for this issue, Claudia Balboni, Erica Durante, Luca Lamberti, with colorists Arianna Florean and Claudia SGC, have also done a nice job. They’ve captured Sulu’s seriousness, Chekov’s youth and Kirk’s insouciance in their artwork. They gave Red Squad some cool black uniforms with red piping. That’s a step up from the red jammies all the other cadets have to wear. For the record, Gaila looks terrific in her red jammies.
There are three covers for Star Trek #20. Tim Bradstreet’s regular and retailer incentive sketch covers feature a portrait of Sulu and Chekov at attention, while a worried-looking Chekov has the retailer incentive photo cover to himself. The regular cover is colored by Grant Goleash. The Starfleet delta over the Federation logo and starship blueprints looks very elegant on the art covers.
Preview of Star Trek #20
Star Trek #20 will be at your local comic shop Wednesday, May 8, and will also be available in digital format. This issue will be collected in trade paperback this summer.
This is the last issue of the ongoing series to feature prequel tales. After the new movie arrives in theaters on May 17, the comics will continue with issue #21, the first installment of a three-issue story arc, After Darkness, set after events in the film. There isn’t much else in the way of comic news to announce. There are a few trade paperback reprints coming this summer and fall. IDW panelists at a recent comics retailer convention announced they would be revamping stardates in the ongoing series. I’m not sure why. Comic book stardates are as varied as the stars themselves, but the new stardates will be canon. Woohoo! I can hardly wait! I wonder if they’re going to fix stardates in the previous 697 Star Trek comics?
We now return you to TrekMovie’s regularly scheduled programming. See you at the movies!
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.