COMIC REVIEW – Star Trek: Boldly Go #4

Boldly going where no other Star Trek comic has gone before, Mike Johnson and Tony Shasteen have demonstrated they will push the boundaries of storytelling and established notions with this new series. Star Trek: Boldly Go #4 shows us how the Kelvin Universe crew deal with the Borg… and how the Borg deal with them.

Resistance is futile: three words which bring dread in the Star Trek universe. Yet, sometimes resistance is not futile, especially when it comes to humans (and a certain android). In the conclusion to Star Trek: Boldly Go’s opening story arc, the Borg (while trying to assimilate Spock) head to Romulus to discover how their technology wound up on the Narada. Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Endeavour warp to the rescue while seeking to assure the Romulans they are trying to help as writer Mike Johnson and artist Tony Shasteen present a conclusion that is not without consequence for the Endeavour’s crew.

Star Trek Boldly Go #4

Since this is the Federation’s first encounter with the Borg in the Kelvin Universe, Kirk and company don’t know what’s in store for them, and Johnson paints a scene free of the usual fear that accompanies the appearance of the Borg; it’s an interesting choice. Maybe it’s the fact that the Kelvin Universe’s crew has seen their ship torn apart so often (the Narada, Vengeance, and the Hive), that the Borg’s destruction of the Concord and assimilation of some of the crew in Issue #1 does not shock them. Instead, they focus on action rather than worry about the destruction the Borg have wrought or can deliver.

Spock gets assimilated in Star Trek Boldly Go Issue #4

The Borg meet Kirk and Spock (and a Romulan)
Memories are assimilated into the collective when the Borg turn their victims into drones. However, they might have met their match in Spock. Issue #4 opens on an emotional moment in the Vulcan’s life, and the Borg have difficulties incorporating his distinctiveness into the collective. Spock’s resistance presents a fascinating battle of wills, culminating in a very physical moment.

Spock’s plight is no less harrowing than Kirk, who must convince the Romulans that the Borg are not a Federation trick (that’s some trick!). His approach to rescuing Spock and the captured Concord/Endeavour crews is in sharp contrast to how Picard dealt with assimilated crew members with finality in Star Trek: First Contact (although Picard did have the experience of past encounters). Kirk’s decision should provide intriguing possibilities for future issues, especially with the realization that the Borg will be back.

One of the captivating ideas Johnson introduced was a Romulan first officer serving aboard the Endeavour. (Heck, if a Klingon can serve aboard the Enterprise D in the Prime Universe, why not a Romulan now?) Commander Valas’ inclusion on a Starfleet vessel allows a unique perspective into an race that is antagonistic towards the Federation. Plus it opens a window into the character’s (and reader’s) own ideas. Of course, Valas’ presence proves fruitful for the mission in the end.

Destruction is something that follows the Borg wherever they go, and this time their obliteration of the Romulan fleet makes Wolf 359 look like a border skirmish between the Klingons and Cardassians. Once again, Shasteen supplies stunning visuals to Johnson’s words (as in the above example). In addition, he illustrates a new Romulan Warbird that will look familiar in style.

Kirk talks to the Romulans in Star Trek Boldly Go #4

Issue #4 a welcome addition to the Kelvin Universe comic series
Sprinkling in several Star Trek Easter Eggs from the television series and films, as he has done in previous comics, Johnson also adds a callback to the just concluded IDW Star Trek monthly series. Referencing past stories add a continuity to the storytelling that all fans will appreciate, especially those who have been reading IDW’s Kelvin Universe stories from the beginning.

Unfortunately, four issues does not give Johnson a lot of time to focus on other characters, and while McCoy, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura are all aboard the Endeavour by the story’s conclusion (Scotty is currently teaching at Starfleet Academy), they never replace its crew. Issue #4’s focal point is Kirk and Spock and the obstacles they face. Readers should get used to the crew being split up for the time being, as Boldly Go takes place between the victory over Krall and the launching of the Enterprise A at the end of Star Trek: Beyond.

Delivering one of their strongest Star Trek tales yet, while breaking perceived storytelling norms, prove Johnson and Shasteen are just getting started. After five years spent in the Kelvin Universe, the creative team is boldly going into the future, and taking readers along for the ride. February’s issue #5 will present the first look at Jaylah, post-Krall, and should open additional unforeseen and exciting story opportunities in the months to come.

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