IDW Announces ‘Star Trek: Year Five’ – Exploring The Fifth Year Of Kirk’s Mission

This morning IDW via The Hollywood Reporter announced a new Original Series focused comic book series starting in April. This is the first comic series to focus on TOS since the Year Four series in 2008.

As implied by the title, this series will tell the fifth year of Kirk’s 5-year mission.

As Starfleet’s flagship returns home, the series will investigate how each member of the iconic crew feels about the uncertain future that awaits them as they reach Earth.

The series has a planned “beginning, a game-changing middle, and a definite end,” and will be written by a rotating group of comic book writers including Brandon Easton, Jody Houser, Jim McCann and the team of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing. Kelly and Lanzing are writing the opening arc of the series, which will be illustrated by Stephen Thompson.

Lanzing is quoted as saying the series will take:

“a vital, hard-hitting, character-focused look at Captain Kirk on his last year in command. [Kirk’s actions in the series] will have huge ripple effects, from the outbreak of war in the Alpha Quadrant to an unprecedented strain of trust with Spock. We’ll turn a mirror on modern society, just as [the original television series] did in the 1960s, and go boldly towards meaningful, heartfelt stories.”

THR notes that while fans generally assume The Animated Series is set during those last years of the 5-year mission, Year Five will be the first stories explicitly set during the that time.

Greg Hildebrandt/IDW Publishing

The first artwork IDW shared with the public is from legendary fantasy and sci-fi illustrator Greg Hildebrandt, this is his first Trek related art.

For information on how to secure copies of Star Trek: Year Five, please contact your local comic shop or visit to find a store near you.


Keep up with all the Star Trek comics news, previews, and reviews in TrekMovie’s Comics Category.

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Interesting. What’s the quality like in these IDW comics, anyway? And is Year Four worth reading?

I can’t vouch for much of their output, as I’m not really much into comics. (As I noted below, this project may turn out to be an exception.) That said, their adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s original script for “The City on the Edge of Forever” was very simply one of the best products with the name “Star Trek” on the label to come along in decades, in any medium, and I’ll always be grateful to IDW for producing it.

Michael Hell,

As this will be written by a rotating crew of writers, it is difficult to expect the various qualities of the individual stories to be consistent. But I share your enthusiatic hope that in their least it will be as good as their COTEOF.

If you want my advice as a long time Star Trek comics reader (I have been reading Trek since Marvel had the franchise in 90s and since then have also read a lot of the preceding DC stuff), you can completely skip Year 4 and Year 4 The Enterprise Experiment.

I find most of IDW’s Star Trek mini series completely forgettable and I just could not care for the Star Trek Ongoing Series and spin offs based on Star Trek 2009 (but I am a bit biased because I don’t like the Kelvinverse. I did read some of the comics though and they weren’t very good. The writer often had very little understanding of the source material or resolved storylines poorly)

My advice; read all of the Star Trek stuff John Byrne made for IDW (don’t know how you feel about the man but the comics were very enjoyable and very original series like).

After that you can always check out Star Trek Captain’s Log, Star Trek Alien Spotlight 1 and 2, and Star Trek Waypoint (an anthology series plus a special)

The only IDW Star Trek planned for release that I will certainly check out is Star Trek TNG 20/20 which will take place in Picard’s days on the Stargazer.

Year 5, go through it in a comic book store first before you purchase it.

Guaranteed some kind of squeezing in of Discovery

Awesome :)

Kirk & Spock beam on board Discovery – ‘hey Spock why does ur sisters ship look like its from the 25th century?’

Please no.

No doubt about that.
Since Star Trek Ongoing was canceled IDW has been leaping over to Discovery.

Hate to say it, but the likenesses of Kirk and Spock are so far off the mark. Otherwise, it looks good. Excited about the series.

What likeness? Nine actors have played Spock, two have played Kirk and McCoy. Etc.

If your going to include all 9 Spock actors then Actually 4 have played Kirk.
Don’t forget baby Kirk, and young kirk in Star Trek 09

Indeedy. Plus cartoon Kirk who although was voiced by Shatner, was in fact a smorgasbord of felt tips and crayons.

And lets not forget that in one episode the actress, Sandra Smith, was James T. Kirk for a brief bit. Come to think of it, wasn’t this also the first occurence of a filmed male sf lead character changing sex?

You’re forgetting John Belushi.

Baby Kirk from the Star Trek Babies Show. With Baby Spock, Baby Uhura, Baby Sulu, Baby Scotty, Baby Bones, the baby who likes to play doctor. And of course Baby Gonzo.

That’s actually quite a sad thing to bring up. A lack of consistency due to the reboots and Discovery.

The liknesses have nothing to do with reboots and DSC. Everything to do with the artist, who has never been one to nail actor likeness. I’ve followed the Hildebrandts for many years. Go google their Star Wars work. Not exactly photo-real, but that’s part of their charm.

I do want photo real, as in the IDW adaptation of City on the Edge of Forever.

That’s fine, but my point is that this wasn’t a case of confusing different actors. Hildebrant is simply not good at likeness.

And my guess is they chose him to paint the cover because he provides a very 60’s style of painting to the imagery.

That was an awesome adaptation. It showed not only that 4 issue stories are the way to go, but also that Yeomen Rand can be awesome if she’s written like a highly trained member of the crew instead of a space waitress.

It’s supposed to be likenesses of Shatner and Nimoy. Falling far short of that.

I agree Kirk and Spock look off character but Scotty… yikes lol

Uhura looks good though

Another actor played Kirk. Vic Mignona, who produced and starred in Star Trek Continues. A very worthy fan series. The production on it was incredibly good. Even better in a lot of ways than the original series.

Gasp! Hildebrandt? What a wonderful cover! Very classic, and reminiscent of something you’d have maybe seen in the 60s or 70s. Love GH.

I wonder if the uniforms will look like that? I almost want to see them update them a little to reflect TMP era they’re headed into.

Looks like Bones and Scotty have gotten promotions to Commander. Poor Uhura stuck at Lt., and Sulu might have gotten a demotion to Ensign along with Chekov, who hasn’t progressed much through the ranks in 5 years.

Check out one of DC Comics Annuals from their 1980’s run. It was the last days of the five year mission and featured Willard Decker coming on board wearing the TMP uniform, as by this point the 1701 crew were wearing out of sate uniforms as they were to far away from the Federation for replacements.

No one is going to buy this. Sets drawn like the cardboard sets of the 1960’s and shading like the cheesy lighting of the 1960’s… such a shame. If only they had ignored that classic TOS look and changed it all for modern production values, maybe then, just maybe it would have worked……..

Count me, then, at least as a potential “no one.” And I suspect that there are quite a few remaining TOS fans of a certain age out there who love those “cheesy” 1960s production values (that the late Jerry Finnerman, among others, was repeatedly honored for) and would be willing to buy into this, so long as it was well done.

A little less arrogance next time would be nice, thanks.

He’s trying to parody some of the arguments made concerning Discovery’s production values. (I think the argument ignores the difference between a cult comic book that appeals to a niche audience and a TV show, of course.) But I don’t see that as arrogance.

Then my name is “no one”.👍

Count me in as a No One as well.

Comic books are not the same as a multi million dollar TV show, they can get away with having it look like the 60s show. And they also know the only people who would pick up this comic will be die hard TOS fans anyway. Its clearly not made for the general audience or even casual Trek fans its really for people who always imagined what would’ve happened if the original show went five seasons. And I have no idea how many comics a company has to sell to be considered successful but my guess is its probably just a few hundred thousand at best so its not like they have to make it super broad if you’re trying to sell a show or a film and there are enough. You have to look at it on those perspectives.

Not a socalled die hard fan,but I’m still getting this. No one indeed,lol! I’m just a casual Trekker who gets whatever I like that I come across. Plain and simple. lol!

I just meant its targeted for TOS fans first obviously which was my real point. But I’m sure some casual fans will get it too. And its not exactly the first TOS comic made recently, so its weird someone would even suggest no one would buy it. They are still made all the time and thats because enough people buy them in the first place.

Oh I know what you meant,lol,but still not a die hard fan. I do enjoy the whole Trek thing,and any regular person who sees my…..little,lol,collection might think I’m just not a casual fan,lol! And I’ve read an awful lot of the comics and have enjoyed most of those too. And will certainly get this as well.


But no one really suggested that. Like River Temarc pointed out- Will was clearly sarcastic.

If this was a big hit book selling in the 50K range, i might agree with his (albeit sarcastic) point. But this might sell to 5-8K readers.

That said, comics, fan-films, toys, and other “collector driven” products are the perfect mediums to target TOS purists. Those purists are usually older and have more discretionary income, and thus are able to afford more costly product (such as a $4.99 comic book or $39.99 action figure) that is required on smaller run products aimed at niche audiences.

But a big budget film or TV series requires MILLIONS of viewers/tickets/subscribers to be be profitable, and so they have to aim their product at a more general audience who is just not interested in watching a series or film that faithfully recreates a show made more than 50 years ago.

LOL you’re right. I didn’t pick it up as sarcasm but yes it makes sense now re-reading it. Good to know!

I know the comics industry– if they sell 5000 it will be a huge hit for IDW. The highest selling Trek book of 2018 was a TNG mirror universe book that sold about 2500 copies.

The highest selling IDW title of 2018 (aside from their Kid’s Spider-Man book licensed from Marvel and a Batman crossover with TMNT) was a Rick and Morty/Dungeons and Dragon comic at 37,000 (which itself was a co-production with another publisher). Aside from those three, every single one of their comics sold in the 2-3K range.

As for your estimate of “a few hundred thousand”– only about 50 comics sold more than 100K in all of 2018 (out of several thousand), and only FOUR sold in excess of 300K– Batman #50, Action Comics #1000, Fantastic Four #1, and Amazing Spider-Man #800. You’ll notice the number trend there (they are anniversaries or #1), and all had multiple gimmick covers and incentive programs where stores got special gifts if they ordered more. I believe each of them also had copies as part of a Loot Crate which accounted for at least 100K of each title, too.

Can you tell me where you get the numbers? I’d be interested to compare them to the old comic books of trek dc and the 90’s marvel.

Hey there,

Regarding your question, check out

And sales of DC and 90s Marvel comics (at least in stores) back in the day were way higher than the sales of Trek comics today.

Yes, comichron is a good place, and I do believe they have numbers going back decades.

In general #s from the 90s have LONG fallen off. In the late 90s if a book did 100K it would get CANCELLED. So Trek books from the 90s may very well have sold 150K or more. But those were in the days when Spider-Man titles would regularly sell 500-800K or more. And the top books were around a million.

The industry just isn’t what it used to be, across the board.

What constitutes a “success” in the comics biz is variable. A creator owned comic reliably selling 12K a month means the creators are in a stable place financially. A Marvel or DC book pulling those numbers is going to be axed in short order. And for a company like IDW, which prints almost entirely material based on outside licences, the direct market (aka comic shops) is pretty much a way to cover printing costs; the sales they look for are of trade paperbacks (compiled collections of single comics) to a wider audience. For example, these are the sales estimates for Star Trek books in the DM for the first few months of 2018:

Boldly Go #16 – 6564
Discovery #2 – 8049
New Visions: Isolation – 3535
Discovery #3 – 6978
Boldly Go #17 – 6408
Discovery: Succession – 7274
Discovery Annual #1 – 5640

Appalling numbers by the measure of Marvel and DC, and not even so great for indie books. But this isn’t abnormal for most of IDW’s output. They just place greater emphasis on sales via other channels.

Will, your comment made my day lol

Also I’ll probably pick up this comic. Looks great. Sounds like the have big ambitions for this run.

Yeah more teal! More fake CGI!

You sound like Science-Fiction Oracle or shannon smith over at Trekcore. Ahahahaha!

You sound like Science-Fiction Oracle or shannon smith over at Trek*ore. Ahahahaha!

Some of us like the classic look. That artwork above is fantastic. It reminds me so much of 1960’s/1970’s art.

I plan on getting this series

For anyone interested there’s another comic covering the last days of kirks 5 year mission.
DC first series annual 2 (Sep 1986)- enterprise returns to earth.

A very cool series in the same vein of filling in gaps is Marvels Untold Voyages 1-5 covering kirks possible second 5 year mission after TMP. Each issue covers 1 adventure during each year. It features the TMP uniforms and transitions into the TWOK uniforms at the end. Also covers why we find Kirk teaching at the Academy at the beginning of TWOK.

DC series 1 issue 19 (Oct 1985) also takes place in the TMP era.

Hmm, not sure about this one. For me, Star Trek Continues (though sadly non canon, of course) told the perfect conclusion to the 5 year mission. It should at least fall in line with that, though Comics aren’t canon as well, are they?

I literally came here just to say that “Star Trek Continues” has already done this story about as well as it’s likely to be done. Glad to see I wasn’t the first one to think it!

I’ve been very unimpressed by IDW’s Trek comics. I haven’t read them extensively, but I thought the “City on the Edge of Forever” miniseries was decent, but that’s the best I’d say for it. The Doctor Who crossover was cool until they changed artists, at which point it became an eyesore and I gave it up.

In other words, I’ll pass on this.

Bryant, have you checked out John Byrne’s Star Trek comics? I think his various mini series came the closest to the original series.
For the rest I in general agree with you regarding IDW’s Star Trek comic output but with a few exceptions here and there.

I’ve read most of his “New Visions” comics, yes. I’m about a year behind, though; I’ve got them all, just haven’t been keeping up with the actual reading. I like them! Some are better than others, but many of them do feel like vintage Trek to me. The photo-collage medium or whatever you call it helps that big-time.

I actually forgot those were IDW when I was writing off their entire company earlier. Thanks for the reminder!

Don’t forget his other IDW Star Trek material, the Romulans one shot and its sequels the Hollow Crown and Schism, Star Trek Assignment Earth, Star Trek Crew, Star Trek Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor.

New Visions had some really good and fun stories, several which I really could see being made episodes off such as “The enemy of my enemy”.
He even managed to pull of a Kirk-meets-the-Borg story without it retconning “Q Who”.

Personally I was not a fan of the crossovers as I found the stories themselves rather iffy in quality, and then there is that awful TNG anniversary mini series which is basically a Voyager mini series (and sadly a bad one at that)

Looking at what IDW has published so far I can better tell what people should check out then what people should avoid as one has fewer titles than the other.

so Kelvin Trek is so finito even IDW is jumping back to TOS!

Unfortunately it seems that way,I really enjoyed all the new movie comics.

A change im thankful for. From what I remember it was mostly rehashes of tos episodes.
On the other hand I haven’t cared for IDW’s cross over issues. Hope they don’t go into overdrive with those to fill the gap.

TOS and TNG always sells better than anything else, so it makes sense that they keep going back to them.

The initial issues of the Kelvin comics told tweaked versions of TOS episodes. So only about 10 of the 80 issues across the two lines (Ongoing & Boldly Go) were “rehashes.”

Though i don’t consume any Trek media outside shows and movies, I think one time period that’s sorely lacking in comics particularly has been the Kirk movie era.

I agree with you that trek comics from IDW have really neglected the twok era and I do hope they rectify the disparity.

Thankfully most of the DC run in the 80s is all Kirk twok trek

That made sense since the movies were in theaters and ongoing at that time. I guess comics company’s who’ve had the license since (Marvel, DC & IDW) felt that TOS was more appealing than the movie era.

Can’t wait.

Soon, CGI will negate the need for organic actors entirely, and we Star Trek fans can enjoy every mission on the star date they occurred.

Star Trek Continues will ALWAYS be the 5th year of the mission for me. Wish CBS would endorse fan-films and put this on their streaming platform so more would know about it. That will come one day for sure.

No company has ever (or should ever) endorse fan films officially. It’s not smart business, for a variety of reasons. I’ve actually written articles on exactly why on a business blog, a few years ago.

Paramount & CBS have actually been more generous with fan films than most companies, permitting full films on youtube, sometimes even actively encouraging them– giving them sound advice and going as far telling them how to get around infringement– until Alec Peters flagrantly abused their good will.

But right now, STC is free on youtube and other platforms, so not sure why it’s even necessary.

Do not agree I am afraid. Star Wars fan-films have been officially endorsed, with promotions and contests. Fan-films are no different than books or comics. They can be licensed and controlled if done correctly. But that is just my opinion.

No need to be afraid.

But those are not endorsements. The fan film contests Lucasfilm has run have had very specific rules, and and none are “officially licensed” nor presented as official material. They aren’t streamed on, Hulu, or Disney+.

CBS has provided fans with a list of criteria for creating their own fan-films, and are much more generous than the rules for the Lucasfilm contests. The only thing CBS hasn’t done that LF has is promoted them in a contest.


I have as much faith in CBS endorsing STC as I see them allowing Stage 9 to continue (shakes head in disgust).

Too late! Star Trek Continues already beat you to it. As far as Im concerned its ST canon.

No, STC was too late. Comics and novels officially licensed in the 70s and 80s have told the rest of the 5 year mission long before them.


It’s an idea we’ve already seen on Star Trek Continues.

Which was an idea we’d seen already in comics and novels. Additionally, STC is just a fan film, and for many like me, not very enjoyable.

With everyone doing their own version of the fourth and fifth year missions I have a hard time remembering which is canon and which isn’t, which is fan made and which is official.

None are canon because none were shown on screen.

What I mean are ones that are official and aren’t fan produced. Having trouble keeping track and remembering the difference between them.

There was a great 5th year mission comic miniseries from IDW a few years ago with the Romulans. It was written by TOS writer DC Fontana and fantastic art from Gordon Purcell. Hopefully, IDW will use them on this series too!

Star Trek continue was my 4th and 5th year

I liked year four. But that was written by DC Fontana and felt like real Star Trek. I don’t recognize any of these writers, i hope year five is as good.