Review: Star Trek: IDW 20/20 (One Shot)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Peter David
Art by: J.K. Woodward
IDW is kicking off what’s sure to be a huge 2019 with Star Trek: IDW 20/20 – a one-shot issue featuring an early voyage of the USS Stargazer, with a very young Picard newly in command. As announced at last year’s NYCC, IDW 20/20 is their 20-year celebration of publishing comic books featuring stories set either 20 years in the past or future from some of IDW’s most beloved franchises, including Star Trek, Ghostbusters, TMNT, and My Little Pony.
In a year where we will see Sir Patrick Stewart reprise his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard in an unnamed series set 20 years after the events of Nemesis, this comic provides the start of the perfect bookend to the life of this beloved character. IDW has pulled out all the stops for this special event, teaming the legendary author Peter David with master artist J.K. Woodward. If you don’t follow Woodward on Instagram, do it now. His time-lapse paintings are mesmerizing and it gives you a peak on how hard artists work behind the scenes before a finished product is delivered. Much respect to a talented creator.
If we’re being literal with the whole 20-year thing, we know that Picard took command of the USS Enterprise in 2364, which would make this set in 2344. However, in this particular story, it is revealed that he has just taken over as captain of the Stargazer, assuming command after the original captain was killed on the bridge during battle. That was to have occurred in 2333, but this is a comic book and I’m not going to get hung up on it, especially because I really enjoyed it.
As one of the youngest Starfleet officers to attain the position of captain (and in such a unique way), Picard has to assert his authority, therefore becoming a rigid, by-the-book commander with little time for anything resembling fun. Having just held the rank of lieutenant commander, he is self-conscious, stubborn and downright cold – not quite the man we would meet on the Enterprise years later. We meet Jack Crusher – Picard’s best friend, first officer, and fiancee to a Cadet Beverly Howard, who has just come aboard the Stargazer. Apparently, Jack invited her without permission from his new captain and to say Picard is not happy about it is an understatement. That makes the very first meeting between Jean-Luc and Beverly tense and awkward. Just by being there, according to him, she is disrupting a very important diplomatic mission and he confines her to quarters until the mission is complete. So much for making a good first impression.
The planet is Tellerux 4 – the newest world to join the Federation. The Sansate, the people’s newly elected leader, has never been recognized because of allegations he tampered with the election. When Picard asks him if it’s true, The Sensate says nothing and instead invokes an ancient 21st-century human custom called a meme – and literally sips tea. Those aren’t the only hilarious exchanges and easter eggs in this issue. The Sensate, when first meeting Picard, asks if he had assassinated the previous captain – a nod to how the mirror universe officers move up in rank. Also, Cadet Beverly Howard’s outfit is taken from the 1990’s Playmates action figure.
An attack on the Sensate from the opposition political party results in Picard’s kidnapping – leaving his fate in the hands of the woman he insulted earlier in the day. There’s a nice moment between Beverly and Jean-Luc and you can see the beginnings of the deep connection they will have with each other years later. When talking to Cadet Howard, a hardened Picard realizes his stubbornness got him into this mess. He shows her vulnerability – something he felt was unbecoming of a young captain. While lying there helpless, he admits he was insecure and should have listened to Jack when he was told to stay on the ship. This appears to be the origin story of why Picard doesn’t go on away missions and how he began to trust his crew.
I really enjoyed going back and seeing what a young Picard with flowing locks of hair could have been like before the Enterprise. As someone who served as captain of the Stargazer for 22 years, there’s a whole wealth of stories to be told so I hope IDW doesn’t stop here. Since 2017, IDW has generously given us Picard with a beard, bulging muscles and now, a full head of hair. With all of the Discovery tie-ins and a direct link to Kirsten Beyer, I’m betting we’ll see some synergy between IDW and the new CBS All Access series. Whenever that news break, TrekMovie will be there.
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Star Trek: IDW 20/20 was released today, Wednesday, January 30th. You can get a digital version at Amazon, discounted to $3.98.
Keep up with all the latest inked Star Trek in TrekMovie’s Comics Category.