Review: There’s Plenty To Love In The ‘Star Trek: Year Five’ Valentine’s Day Special

Review: Star Trek: Year Five – Valentine’s Day Special
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Color by: Charlie Kirchoff
Star Trek: Year Five showrunners: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly


cover by Christopher Jones

Cover art by Christopher Jones.

If there’s one constant in the Star Trek universe, it’s that James T. Kirk will eventually fall in love. He’s done it too many times to count—he married Miramanee, had a son with Carol Marcus, and almost disrupted the timeline with Edith Keeler. How can we forget that he even made scrambled Ktarian eggs in the Nexus for Antonia? Suffice it to say, none of them come close to holding a candle to his one true love: the USS Enterprise. Or so it would seem.

Captain Laura Rhone.

After last year’s entertaining 20/20 stunt, IDW is back with a series of Valentine’s Day specials across some of their most popular titles. Set during the current run of Star Trek: Year Five, this one-shot introduces yet another love interest for everyone’s favorite serial monogamist. But this time, the relationship lasts longer than a 51-minute episode plus commercials. Most of the story takes place in the fifth year of the Enterprise’s mission, but their on-and-off relationship spans decades, and we get to see how Laura Rhone continues to impact Kirk’s life throughout the TOS movie era.

Admiral Kirk orders Captain Rhone into a dangerous situation.

Penned by award-winning Dr. Who writer Paul Cornell, the special, titled “Captains of Sea and War” isn’t a throwaway love story set in a vacuum. It’s clear that he and “Year Five” showrunners Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly worked closely to make sure it fits nicely within their current-running series. It doesn’t directly impact “Year Five” but augments it, much like the Short Treks do with Discovery and Picard. It’s stated that Kirk and Rhone meet in year five but there’s no mention of the Tholian child storyline. Kirk is still struggling with his looming promotion to Admiral and losing command of the Enterprise is getting increasingly closer.

Kirk – ever the modest famous starship captain.

Taking nothing away from any of his past relationships, it’s clear that Kirk has met his match in the form of Laura Rhone, captain of the (pre-refit) Miranda-class USS Drake. She’s his female equivalent in all of the best ways—she’s direct, decisive and a natural-born leader. If I were under her command, I wouldn’t hesitate to stand with her during, say, an “extinction-level event.” She, like Kirk, is that charming. 

Kirk revisits his “walking stack of books days.”

At some point deep into the Enterprise’s fifth year in space, Kirk and Rhone meet during a chance encounter on shore leave and immediately hit it off. They fall hard for each other, sneaking away to go dancing, rock climbing and even reading paper books in what they used to call a library. As with any relationship (especially long-distance ones), things inevitably get complicated. As the months went by, they would meet in person sporadically, sometimes during a planned rendezvous, or in space battles with Nausicaan pirates and the occasional Romulans. Rhone is clearly meant to have been a fixture in Kirk’s life and while their love always seemed blissful, Kirk will only have eyes for someone else’s “ample nacelles.”

Two captain’s egos don’t always make for a smooth relationship.

The incredible art is done by Christopher Jones on pencils and Charlie Kirchoff on color, who both absolutely killed it. You’d never know that this was Jones’s first time drawing Trek. Not only did he have to create an entirely new character from scratch, but he had to reproduce the uniforms and ships from the TOS, TMP, and post TWOK eras. The likenesses of the characters are spot on, even when they age through the years. Once again, IDW has done an excellent job of bringing new talent into the Trek family.

The two captains make a good team on and off the bridge.

The Valentine’s Day Special is a refreshing, multi-layered love story that spans across three different time periods with some twists and turns you may not see coming. Laura Rhone is a winner and a character I wish we could have seen opposite Shatner on the screen, but this is a good consolation. It’s deep, heart-wrenching, and feel-good all at the same time. If you’re looking for something to read this Valentine’s Day, give it a read. You’ll love it. 

Keep up with all the inked Star Trek in TrekMovie’s Comics Category.

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The renderings do look fantastic. Interesting ‘what if’ story, seems.

I know they’re funny books and not canon or anything, but didn’t the Janice Lester episode state there were no female captains in Starfleet? I know Hernandez in “Enterprise” poo-pooed that notion, and no doubt Discovery will by the time it’s done, but I’m just curious if everyone’s ignoring that incredibly sexist, silly piece of crap episode.

I always took that to mean No female captains among the “big 12” Constitution class starships, not captains in the whole fleet

Lester was insane….

But she went off her rocker AFTER she was denied a captaincy.

Or was she denied a captaincy BECAUSE she was unstable in the first place?

That’s what ultimately broke her. She wasn’t exactly the kind of person who would admit that her failure is her own fault, not someone else’s. When you get into this spiral of blaming and loathing, it’s only a matter of time before you cross the line of insanity.

I was there myself. It’s been almost thirty years and I still hold a grudge; occasionally, I even find myself daydreaming about having a time machine, so that I could travel back in time and remove those “harmful” people and events from my path. But hey, at least I realize that such thoughts are unhealthy and that I can only blame myself. Lester never got the chance to achieve that realization, because the universe gave her a “time machine” of her own.

She said something like “your world of starship captains doesn’t admit women”. I know what it meant when they said it. However, it could be interpreted as meaning his world of being a captain doesn’t allow for a relationship like normal people. Such as his ship is his first love. Again I don’t think the writers meant that. But if you want it to fit Modern times it could work. As others have said, she is mentally ill also.

Better just to forget about TOS. It’s barely cannon now.

If you’re going to make arrogant declarations about canon, at least learn to spell the word.

“Better just to forget about TOS. It’s barely cannon now.”

Wow. This statement is complete absurdity. TOS will ALWAYS be the truest of Star Trek. It’s the basis for all Tre shows and movies that followed it. It has stood the test of time and represents the best of Star Trek.

Lol They really couldn’t do a Picard or TNG Valentine’s Day story.. would be falling in love with the holodeck or something lame and unrelatable.

Janice Lester was completely crazy. You can’t take her word for anything. Kirk was humoring her because she was nuts and he felt responsible for her.

then kirk does not come out of this well, he should have done better to help before she tried to take over the ship using his body.

Been ignored for literally decades now. And it was an AWFUL episode.

@ Tiger2 – agreed on it’s awfulness in general, and while Trek was groundbreaking in a lot of areas, it’s misogynistic streak can’t be glossed over. Were Trek a truly equal society, this episode should never have made its way out of the writers room.

Actually its why its harder for me to watch TOS these days and part of the reason it would never be my top Trek show. TOS was a different time obviously but I admit the older I get the harder it is to ignore the misogyny, this episode a strong example. But it sucks anyway so I never watch it regardless anymore.

That’s ridiculous. As human beings, we can watch something from an older era and enjoy them, while realizing their errors. I read tons of history without getting all uptight about them not conforming to my worldview today. Big deal!

Taking your approach to the extreme reminds me of ISIS’s reasoning for blowing up ancient temples in Aleppo because they can’t stand to be reminded of a history before Islam.

50 years from now, some people will not like these current Trek shows because their societal norms will have changed — and they will be wrong for dismissing today’s Trek series as well.

This post is ridiculous lol. I didn’t say I hate it, calm down. It’s still my third favorite Star Trek show (for now), just not my top show anymore, so take it down a notch. I just can’t watch it as much as I use to. Is that OK with you chief?

Did you seriously just reference ISIS? Man, the internet. ;)

I admit my response was a tad dramatic, but I see of lot of history erasing going on these days in society, and I find it really sad. The past is the past — trying to get the past to conform to today’s norms is just not possible.

Where was I trying to ‘erase’ anything??? All I said was I don’t watch the show as much as I use to because some areas do feel a little too outdated for me to enjoy it all, but I still like the show. And I NEVER suggested it should be changed or that others have to feel the same way about it as I do. Get a grip.

That escalated to ISIS way too quickly.

Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident. ;-)

Most TOS episodes were awful.

no they are not.
there are just a lot of clunkers in season 3.

Sure, but Mudd’s Women is pretty much sexist trash too, and it was one of the first episodes.

I always found it weird that human trafficking was allowed in the Federation.

Susan Denberg was a Playboy playmate the year this episode came out, so I think was laughing all the way to bank that year regarding this sexist trash.

Shame on you!

I always took it as she was discussing how it was a boys club, in the sense that in the 60s and 70s the “women in the room” weren’t really taken seriously and were more token than anything, so female captains maybe weren’t a common thing and weren’t given serious commands?

More importantly, in a real world television sense, her comments were from a totally different era of TV, one that I don’t think we want canonized into Star Trek lore permanently. It was from the end of S3, which was pretty weak to begin with, and the notion we want to make canon that Earth of the 23rd Century didn’t ALLOW women to command starships when we have burgeoning representation of female chief executives in politics and business the world over here in the 21st Century would be a bad look for “progressive” Star Trek. I think the world view of the Federation as a place where at the very least humans of all stripes see one another as equals by the time the 22nd Century roles around is an important one – I’d hate to let one mediocre S3 TOS episode condemn us to accepting sexism until the 24th Century. /rant

There’s maybe a little room for interpretation but essentially yes, the episode strongly implies there are not female captains. Turnabout Intruder isn’t shy about depicting Starfleet as a boys club, and somewhat proudly, if nothing else.

It’s a pretty wrongheaded sexist outing of Star Trek all around. Lester goes mad because she’s denies the opportunity men are givin. Fair enough…. but the episode doesn’t really seem to have a problem with that, and has various characters mansplain to her endlessly. It plays very strangely to modern eyes. It’s an episode that doesn’t seem to want to take a side, when it’s really obvious what side it should be on.

The episode is still canon, but a lot of the intent has been revised out as aging franchises have to do to keep up with the times.

It was the 1960s, and as a girl in my growing-up years and beyond, this attitude prevailed. It was especially demanded/supported at the higher levels, such as, say, the executive suite at NBC. Those dad-burn females started burnin’ their bras, they musta been crazy!

I guess we could retcon this episode as one side of “the political pendulum’s swing”: more liberal views for a period of time, then more conservative views, depending on the people in power ….

This isn’t the right venue, but is anyone else eagerly awaiting a review of the new Picard novel?

I’m still waiting on the review of the Picard Countdown comic. ;D

True… With Picard back in space you’d think they’d be a bit more on the ball with the Picard tie-ins. They’re normally pretty good about tie-ins, hence this post. I want somewhere to discuss the Picard ones!

I didn’t get my review copy of the novel until last Thursday. Usually I get them well in advance of their release date, but this one came the day after.

I am more than halfway through it, in preparation for writing the review.

Thanks! I hope you are enjoying it.

Not me. TNG novels sucked except for Vendetta which had the scary Borg unimind… and thus was later made non canon with the Borg castrated. Not even Peter David now can save TNG I’d say.

Love girls with both never ending blue eyes AND never ending blue mouths. LOL

It may be worth noting that in the Motion Picture novelization – the woman who died in the transporter beam accident was also Kirk’s girlfriend.

Admiral Lori Cinai or something, they were actually married in some novels! I think they had it where Norgura basically had her charm Kirk into the Admiralty working with her as head of a special operations group. It’s too bad this wasn’t explored more as I think a “Star Trek Op Centre” during the movie era would have been pretty cool!

Can we talk about the sexy pre-refit Miranda class ship we get some good looks at? Hubba Hubba!



I’d say that pre-refit Miranda looks better than any Discovery or Picard design (exception being maybe the Disc 1701)

I find the concept of a Star Trek Velentine’s Day one off oddly appealing!

Given that Kirk blew up the Enterprise for him, I’d say Kirk’s one true love was SPOCK! :-)