Review: Star Trek: Year Five Ends Its First Year With A Bang In Issue #12

Review: Star Trek – Year Five #12
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art by: Kieran McKeown, Sivlia Califano, Stephen Thompson
Color by: Thomas Deer, John-Paul Bove Charlie Kirchoff
Star Trek – Year Five showrunners: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly

Cover by Stephen Thompson

We’re at the halfway point of IDW’s ambitiously excellent series about the Enterprise’s final year in space and what a ride it’s been so far. Coming full circle from issue #1, we now know the true identity of the man pointing a phaser at the back of Kirk’s head…

Of the many quotable lines from TWOK, Kirk’s “I don’t believe in a no-win scenario” is one of the most memorable. Time and again, he’s managed to cheat death. While we know he will ultimately meet his demise on Veridian III, Year Five showrunners Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly almost had me believing that Kirk was a goner on the first page of issue #1. Now, after waiting one full year, the identity of the would-be assassin has finally been revealed.

First appearing in the TOS season two finale “Assignment: Earth,” Gary Seven, aka Supervisor 194, is no stranger to the Star Trek expanded universe. Although that one episode is his only on-screen appearance, he’s popped up in some novels and comics over the years as well. “Assignment: Earth” was originally supposed to be a backdoor pilot for a new spin-off series that never was, so much of Seven’s backstory wasn’t fleshed out yet. But since the series never got out of drydock, the Star Trek expanded universe of novels, comics, and short stories filled in the gaps.

This isn’t the first time Gary Seven has appeared in comics. Back in 1993, Seven—now a time-traveling “Senior” Supervisor—meets up with Kirk and company in a two-parter called “The Peacekeeper.” One notable nugget of information that came out of that story was writer Howard Weinstein’s introduction of  the name of Seven’s alien employers—the Aegis. These “giant humanoids” also appeared in the 1996 TOS/TNG crossover “Convergence,” although their true form is described as a “large non-humanoid species with numerous shaggy tentacles.” More on the Aegis later.

2008’s “Star Trek: Assignment Earth,” written by John Byrne, was published as a five-issue miniseries, giving a glimpse of what an Assignment Earth series could’ve been. Things get really bonkers in the novels, where Seven once “shared a joint of cannabis with Jimi Hendrix at the Woodstock music festival,” introduced a young Khan to his foster parents, and even prevented Shaun Christopher from boarding a plane on 9/11.

As with the last issue, not much more is revealed about why Seven was sent by the Aegis to destroy the Enterprise and turn him into a sadistic villain. After his attempt to kill the environmental controls is thwarted, the crew, except for Kirk, is evacuated to the planet below. Kirk and Seven square off in a graphic, action-packed fight sequence complete with vintage Kirk Fu and a gruesome eye-gouge (with a pen). In case you were wondering, IMDb has a keyword tag for the “Most Popular Stabbed With A Pen Movies and TV Shows.”

The fight sequence feels very much like an episode of TOS with a dash of 21st-century realism. Sure, there’s a ridiculous flying knee from Spock but the scattered panels on the page indicating the frenetic pace are a nice touch. This issue features not one but three different artists: Kieran McKeown (who does most of the pages), Silvia Califano, and Stephen Thompson. All three complement each other well and you don’t really even notice the change (which is a good thing). Speaking of covers, issue #12 has one of the most ominous (and one of the best) covers in Star Trek comic history. Drawn by Stephen Thompson, it features a blood-splattered dedication plaque with the shadow of a defeated Kirk awaiting execution.

Issue #12 has some heavy lifting to do. It not only has to satisfyingly wrap up the first half of the series but also lay the groundwork for the second. And it isn’t playing around. From the get-go, it’s an action-packed romp that has the feel of a two-part season finale, if not a big-budget movie. The stakes are high, the violence is turned up to 11, and it features an out of control Enterprise nose-diving to a planet.

Year Five is continuing to be the best Star Trek we’ve had in years and if Lanzing and Kelly can keep this up in the second year, we’re in good hands. Lanzing has often said he’s been preparing for this job his whole life—and that has been time well spent. If his Twitter account is any indication of the future, they’re “just getting started.

5-page preview

Click thumbnails to enlarge

Issue #12 Available now, Volume 2 collection coming soon

Star Trek: Year Five #11 was released Wednesday, July 1st. It retails for $3.99. Pick it up at your local comic shop or via TFAW $3.19. Issue #13 is due out on August 5th, and you can pre-order that at TFAW $3.19.

The second trade paperback volume of Star Trek: Year Five arrives on July 22nd. It collects issues 7-12 of the series. Pre-order it at Amazon for $14.99

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

Find Star Trek comics, toys, statues, and collectibles at!

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I think this portrayal of Gary Seven is all wrong. He was never malevolent. To the extent he tried to circumvent Kirk, it was for the greater good, much like Kirk circumvented the US Air Force in “Tomorrow is Yesterday.”

I would personally much rather see CBS All Access produce “Assignment: Earth” instead of the Section 31 series.

Yeah, I learned a while back to be careful what you wish for. That’s why I haven’t necessarily wanted the Assignment: Earth show. I prefer to think of it the way I do in my imagination, the way it might have been made back then. I haven’t read this issue yet (can’t find it or download it properly) but I also don’t see Seven being villainous or the evil antagonist to the Enterprise. That doesn’t make sense with who is he is. What ever the problem is he’s always there to help. I also don’t see him being bludgeoned and beaten this way. But oh well. They’ve always got to mess things up.

Agreed. That kind of gore (thankfully) is so jarring it can overshadow a story. I suppose Gary 7 lost his fancy bic pen?

So, not to thread-hijack, but who would y’all cast in a hypothetical “Assignment: Earth” series?

Some thoughts, roughly in order of preference:

Gary Seven: Jon Hamm, George Clooney, John Krasinski
Roberta Lincoln: Reese Witherspoon, Margherita Mazzucco
Isis: Anne Hathaway, Necar Zadegan (Bejayzl), Colby Smuthers

You’d probably need some recurring Earth-based antagonists, perhaps someone in the US government who is on to Gary Seven (a la Sen. Kinsey in STARGATE), or an investigative journalist (a la Jack McGee, perhaps giving a touch of comic relief). Perhaps Betty White or Kathy Bates as the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and, I don’t know, Robert Di Nero as the journalist? Perhaps a Chinese spy who’s onto the operation (Daniel Dae Kim Ross Butler).

Oh, and Mahershala Ali as a rogue Aegis agent in cahoots with the Klingons?

I like this idea. Shame about the cat’s name now, though. Had a rough go the past few years…

But yes, I’d much rather see something like this than… the adventures of evil cannibal mirror space spy and her black leather organization.

They’d probably rename the cat something like Cleopatra. And for that matter, the cat is a shapeshifter, maybe even a Founder; I suppose they could cast the role with anyone.

Reese Witherspoon would be 20 years too old for Lincoln at this point.

What is it with Star Trek’s recent fetish with eye gouging? Is there a mandate now that at least one characters eye must be gouged out in every story? I mean we saw it twice on Picard and now here. Is this like a subliminal message to CBS? (It’s symbol is an eye)

Ha, right, it is odd.

I believe Dwight Schrute from “the Office” said it best; “the eyes are the groin of the head.” As we all know Dwight was played by Rainn Wilson, who also played Harry Mudd in Discovery….and uh….well I ran out of things to say…..anyway, the Office is a pretty funny show.

I like the setup but I feel this is really only setting up for something much much bigger. That’s why while I like this series I feel like this issue is almost a bit of a filler before we find out more interesting stuff.

Any updates on the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection? It’s so close to finishing

Has anyone ever taken the old sets and costumes and filmed them in a modern way? Modern lighting, modern camera angles and pans, modern acting styles vs the older more exaggerated styles? I’ve just always really wanted to see that…

Can’t imagine why you’d want to, unless you’d use all the ‘modern’ quick-cutting and unmotivated camera movement to distract away from the limitations of the materials used.

In terms of dramatic lighting, the bridge lighting falling to just alert blinkers when the Rom nuke goes off in front of the ship in BoT, and the lighting in DAY OF THE DOVE after the power has been cut to the bridge is still more dramatic and compelling that anything I’ve seen this century.

As far as acting styles, you can talk about Shat’s extremes, but I dare you to play his ‘go to your quarters or I’ll pick you up and carry you there’ from CHARLIE X or his cool in-command exchange with the RomCom from BoT against any bit of subtle behavior from Mr. Stewart.

I guess you could say IN A MIRROR DARKLY would reflect a bit of what you are talking about, but that was such an epic misfire in terms of acting that even if they had Gordon Willis or Roger Deakins doing cinematography it would have been a bust.