Review: ‘Star Trek Year Five’ Series Finale—All Good Things Must Come To An End

Star Trek - Year Five #24 Header

Review: Star Trek – Year Five #22, #23, and #24
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art by: Stephen Thompson (#22-#23) & Silvia Califano (#24)
Color by: Charlie Kirchoff
Star Trek – Year Five showrunners: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly

It only took 55 years, but the 5-year mission is finally complete. Strong from the start, IDW delivered a thrilling, complex narrative that was everything we could’ve wished for in a loosely serialized fifth season of The Original Series. This review covers the last three issues of the series and the equivalent of a three-part series finale.

The Voyage Home

At the beginning of Year Five, the USS Enterprise was on its way back to Earth to be refitted and Kirk was struggling with the acceptance of his recent promotion. Much has happened since the first issue back in 2019 but here are a few highlights. In a huge twist, one-time ally Gary Seven was revealed to be the big bad (more on that later), Spock decided to choose logic over emotion, and the Tholians threatened life as we know it. Speaking of the Tholians, there was a new recurring character in a gender-neutral Tholian refugee child nicknamed “Bright Eyes.” By the end of the season, Bright Eyes had contributed so much to Starfleet, that they were made an acting cadet, complete with a Tilly-style badge. By the way, that’s not the only Discovery callback. The aforementioned Harcourt Fenton Mudd’s likeness is that of Rainn Wilson, rather than Roger C. Carmel. That may not have been a creative decision but one out of necessity. Apparently, after Carmel’s death, the rights to his likeness are near impossible to get.

Tholian Cadet Bright Eyes

One of the most satisfying aspects of this series is the seeds the writers planted early on that actually get a payoff by the end. As we noted, they treated Year Five as if it were an actual TV show, complete with a writer’s room to break season-long stories, episodes, and plot lines.

Spock Says No to Captain

Another fascinating (pun intended) throughline is Spock’s arc. We know he ends up almost completing Kolinahr at the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but we never saw that internal struggle with emotion and logic that got him to that point. This is where Lanzing and Kelly shine – by writing great scenes. There’s an incredible one in issue #22 where Kirk tries to relinquish command of the Enterprise to Spock, only to be turned down by the conflicted Vulcan. Spock sets the stage for Kolinahr, laying out his plans to resign his Starfleet commission and purge all emotion. Kirk realizes what this means – he will likely never see his friend again. It’s an emotionally charged scene that hits you in the gut like the blunt end of a bat’leth. Because you know everything that happens to these characters after this, it makes an impact. Paired with the amazing Stephen Thompson’s art, you don’t just see Kirk’s pain, you actually feel it. From the first panel of issue #1, Thompson has been one of the strongest pieces of this series, and for good reason.
Kirk Dismisses Spock

The “Seven” Year Itch

As noted earlier, Gary Seven was revealed to be the primary antagonist of Year Five, appearing in multiple issues leading up to the finale. Back in Issue #17, we were told the backstory of how 35-year old Caleb Howell was initially recruited by Aegis, assigned to Earth, and ultimately sent on a mission to kill Kirk, here in Year Five. That mission, (also known as The Plan) is what Seven calls “Kolinahr for the galaxy.” Aegis has apparently seen every other Star Trek series and knows about the Dominion, the Borg, even The Burn, and the death and destruction that will happen in the next 1000 years. According to them, the only perfect species are the Tholians and everyone else is the flaw. Their plan is to stop the future from happening by locking all life in the galaxy within a stasis field, stopping all progress, and preventing everything from happening moving forward. Will the Enterprise save the galaxy? I’d hate to spoil it for you, but if you’re here, you’ve probably seen The Motion Picture and I don’t have to tell you that they made it.

Gary Seven - Kirk Will Destroy Universe

All Good Things…

How do you top one of the greatest series finales of all time? Well, you don’t, but you get as close as you can. The final issues of Year Five have all of the best parts of a great finale – high stakes, a bit of time-travel, inspirational monologues from authority figures, outsmarting the villain, and special moments for each member of the bridge crew. Issue #24 had all of that and then some, including the incredible art from Silvia Califano. Her work is outstanding, especially for such a dialogue-heavy issue with a massive amount of talk bubbles to work around. What’s Star Trek without long monologues?

McCoy - I'd have a hell of a problem in the morge

Captain’s Log, Final Entry

It’s been two years since the first issue of Year Five dropped and I’m sorry that it’s ending. It was an ambitious undertaking and it appeared that everyone involved cared deeply about the project. Showrunners Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly sought to tell politically relevant stories through the lens of the allegorical storytelling we love. They stayed true to their word, although nothing was more on the nose than a Trumpian Harry Mudd running for Federation President. With five shows in production, we’re in the midst of a new era of Trek on TV, and there are bound to be numerous prequel and tie-in comics (where are our Lower Decks comics?) related to them. I would imagine the future of Trek comics is bright and I do hope we see more of Lanzing and Kelly. Canon or not, how many people can say they wrote Captain James T. Kirk’s final log entry from the original 5-year mission?


Available Now

The three final story issues of Star Trek: Year Five are available now, with #24 released on September 15th. You can order individual copies at TFAW. Or pick up individual digital editions at Amazon/comiXology.

The fourth and final trade paperback collection (which includes issues 20-25) will be released on January 25th. You can pre-order it now on Amazon.

Epilogue coming next week

Issue 24 marks the final story arc for Star Trek: Year Five, but a special epilogue issue will complete the series, arriving October 6. Here is the synopsis and cover for Issue 25…

The five-year mission may be over, but now it’s time for the next adventure to begin. Join the crew of the Enterprise for the end of an old chapter and the beginning of a new. This special, oversized epilogue from the entire Year Five writing team bridges the gap between the end of the five-year mission and the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

A Cover by Charlie Kirchoff

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I thought STAR TREK CONTINUES was nearly a pitch-perfect season 5, including the two-part finale. I haven’t read this comic; but hate the idea of Gary Seven as being a villain.

The series was really good overall, but making Gary Seven a villain was a huge misstep. Unfortunately, his entire characterization just felt wrong. I know we only know him from a single episode, and thus his character had a lot of room to grow, but considering that “Assignment: Earth” was intended as back door pilot for a show of the same name, I have a rather strong suspicion that the original writers had no intention of making Gary Seven a bad guy.

I haven’t read it either but it sounds like they could have had Gary Seven helping the crew. Have him replaced by another agent because he won’t go along with their genocidal plan. So he allies himself with Kirk and company.

Year Five has been fun for the most part, but making Gary Seven a villain was a HUGE misstep in an otherwise good series. His being a villain totally contradicts every other Gary Seven spinoff story, including several that IDW itself published. It makes no sense, and I’m surprised CBS even allowed it. Also, why is this article acting like issue 24 is the end of year five? It isn’t–issue 25 involves the very end of the five-year-mission. In any case, the statement “It only took 55 years, but the 5-year mission is finally complete” doesn’t track, as there have been about a dozen other stories before Year Five that have shown how the five-year mission ended, going all the way back to Pocket’s early novels in the 1980s. This isn’t even IDW’s first “end of the five-year mission” story.

Agree wholeheartedly re: Gary Seven. His characterization is especially egregious considering “Assignment: Earth” was intended as back door pilot for a show of the same name. I have a rather strong suspicion that the original writers had no intention of making Gary Seven a bad guy.

DC did the end of the 5y mission in Annual 2 (1986) The Final Mission

If they ever get around to a Kelvin ST4 I guess it’d be the end of the 5 year mission going into TMP era (with updated TMP uniforms).. probably the refit Ent-A passes into the prime verse and everything goes abit Yesterdays Enterprise meets Marvel multiverse

The updated TMP uniforms were already there, starting in the 2009 film. It’s what Pike wore at the end.

Yeah, the Kelvin movies have a *lot* of uniform variations, and I suspect there’s no real “rule” as to what’s what.

Lower Decks, perhaps by design, has not (yet) *explicitly* referenced any TAS storyline, but they’ve come really, really close. If they ever do, that will basically be the last official step to incorporating TAS into canon. (Of course, there might have to be some explicit reference to Lower Decks in Discovery or Picard before everyone’s happy.)

But if TAS is canon, the five-year mission would work something like this:

-Where No Man Has Gone Before takes place not so early into Kirk’s command, but not so late, and not immediately before the first “regular” episode (The Man Trap). I think six months into his mission, and six months before the rest of the series begins, is a logical point.

-The three aired seasons would thus be Kirk’s second, third, and fourth years.

-TAS, with a total number of episodes similar to a single TV seasons, would thus be (both seasons combined) Kirk’s fifth year.

Does that mean there’s no room for more adventures? Of course not. But perhaps the fifth year has always been there.

They’ve made tons of references to TAS, including specific storylines, like Spock 2, as well as the Pandronians, Vendorians, etc. Plus, when they make reference to TOS, they don’t do it in the Lower Decks animation style, but use a more TAS design for the characters.

I know. But someone who really wanted to keep TAS out of canon can wave a lot of those away. (For example, “That was Bem’s species, but that doesn’t say that Bem the episode ever happened.”)

*I* wouldn’t do that, but someone could. But if they ever say something like, “Oh, this is like the time the Orions…” or something, that should settle it.

“Best series finale of all time”, I like All Good Things, it’s pretty good, but I don’t think it was great. And I know it’s technically a tv series finale, but I never thought of it as one.

For the most part, I don’t like fan shows, but I must admit that the Star Trek Continues finale felt pretty satisfying.

A Tholian becoming a member of Starfleet. That’s so satisfying I’m at a loss for words. Gosh, I miss the Tholians so much.

Pretty good series, although I had problems with the super advanced Ioatians (they only had the communicator for 3 years!) and the Gary Seven as villain. Most of the art was nice, although I would have loved to see Trek artists like Gordon Purcell and Jerome Moore handle some issues!

You couldn’t come up with a better series end and bridge to TMP than the STC two-parter. It was amazing.