The crew of the Enterprise is back! After a brief hiatus due to COVID-19, IDW’s Star Trek: Year Five continues its story with its eleventh issue. When we last left them, the crew of the Enterprise escaped a civil war on the water world of L’Qos. Spock made the key decision to not intervene in the conflict resulting in a rift between himself and Sulu, who lost his love on the planet. As the Enterprise travels home to Earth, a new threat looms on the horizon.
We begin the issue with a look into two new villains. We see Gary Seven from The Original Series (TOS) episode “Assignment: Earth” and his partner Isis dressed in wonderful 60s-era clothing. The two are from the future as Seven refers to Kirk’s centuries long legacy. He expresses regret that he must now cut that legacy short since Kirk was once his friend, many years ago. The two beam or teleport to the Enterprise, but not before Isis transforms herself into a sleek black cat.
I have been – and always shall be – your friend
We then cut to Kirk and Spock. Kirk holds a command review for Spock’s acting captaincy during the first contact incident on L’Qos. It is an interesting dynamic to see Kirk and Spock act so professionally in a superior/subordinate officer relationship. Many instances throughout TOS and its films Kirk and Spock act as friends and equals.
Rarely do we see Kirk use his rank over Spock. However, it is important to remember the two are indeed in a military organization, whether or not it always seems like it. Kirk quickly absolves Spock of any guilt he has over initiating first contact that indirectly lead the planet to civil war, saying that he “could not have done better.” However, Spock still resists Kirk’s praise and the two leave each other on an awkward note.
Meanwhile in Engineering, Scotty and Uhura examine the Tholian nicknamed Bright Eyes. In the corner, Seven and Isis watch the scene unseen. The engineering team created a suit for Bright Eyes so it may exist aboard the ship and communicate with the crew. While they are distracted, Gary releases an Andorian nerve agent, sending Engineering into chaos. In self defense, Bright Eyes shoots Seven with a radiation blast.
All hands, abandon ship!
Seven defends himself from security until he comes face to face with Chekov’s phaser. Seven claims he’s on a mission to save history, and knocks Chekov out. Seven then wreaks havoc on the ship by disabling environmental and gravitational power. Seeing no other alternative, Kirk orders all hands to abandon ship, making a point to Spock that “Sometimes you have to put it all on the line”. Kirk chooses to stay behind to face Seven.
It is a rare occasion for a captain to give the order to abandon ship. It has only been seen a handful of times throughout Star Trek. A similar situation occurs in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, when Kirk destroys the Enterprise to kill the Klingon Kruge. This again happens in Star Trek: Beyond when Kirk orders the crew to evacuate due to a devastating attack. It is strange that Kirk is willing to give up the Enterprise so easily, but he is careful not to underestimate Gary Seven, as doing so might put the entire crew at risk.
Seven tells Isis, who is still in cat form, to follow the crew in the escape pods down to the planet Circe V. The escape pods launch from the Enterprise and evoke imagery similar to the scene in the Voyager episode “Year of Hell”. This is the first time we have seen escape pods used on the first Enterprise. This is a clever detail to use in this comic as escape pods could never before be used in TOS due to budget and technological constraints.
In the final scene, Kirk taunts Seven to face him on the bridge. Seven takes the bait and comes face to face with Kirk. Seven recites an internal monologue comparing himself and Kirk to great heroes of Greek mythology, specifically the myth of Theseus and the Labyrinth. Seven thinks very highly of himself as he compares himself to the great Minotaur of the maze. However Seven says that the maze is not the Enterprise, it is time itself. He believes Kirk stands no chance against him even though Kirk is angry and poised to fight.
We end on Kirk and Gary Seven standing face to face, like two cowboys in an Old West standoff. Overall this was an action packed issue that saw the return of a classic character and deepened the relationship between Kirk and Spock. The battle will continue in issue twelve, where the cover features blood smeared across the Enterprise’s dedication plaque, the shadow of a gun to Kirk’s head. Not a hopeful sight at all.
Year Five gives us the stories we never got to see due to Star Trek’s untimely cancellation and expands on the mythos that started it all. The series does a fantastic job capturing the essence of these characters that have become legendary figures in pop culture. Fans today still love following these characters and will get to see them re-imagined once again in the new show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which will follow a similar era as Year Five. Hopefully, the show can take a note from this comic and reintroduce us to the world of classic Star Trek in a new and interesting way.