Star Trek: Year Five Issue #13 Review

A new issue of IDW’s Star Trek: Year Five Issue #13 is out and full of new developments and shocking revelations. In the last issue, Kirk defeated the time-traveling agent Gary Seven and saved the ship and crew from certain doom. Now, the crew must face unexpected challenges at home as they end their five-year mission. 

As Gary Seven compared his duel with Kirk to the Greek myth of Theseus and the labyrinth, the story now reflects the Odyssey. When Odysseus returns home after his long journey, he finds that the home he knew had changed. Now, as a reluctant Kirk returns home, he finds that Starfleet is no longer as he remembers it. For one, The Motion Picture era of starships now fills the ranks of the fleet. One of these is the Miranda-class ship made famous by the U.S.S. Reliant in The Wrath of Kahn

As Kirk and the crew are welcomed by a fleet of ships new and old, the NX-class starship also makes an appearance. This ship design was pioneered by the Enterprise NX-01 from Star Trek: Enterprise and its appearance here connects the two disparate timelines. In The Original Series, audiences were never able to see non Constitution-class designs due to budgetary restrictions. Now, we can see a whole slew of designs fully realized with the power of comic illustration. 

The fleet welcomes home the Enterprise - Star Trek: Year Five Issue #13
The fleet welcomes home the Enterprise

The Future Begins

Another change is the design of the Starfleet uniforms. The uniforms now resemble the The Motion Picture uniforms in all of their body suit beige and blue palette glory. Soon after, Attorney General Shaw welcomes Kirk at a banquet honoring the Enterprise. She explains to Kirk that part of the reason for the new uniforms was that “It was the women, Jim. We demanded pants”. This is a meta joke for Star Trek fans as the female uniforms have always been a point of contention. Even though 23rd society was deemed to be equal, the female uniform required a skirt. However, this was remedied with The Motion Picture uniforms and in early episodes of The Next Generation where men were seen wearing skirts. 

As Kirk discovers new technology and new fashion, he also finds that a new social movement has swept the Federation. Shaw tells Kirk about the Originalists: a group of people bent on stopping the expansion of the Federation to instead focus on the worlds that started it. She explains that it is likely that the Originalists will win the Presidential election. They would enact policy that would prevent missions like Kirk’s from ever happening again. However, a blaring red alert interrupts their conversation.

Kirk and Shaw immediately find that a Klingon vessel has passed through the Federation border and stands toe to toe with the fleet. A Klingon by the name of Dev Vo-Qul then hails the fleet. He threatens them and claims he possesses a warhead that could wipe out the entire armada. Dev demands the trial and execution of James Tiberius Kirk for his many crimes against the empire. Kirk then defies the advice of the other officers and agrees to meet the Klingon Dev in the name of protecting the peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation.  

The Klingon Dev calls for Kirk's execution - Star Trek: Year Five Issue #13
The Klingon Dev calls for Kirk’s execution

A devious plot

Meanwhile, Doctor McCoy helps offload his patients from the Enterprise. He plans to follow them to the starship Asclepius to continue treating them but is told by a security officer that he is barred from going with them. Bones is told that the Asclepius is a closed facility but that the officers will be in good hands. Bones is naturally furious at the situation.

Later, with Spock’s help, McCoy breaks into some sort of security room onboard Starbase 212. There they find dozens of computer screens monitoring all of the sick, wounded, or dead from the Enterprise and other vessels. However, instead of treating these victims, the doctors experiment and test them like lab rats. However, three men in all black uniforms show up and call for McCoy and Spock’s arrest before they can act.

It can be theorized that these men are in fact members of Section 31, the devious sub-group of Starfleet that operates under the radar and without supervision. It is probable that this group would carry out such atrocious acts as the regular branches of the Federation would never commit these kinds of crimes. This would be the first appearance of Section 31 in The Original Series timeline which would tie in nicely with their appearance in Discovery and Deep Space Nine.

McCoy and Spock discover the devious plot - Star Trek: Year Five Issue #13
McCoy and Spock discover the devious plot

The Gauntlet of Kahless

Later, Kirk prepares to meet with the Klingon Dev. Despite the misgivings of Shaw, Kirk stands at the transporter pad with knife in hand, ready for combat. Dev then transports aboard and accuses Kirk of many crimes, including the famous Tribble incident from “The Trouble with Tribbles”. However, the most egregious crime is the peace treaty that ended the Federation-Klingon war. He claims that the treaty has weakened the Klingon people and destroyed their way of life. He tells Kirk that he has one hour to prepare for the trial. 

Kirk then records a final message to his friends and family as he prepares to sacrifice himself. This is twice in a row now that Kirk decides to give his life for the safety of others. In his log, Kirk speaks to his estranged son David, to which he apologizes for not being a better father. This is a reference to The Wrath of Kahn when Kirk is reunited with his son after many years of separation. Finally, Kirk is beamed aboard the Klingon vessel to stand trial for his crimes and face his mortality. 

This issue of Star Trek: Year Five may be the most interesting yet. Filled with numerous ties to other Trek lore and filled with new plot developments, this issue tested Kirk and the Federation in ways not previously seen. From the threat of the Originalists to the possible Section 31 involvement, the next issue can’t come soon enough. Stay tuned to Trek Central for our review of issue #14 next month!