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REVIEW – Star Trek #20

IDW’s Star Trek #20 delivers a mind-bending new issue, with Captain Benjamin Sisko leading a refit of the Theseus. This is all to give the ship the ability to breach the galactic barrier and enter the realm of the gods, a place named Pleroma. The crew quests to save the Organians, a god-like species whose remaining member inhabits the body of Ensign T’Lir. 

WARNING – Potential Spoilers ahead for Star Trek #20.

More Cameos

Star Trek #20 Cover B By Taurin Clarke

One of the great things about this series is that it exists at a point in the timeline where characters from most of the shows can all be brought in at once. This includes even recent additions to the canon, such as Star Trek: Picard’s Captain Liam Shaw. As this story takes place roughly twenty years before the events of Picard, Shaw is the Commander of the Utopia Planitia Shipyards. Even though he is younger, Shaw is his same sassy, impatient self. He gives Sisko and the crew a hard time about fitting their refits into the shipyard’s busy schedule, but the crew finds a workaround. Even though his appearance here feels like a one-off nod to the character, hopefully, he will return in future stories. 

Speaking of characters returning from Picard, another surprise cameo comes in the form of Kore Soong, the 21st-century genetically engineered clone raised by Adam Soong in Picard Season 2. Even though her character wasn’t the most compelling or memorable in that season, it’s interesting to see her character “reclaimed” for this story. At the end of the season, she was recruited by Wesley Crusher to become a Traveler like himself. Now we see Kore acting as a security force for Preloma when the crew eventually passes the barrier.

If Kore, a Traveler, is in Preloma, it is almost certain we will also see Wesley. He was teased in the last issue as well as Star Trek #20 by Doctor Crusher, who desperately wishes to reunite with her son. It would be fitting to see his return, as we never really got closure between him and his mother. 

A Fresh Coat of Paint

Star Trek #20 Cover A By Megan Levens

Before the USS Theseus travels to Preloma, the nacelles undergo an extensive refit with the help of T’Lir’s Organian technology. I love the aesthetic of the new nacelles. Most nacelles are stark and utilitarian, but these new ones sport an artistic flare. The back ends of the nacelles taper to a point giving them a sense of direction. The rear design also appears to be ribbed like the feathers of a bird’s wings, giving them an organic feel. While there is no explanation given for why exactly the nacelles look like this, it is a great choice by the artists to make this new technology stand out.

The most thrilling sequence in Star Trek #20 is when the refitted Theseus breaks the galactic barrier and crosses into Pleroma. The scene harkens back to The Original Series episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before” when the Enterprise attempts to break the galactic barrier. The Theseus flies through strange patterns of colors and light as the crew members diffuse and morph under the pressure of extra-dimensional forces. We see the crew’s heads attached to nothing except red tentacle-like strands as their very essence is pulled apart. The art team did a great job here, really conveying the experience of crossing the dimensional barrier. For a series that often contains fantastical imagery, these pages went the extra mile. 

Baby on Board

Star Trek #20 Cover RI By J.J. Lendl

The only real critique I have of Star Trek #20 is the plot point of Tom Paris choosing to take his and B’Elanna Torres’ infant daughter on the mission. There is an entire cutaway page that contains a conversation between Tom and B’Elanna that justifies him taking her, but I just didn’t buy it. Even if B’Elanna is currently a fugitive in a different series, there are plenty of people in Starfleet who could care for the child. This could possibly be the most dangerous mission Tom has ever been on. Is he going to take his daughter? I don’t think so. 

Overall, this was a great issue that ended on a real cliffhanger that makes me want to get my hands on the next issue ASAP. 

Issue Preview

Issue #20 Credits

Writer: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Megan Levens
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design & Production: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Assistant Editor: Vanessa Real

In the next issue…

In issue #21: Welcome to the Pleroma, a place outside time and space where god-level species have gathered to discuss the fate of the universe! It’s up to Captain Sisko and his valiant crew of the USS Theseus to persuade the gods to allow them to help repair Kahless’ unraveling of space-time, but will they listen to mere mortals responsible for their prophesied undoing?

Release date: June 19, 2024

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