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REVIEW – Star Trek: Celebrations

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There’s a real treat this week in the realm of comic books. That would be Star Trek: Celebrations which is on sale this week from IDW Publishing! The one-shot is a sort of LGBTQIA+ pride month celebration, highlighting the diverse roster of queer characters in the Star Trek universe. Looking at the cover, it’s lovely to see so many faces. However it is a little telling that nearly half of them are from the same show, Star Trek: Discovery, which is coming to an end tomorrow.

This one-shot anthology aims to center and celebrate LGBTQ+ characters all around the Star Trek universe, targeting every era of the franchise. It’s a tall order, given it’s only a few pages longer than a standard comic book. Although with so many talented writers and artists at the helm, I’m sure they’re up to the task.

WARNING – Spoilers below for all the stories in this one shot, Star Trek: Celebrations

Infinite Diversity

Star Trek: Celebrations – Cover A By Paulina Ganucheau

The comic opens with The Knight Errand, which sees Sulu telling a bedtime story to his daughter, Demora. It’s got a lot of heart, and we get to see Sulu embracing sword fighting even more than in “The Naked Time”. Just like in Star Trek: Beyond, where Sulu’s sexual orientation was controversially addressed, his husband is barely there and has no lines. He’s just in a panel at the end. While he is queer in that universe, it’s a massive change from what was established in The Original Series and the subsequent films.

Just like in the film, Sulu’s sexuality here feels like an afterthought. His husband is as important to this story as the Moopsy plush on Demora’s bed, both invisible until the very end. Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t smile through this one. Thankfully, in the next story, Lady Luck picks up a lot. Seven and Raffi make for a very cute couple, even if they did deserve more during the final season of Picard. The story’s a prequel to the audio drama “No Man’s Land”, seeing them at Raffi’s Starfleet Academy class reunion.

Seeing them in love, and defending one another, is what should’ve happened in the TV show. This story brought me so much joy as a reader. This sort of queer joy is what I wanted out of this one-shot, and this story gave it to me in spades. This is a trend that continued into the third story, Facemaker. Interestingly, the story featured Christine Chapel, who only had her bisexuality alluded to once on-screen.

Infinite Combinations

Star Trek: Celebrations – Cover B By Ángel Solórzano

While Chapel’s identity was relegated to a throwaway line, the story was still really cute. It sees her doing what she does best, some science stuff, specifically a sort of genetic modification. Technobabble abounds in this piece, which made it hard to understand a lot of what was going on. However, through her partner (Roz, who invented this story), we get to see what transgender hormone therapies evolved to in the 22nd Century. Very memorable display of diversity for a queer one shot, just what Star Trek‘s all about.

That’s about it for queer though, with the story wrapping up with a Dr Phlox cameo. It didn’t detract from the story, but it didn’t exactly add to my enjoyment either. It’s Phlox. This is a queer one-shot, and I wish the story would get back to that. Innovation Interruption has much the same problem. Nothing explicitly queer, just Stamets and Reno working together. Some allusions to their sexualities, and a friendship between a gay man and a lesbian. Fine, but nothing too queer beyond what we know of the characters already.

The one-shot ends on a really hopeful note, though. Risian Rendezvous is a delightful short in the style of Lower Decks. It sees Mariner and Jennifer down on the planet Risa for a hot date, that goes catastrophically wrong. Interrupted the entire day by silly shenanigans, including a “Dirty Dancing” reference. Ending with a cute kiss over a sunset. Super romantic, and very cute. Iconic queer couples on the shows are represented very well here. The sort of story and focus I was expecting from the whole one-shot, but a very cute one to end on.

Issue Preview

Conclusion

Star Trek: Celebrations was a fine, inoffensive short story collection. Although I think there were a few too many stories for them to breathe. This Big Pride Month Star Trek comic goes to show how far the franchise still has to go. It’s not the fault of IDW, or the comic’s artists or writers. Instead, it’s a franchise problem. Chapel’s bisexuality was briefly alluded to in “Spock Amok”. She gets a whole story. Not to mention how controversial changing Sulu’s sexuality in Star Trek: Beyond was, and he gets one too.

Without this, the collection would almost entirely be Star Trek: Discovery stories. It’s a real shame that the most queer Trek series is coming to an end tomorrow. Jennifer and Mariner are adorable, but is that all we get with Star Trek from here on out? Even the popular Seven and Raffi were fumbled by the final season of Picard. As a queer person, it’s a sign of a really disappointing state for one of my favorite franchises. May the future bring us more diversity in combinations we can’t even conceive of yet.

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Celebrations, which is on sale today from IDW Publishing. It’s available for purchase digitally from Amazon, or wherever you buy your eBooks. You can also find it out this week on the shelves of your local comic book store. For more reviews, all the latest news, Star Trek lore discussions, and more be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central.

Issue Credits

Star Trek: Celebrations – Cover RI By Kevin Wada

“The Knight Errand”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Inks: Lauren Knight
Colours: JP Jordan

“Lady Luck”
Writer: Vita Ayala
Inks & Colours: Liana Kangas

“Facemaker”
Writer: Mags Visaggio
Inks: Tench
Colours: JP Jordan

“Innovation Interruption”
Writer: Stephanie Williams
Inks & Colours: Denny Minonne

“Risian Rendezvous”
Writer: Hannah Rose May
Inks: Jack Lawrence
Colours: Rebecca Nalty

Lettering: Jodie Troutman
Design: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Assistant Editor: Vanessa Real
Editorial Assistant: Cassandra Jones


IDW Celebrates 500 Star Trek Issues

Inside the Issue: Celebrate IDW’s 500th issue of Star Trek comics (and an early Star Trek Day!) with this landmark oversized anthology issue! This collection of five short stories spans fan-favorite eras of the beloved franchise from Lower Decks to Strange New Worlds, legacy characters from The Next Generation, and the original series, written and illustrated by Star Trek comics veterans and new voices alike. Plus, don’t miss out on the prelude to 2025’s big Star Trek and Defiant comic crossover event written by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Christopher Cantwell!

Released: September 4, 2024


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Connor Schwigtenberg
Connor Schwigtenberg
All round science fiction geek and a passionate Star Trek enthusiast. Can reliably be found nerding out online. Currently exploring the expanded media. A writer at heart, look out for deep dives, reviews, and feature articles.

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