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REVIEW – Star Trek: Defiant #12

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It’s the beginning of a new arc for the series with Star Trek: Defiant #12, which is out today from IDW Publishing. Following the end of Another Piece of the Action, the crew is in a bit of disarray. They planned that after dropping off the miscellaneous characters they’d collected, the team would disband. However, it would appear that fate has something else in store for Worf and the crew of the USS Defiant. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter, kicking off the third arc Hell is Only a Word.

So what horrors lay ahead for the USS Defiant crew? Does Star Trek: Defiant #12 give the series a sense of direction that was lacking through a mixed past few months? Let’s see what’s going on in this review of the latest issue of Star Trek: Defiant!

WARNING: Spoilers below.

Conspiracy

Star Trek: Defiant Issue #12 – Cover (A) By Angel Unzueta

As certain variant covers suggest, this arc is a sort of sequel to the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Conspiracy”. In case you missed the nod on the cover, the issue opens up with Dr Crusher’s log recapping the episode. It’s a controversial episode, notable for its violent content, and the horror-action tone that Star Trek never really did ever again. However, the idea of parasitic aliens taking over Starfleet is an intriguing one, and it’s an open story thread that hasn’t been touched for nearly 30 years.

Hell is Only a Word isn’t a story of a big conspiracy though, at least not yet. This opening issue, and potentially the rest of the story, is set on Starbase 99. A lonely outpost, far away from everything. Such a confined setting, and an alien that could realistically be inside anyone, creates a real sense of dread. Star Trek can be a little violent, but it’s seldom so terrifying. This is a real tone change from what the series has done in the past, and it’s very refreshing.

At a glance, this may just look like a “base under siege” story that science-fiction fans will be all too familiar with. It’s through picking up a long-dormant story and using it to create an atmospheric horror thrill ride that the comic really excels. The issue had me hooked on every page, not knowing for sure who could really be trusted. It is gripping, making it memorable for all the right reasons. The issue is tightly written and intense, and there’s a bit of gore in the spirit of the genre.

The Monster is Loose

Star Trek: Defiant Issue #12 – Cover (B) By Rod Reis

It’s not space bugs and violence, though. This is far from just an overindulgent gore-fest. The opening of the issue is a flashback to a young Nymira, being tried for mercy for killing a wounded soldier. Their backstory has been something of a slow-burn mystery throughout the series. For the longest time, we didn’t even know her name. That being said, this flashback ends with her being told she’ll “die alone in disgrace”. As the only character we don’t know the fate of, perhaps this is some heavy foreshadowing.

While the series is still ongoing, with no end in sight, there were a lot of allusions to the characters’ fates here. From the Borg Reclamation Project to the impending Romulan Supernova, wheels are starting to turn. Star Trek: Defiant #12 is very aware of where all these characters need to be by the end of the series, and it’s slowly starting to put them there. Even if the series is coming to an end, however, this is a very strong way to go out.

As someone who’s been with the series from the start, about a year now, it’s found a sense of new life here. It even managed to make the random characters from the last arc seem like they’re going to contribute to something. Hugh’s past with the Borg is very present, and Benny the Much was the key to the Defiant’s arrival at the space station. There’s a very grand plan at work here, and I can’t wait to see how this unfolds next month!

Issue Preview

Conclusion

As someone who wasn’t the biggest fan of the last few issues, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one. I’m coming out very pleasantly surprised. Where Another Piece of the Action had the crew hopping between planets and characters, this seems very focused. There’s a confined setting, just enough for all the main characters to do, and teases of something darker going on behind the scenes. As someone who’s a fan of works like Alien and The Thing, I found a lot to love here.

Beyond that though, there are also a lot of signs the series is heading for something of a conclusion. There were a lot of allusions here to the Borg Reclamation Project and the Romulan Supernova, which is where a couple of the series’ leads end up working. I don’t know how much longer the series will run, but there’s more than enough still here to keep readers engaged. In fact, if this keeps up, it could turn into my favorite arc the series has ever done. I can’t wait to find out how the crew survived the invasion.

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Defiant #12 today from IDW Publishing. It’s available to order both physically and digitally from retailers like Amazon and IDW’s own website. You can also find it out now on the shelves of all good comic book stores. For more reviews, all the latest news, lore discussions, and more be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central for more!

Issue Credits

Star Trek: Defiant Issue #12 – Cover (RI) By Declan Shalvey

Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: รngel Unzueta
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design & Production: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Editorial Assistant: Vanessa Real


In the next issue…

Cover Artists: Angel Unzueta
Elizabeth Beals
Rachael Stott

In issue #13: Starbase 99 has been compromised. Worf and the Defiant crew are quarantined within, desperately trying to evade the infected as their parasitic counterparts flood the floors of the base. To make matters worse, one of the crew’s bounties is dead, and another is missing. Can the crew survive this raging parasitic invasion on the desolate starbase?

Release Date: March 27, 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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