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REVIEW – Star Trek: Defiant #13

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Not all is as it seems on Starbase 99, where all hell is breaking loose in Star Trek: Defiant #13. The desolate base was infected with the bugs first seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Conspiracy”. One of the USS Defiant’s captives, Benny the Much, appears to be the origin of this infection, but that still remains unknown. Some of the crew are injured, but together they must fight their way through the infected base. Danger lurks around every corner, and nobody knows exactly who they can trust.

Can the crew fight their way out? Or will some of them be forced to join the parasitic hivemind? Who, if anyone, is able to come to their aid? Find out in this spoiler-filled review of Star Trek: Defiant #13!

WARNING – Spoilers below for Star Trek: Defiant #13, so proceed with caution

Horrors on Starbase 99

Star Trek: Defiant #13 – Cover (A) Artist: Angel Unzueta

Star Trek: Defiant #13 opens far away from the action on the Starbase, rather on the prison moon of Orion II. It’s here where we catch up with Nymira, who spent time here a couple of years back. The art style here is very different from that of the rest of the issue, with whites and reds dominating the panels. I’m a massive fan of more unique art styles, to put it mildly, I think this is gorgeous. There’s also an interesting thematic transition in terms of finding a way to escape prison when the odds are stacked against you.

Watching the crew stomp, shoot, and swear their way through the Starbase is great. If the horror of issue 12 is likened to Alien, then all of this action here is like Aliens. There’s an interesting moment where an infected crew member says they only want peaceful co-existence. While the bugs only really want to completely take over the Federation, I hope that maybe this story is able to afford them more depth in terms of their motivations.

As sweeping, epic, and violent as all of this is though, the crew doesn’t exactly come out on top. By the end of this issue, B’Elanna is absorbed into the bugs’ collective. While I doubt this is permanent, and the crew will almost certainly save her, this is a classic cliffhanger. It also makes for a horrifying visual as the fan-favorite character cries out in pain and terror. I’m looking forward to exploring more of what these bugs are. Looking at the bugs’ aversion to the Borg, that could well be the key to saving her.

12 Hours

Star Trek: Defiant #13 – Cover (RI) Artist: Rachael Stott

Heading back into the mix in this issue is Sela. She originally left the series way back in Issue 8. Since then she was the focus of the recent Star Trek: Defiant Annual 2024. It’s clear that her story hasn’t quite ended yet. The new Star Trek: Defiant #13 picks up with her still in her ship, now just 12 hours away from Starbase 99. However, with so many issues left to go before the story ends, why would it be so easy?

She gets hit by a graviton proximity mine near the edge of Romulan space. It’s then that she meets back up with her father, General Revo. They have an exchange about honor, with Revo preparing to bring Sela back into the fold. For the longest time, she’s been an exile from Romulan society, and he wants to put an end to that. However, there’s little love in the room, with Sela putting him in his place. It’s lovely to see her hold her own so well, and how much her time with the Federation appears to have mellowed her.

Now, in terms of the grander Hell is Only a Word story, Sela has no obvious connection to the “Conspiracy” episode. What she has to gain from reuniting with the USS Defiant very much remains to be seen. However, Sela is known to be something of a badass warrior, so has the real potential to change the tide of the battle. This issue saw a lot of running around corridors, stomping bugs, and shooting at people. There was very little progress made on the Defiant crew’s part, even putting B’Elanna out of action.

Issue Preview

Conclusion

Star Trek: Defiant #13 builds well on the violent setup of last month. The cliffhanger ending, which sees B’Elanna Torres infected by one of the bugs, is definitely the most memorable moment of the issue. As I said, I think killing her off is very unlikely. While she remains unaccounted for in the newer shows, comics doing something so bold is almost unheard of. The story will almost certainly transition into trying to save her from that infection, potentially using Hugh’s Borg immunity that was alluded to in Issue 12.

This is most certainly their most violent adventure yet. As I’ve articulated in the past, it’s nice to see an action-oriented series explore horror. The action here felt almost reminiscent of Aliens, with a solid Star Trek twist. The flashback to Nymira’s time on the prison moon Orion II was a great way to open this massive show of violence. The idea of them pushing for an escape, even with the odds heavily against them resonates throughout the whole issue, adding a new layer to our heroes.

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Defiant #13, which is out today from IDW Publishing. It’s available to order both physically and digitally from online retailers such as Amazon. You can also find it on the shelves of your local comic book store. For more reviews, all the latest news, lore discussions, and more be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central.

Issue Credits


Star Trek: Defiant #13 – Cover (B) Artist: Elizabeth Beals

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


In the next issue…

Cover Artists: Angel Unzueta
JK Woodward
Justin Mason

Issue #14: 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?

Released: April 24. 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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