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REVIEW: Star Trek: Defiant #3

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Continuing on from last month, today has seen the release of Star Trek: Defiant #3 from IDW Publishing. But does this comic, with a cover of Spock sitting pensively in front of explosions reach that level of awesome? Does this crossover comic spin-off continue being the Legacy series of our dreams? Or is it starting to buckle under the weight of its own ambitions? Between Spock’s battle, a pirate escape, more of Sela logs, and a story about Gorn, the issue is absolutely loaded! Read my more detailed thoughts below.

The Pirates of Orion

Star Trek: Defiant #3 – Cover Artist: Louie De Martinis

After being captured at the end of the last issue, in Star Trek: Defiant #3 Worf, B’Elanna, and Ro Laren are forced to improvise their way to escape. The best thing about this comic is seeing all these characters like B’Elanna and Ro in particular who never met on screen, just bounce off one another so organically. It’s particularly funny at times, although there were at least 4 instances of an f-bomb. Like recent instances onscreen, I’m mostly ambivalent about their presence in Trek, but the frequency here really caught me off-guard.

Thankfully, to make up for it, we have some pretty cool hand-to-hand combat scenes. I’m always partial to seeing some of our favorite Klingon and Maquis characters kicking ass. Whilst it wasn’t quite as engaging as the Spock plot for me, it was never boring, certainly where a lot of the bigger action scenes in the issue were. Worf’s injury however felt like it was setting up the next issue, with the effects of the drugs and his reunion with Lore being all set up by the end. It felt like it could’ve used fewer action scenes and more actual plot.

There was also a mysterious pirate character, whose identity is currently unknown. They fix up Worf’s injuries with some of the same drugs used by Kahless, and I’m interested to see how they affect him in the long run. This mysterious pirate is beamed aboard the Defiant by the end of the issue, so they’ll be sticking around. Although Sela’s communications have a much bigger presence, I wouldn’t be surprised if this mystery character is connected. Their identity and how they factor into the plot is definitely something that has me excited for next month.

Gorn and Romulan Asides

Star Trek: Defiant #3 is particularly well written in my opinion. There’s a story woven through the issue about a Gorn blood vendetta in the Orion Syndicate. For a criminal group that only had a comparatively minor role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it’s cool to see their position in the 24th Century be expanded on. It’s not clear exactly who this is coming from, but it appears like it could be the mysterious pirate character. The fact that the events of the story mirror the actions of the Legacy characters on the Scarab is particularly clever too.

However, I found I had to read it again in isolation after I’d finished the comic. The story becomes a bit detached by the end, the links becoming increasingly tenuous. However, the tie-in at the end to the reunion between Lore and Worf makes for good reading and really makes it feel worthwhile. What, at the moment, feels less worthwhile however is the insistence on inserting another log from the Romulan Commander Sela. It happened in the last issues as well, and it still doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere.

Star Trek: Defiant #3 has a double bill of them as well, and I’m seriously hoping that it leads somewhere next time. From that ending, it looks like it might. It’s also timed around the introduction of the pirate character. I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads. Regardless, at least these logs are kept to full pages. Nice and easy to read whenever, and it’s a lot of fun to read in Crosby’s voice. I look forward to seeing where her story thread leads, looking to finally be going somewhere.

Star Trek: Defiant #3 – Cover Artist: Angel Unzueta

Captain Spock vs the Scarab

I think I made the joke last time, but the Scarab ship being operated by the pirates looks distractingly familiar. It might be the way it’s drawn, or the colors chosen, I’m not too sure. Certainly not the shape. However, it evokes Red Dwarf in the strangest way. The similarities the ships share are really uncanny. Having it be the ship that Spock and the Defiant spend the whole issue battling is therefore a lot of fun. It also stood out really nicely from the mostly grey color palette chosen for the rest of Spock’s half of the comic.

Actual TV stories with Worf, Lore, and Ro have just ended, so it’s nice for comics to put other characters into the spotlight. Especially those who can’t appear onscreen. We’ve also seen Spock in command of the Enterprise in the trailer for Strange New Worlds Season 2. Needless to say, his command skills and confidence have grown considerably. There’s also a cheeky reference to the end of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, so this is very much the Spock from the movies. To say I enjoyed reading this would be an understatement.

Throughout this whole harrowing ordeal, he’s talking to Lore, who recovered in the last issue. I much would have preferred he has a bigger presence, but I guess the ending works. Here he’s little more than a glorified computer voice, making suggestions and presenting information. Almost none of this seems all that similar to Lore for me though. My image of him is much more manipulative and opportunistic, but his ultimate role in the series remains to be seen. Maybe in interacting with Worf next time things will improve a bit.

Issue Preview

Conclusion

This one was a lot more connected to the overarching plot than the recent Star Trek issue. I’m still not sure how Sisko’s arrest and Worf being drugged are building to a crossover though, but the Red Path was at least mentioned. Having the Spock and Worf parts of this story run separately made for some entertaining (if occasionally disjointed) reading. I also mostly enjoyed the subtle parallels between the story and the Gorn anecdote.

Overall, while imperfect, it’s a more than worthy addition to this series insanely high standards. It may even be the most cleverly written comic thus far, weaving all 4 story threads together. And now all eyes are on Worf’s recovery, his reunion with Lore, and the presence of this mystery character. I’m not sure where this series is going, but know that I will be reading to see where it’s headed. Next month looks like a lot of fun, and I’ll most definitely be reading.

You can follow along and pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Defiant #3 from all good comic stores. It’s also available from IDW’s own website and digitally from the IDW app. For coverage and reviews of all IDW’s ongoing Star Trek lines, be sure to follow Trek Central!

Cover Artists: Rod Reis
Jake Bartok

Issue Credits:

Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: รngel Unzueta
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Clayton Cowles


Star Trek: Defiant #4

Cover Artists: Angel Unzueta
Andrea Broccardo
J. K. Woodward

In the next issue: With Kahless and the Red Path’s mission to conquer the universe looming over their heads, the Defiant crew must overcome their differences if they’re to prevent another massacre, and it’s the most unlikely of diplomats to convince them of as much.

Release Date: June 7, 2023


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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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