IDW’s flagship Trek series returns with Star Trek Issue #14 – a full-on action and world-building installment. When we last left the crew of the USS Theseus, they were tasked with investigating the Tzenkethi (say that ten times fast) and their construction of a fleet of deadly warships. Now, they must survive this hostile world while trying to prevent another war.
At the end of the previous issue, we learned that the member of Starfleet Intelligence investigating the Tzenkethi was none other than Harry Kim. Knowing Harry, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. Harry turns out to be an incredible fighter, fending off the Tzenkethi while defending his comrades. While this reveal of what happened to Harry after the events of Voyager is compelling, I’m not sure it makes the most sense for his character. Harry was always the nerdy, slightly awkward, and career-focused member of the crew. While it became a running gag that he never received a promotion beyond Ensign, becoming an intergalactic spy doesn’t seem like the next logical step for his character. I’ve always viewed him as becoming a Captain someday.
Uncle Harry Kim
Another strange reveal about Harry is that he is caring after Tom and B’Elanna’s daughter, Miral, while on this covert mission. As Miral’s uncle, he explains that it was impossible to have either Tom or B’Elanna’s parents watch over her while he went on this mission. However, this claim that another caretaker wasn’t an option is never really substantiated. It makes little sense to take a child into a dangerous environment. Harry could have easily left her with Starfleet. Instead, he put her in unnecessary danger. It seems like this plotline was included to create drama where none was needed.
Let’s talk about the Tzenkethi, who are the focus of this storyline. Before this issue, they had never been seen on screen. They were mentioned a few times in Deep Space Nine, but we never saw their physiology or knew anything about their culture. This comic is a great opportunity to explore this species and delve more into their world. This issue spends much of its time, at the expense of character moments, building up the history and values of the Tzenkethi. We learn how even though they are a race of fighters, they differ from their Klingon and Romulan counterparts. There is even a great page dedicated to the creation myth of the Tzenkethi, and their many uses and meanings for the word “Tzenkethi” itself.
One fun nod to Star Trek Nemesis in this issue comes in the form of the vehicle used to travel to the Tzenkethi city. It appears that the crew uses an Argo Jeep to travel as a unit. This is a great reference because the Argo scene from Nemesis is often not remembered with the most fondness. However, using the vehicle here normalizes its usage in the universe. It makes the scene from the film seem less out of place.
After arriving at the Tzenkethi city of Kot’taborr, the crew encounters the leader of the Tzenkethi, simply known as the Autarch. After discovering that the Tzenkethi are collaborating with the Romulans, the Autarch declares a “Festival of Supremacy”. Sisko and the crew interpret this literally as some sort of party or celebration, but they quickly learn that there has been a mistranslation and “festival” actually means “war”.
All Out War
This reveal feels like another miss for this issue’s story. The mistranslation is a crucial cultural understanding for the crew to fumble. One would think that after apparently fighting two wars with the Tzenkethi and having Harry perform covert operations on their planet, they would have an accurate understanding of the language. They also have universal translators, which always seem to work unless the plot needs them to not. It especially doesn’t make sense that they would be able to understand all words except for “festival”. It’s an exciting moment in the story, but one that doesn’t quite feel earned.
While this issue did a great job of creating a believable culture and identity for the Tzenkethi, its story failed to feel cohesive or logical. The trajectory of Harry’s character also feels off-course. The few scenes with Data and Crusher were good for character development, but unfortunately, that was just a small part of the issue. Hopefully, the next issue can tie all the plot work done in this issue to deliver some strong moments for our primary characters.
Star Trek Issue #14 Preview
Star Trek Issue #14 Credits
Writer: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design & Production: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Editorial Assistant: Vanessa Real
In the next issue…
Issue #15: Prepared to do whatever it takes to make peace with the war-worshipping Tzenkethi and outmaneuver the Romulan Empire as their ally, Captain Sisko and his crew work alongside Tzenkethi war leader Kav’ka and Romulan Magistrex T’Galatheon to ready capital defenses in preparation for the deadly Festival of Supremacy. But Sisko soon learns that Federation ideals won’t come naturally to the reptilian species that praises survival of the fittest overall. Can Sisko keep his crew alive, impress the Tzenkethi Autarch, and keep the Romulans from convincing warmongers that they reign supreme?
Release Date: December 20, 2023
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