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REVIEW – Star Trek Issue #16

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The mysterious Tzenkethi Coalition is nearly finished building their war armada, and Sisko is all that stands between the Federation and all-out war. Star Trek Issue #16 is out today from IDW Publishing! The Federation and the Romulan Star Empire are vying for allyship with the Tzenkethi, with Sisko’s negotiations being the sector’s last best hope for peace. However, at the end of Issue #15, Sisko was severely injured. With the captain of the USS Theseus mostly out of action, how will the crew live to fight another day?

Things are seldom as simple as they seem, however. What terrible secrets are Dr Crusher and Scotty about to uncover? And how will Harry Kim help Ensign Sato recover from their injuries? Find out the answers to all of your burning questions from last month, in this review of the latest Star Trek comic book adventure.

WARNING – The following review contains spoilers for Star Trek issue #16. If you’ve not read the comic, you should probably turn away now.

Father and Child

Star Trek Issue #16 Cover A by Marcus To

The issue opens with Sisko in a medical recovery bay, being attended to by a medical hologram who will be very familiar to Star Trek fans. We’re going to see the Doctor reappear in the upcoming second season of Star Trek: Prodigy, so this is a welcome taste of things to come. Better than that, he calls on a couple of duplicates to better take on Sisko’s injuries. Nothing beats multiple copies of the Doctor. For what could have easily been a tragic scene, this was very enjoyable.

There’s a beautiful moment with Tom Paris as well, who’s taking care of Miral. Between Paris, Kim, and the Doctor, there’s a lot of love for Star Trek: Voyager in this issue. Given how focused on Deep Space Nine the previous arcs were, this is some welcome breathing room. There’s not a lot to the scene with Tom, but it goes to show what a lovely father he is, showing a much softer and more vulnerable side to his character. The series’ dedication to adorable character moments like that is what keeps me coming back month after month.

Speaking of Harry Kim, he gets a beautiful scene with the injured Lily Sato. He speaks broadly about his time as an Ensign, a position he held for the entire run of Voyager. It’s been something of a joke in the fandom for decades. Seeing the comic actually, approach what feeling trapped and expendable did to Harry was surprisingly touching. He’s also becoming a nice mentor figure for Sato, she could have a very nice future ahead of her if she makes it out alive!

From Orders to Suggestions

Star Trek Issue #16 Cover B by Elizabeth Beals

One of the most interesting things that this issue did was reintroduce an old Cardassian character. Of course, I’m referring to none other than Barada Damar, who’s now the first speaker of the newly democratic Cardassian order. Like the fan-favorite Damar from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Barada has an okay relationship with our Emissary. The conversation they share in private is one built on trust and mutual understanding, a far cry from Cardassian relations of the past.

There’s a line thrown around about Sisko turning orders from higher-ups into suggestions, constantly breaking the rules in order to win the day. It’s something that made for great viewing on TV, and it hits the exact same spot here. Though he’s not won yet, and with two issues still to go through, the stakes keep on being raised. The planet’s falling apart, with Crusher and Scotty floating the idea of letting the Tzenkethi die in the ruins.

There are a few pages towards the end, further exploring the depths of the Tzenkethi planet. It’s visually stunning, with the caves jumping off the page, feeling simultaneously open and claustrophobic. The oranges of the planet’s core in particular I found particularly alluring. The colors complemented the exploration suits and heads-up displays really nicely. Caves are an important Star Trek setting, and a planet core was a lovely twist. I can’t wait to see where this little plot builds to, potentially very interesting ethically.

Issue Preview

Conclusion

Star Trek Issue #16 Cover C by Malachi Ward

Kelly and Lanzing’s Star Trek keeps being the same addictive reading that it’s always been, and there are a lot of genuine and emotional moments on show here. There’s a lot of life in the series yet, managing to squeeze 4 issues (and counting) out of a secret weapon plot about a mostly unknown species. This is addictive reading, and it has no right to be as good as it is here.

Next month’s issue looks to be juggling with ethical and moral issues a lot more. If Crusher and Scotty act, they’re enabling a potential catastrophe. But if they don’t, what they’re enabling is the total eradication of the Tzenkethi. A choice between brutal death and endless war. It’s kind of obvious which one of those is going to happen, but I expect there will be a nice meditation on it regardless. The final issues of this arc are set to be stuffed from cover to cover with action and intrigue.

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek issue #16, which is out today from IDW Publishing. It’s available to order both physically and digitally from digital retailers like Amazon and IDW’s website. You can also find a physical copy on the shelves of all good-coming bookstores. For more Star Trek reviews, news, and lore discussions, be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central!

Issue Credits

Star Trek Issue #16 Cover RI by Jake Bartok

Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Marcus To
Colourist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design & Production: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Editorial Assistant: Vanessa Real


In the next issue…

Cover Artists: Marcus To
Megan Levens
Jake Bartok

In issue #17: Galactic war is imminent in the penultimate issue of arc three of the Eisner-nominated Star Trek series. With Federation, Romulan, and Cardassian forces all vying for leverage over the Tzenkethi war fleet, Captain Sisko is left with no choice but to request official assistance from Starfleet after he and his crew have fallen out of favor with the warmongering reptilian species. However, the proposed solution—and only option Starfleet is willing to approve—is questionable, with the potential of endangering not only the Theseus crew…but the galaxy at large.

Release date: February 21, 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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