IDW’s Star Trek Issue #9 offers up an action-packed and decisive installment. While there is not as much time for character development this time around, it is still a pretty exciting read. But less dialogue means less time reading, which makes the experience almost over before it begins. When we last left the crew of the Theseus, Captain Sisko was on trial for the crimes he supposedly committed during the Dominion War. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew investigated a dormant Cardassian station rumored to contain the Bajoran Orb of Creation. There, the crew confronted the mysterious and deadly Red Path, who were out for blood.
Star Trek issue #9 opens with Sisko lamenting to the Prophets, questioning why his path has led him here. He refers to the Prophets as his ‘mother’, which is a chilling moniker. This is a potent reminder that this Sisko is not the man we knew from Deep Space Nine. His experience in the wormhole has forever changed him. He now has an entirely different view of the universe.
Ghosts of Sisko’s Past
Sisko then confronts the ghost of Gul Dukat. A strange sentence to write, but it somehow happens. It’s unclear whether this apparition is a figment of Sisko’s imagination or the work of the Pah-Wraiths, but Dukat is here, and he proceeds to taunt Sisko as he always used to. Dukat’s dialogue is written excellently – you can really hear his voice. He has some interesting ruminations on the Prophets and their role in controlling the paths of himself and Sisko. Did Dukat and Sisko ever have free will, or were their outcomes preordained by the Prophets? If Sisko was and continues to be the Emissary, why was he sent here to die?
Most of the rest of Star Trek issue #9 showcases the away team’s battle with the Red Path on the Cardassian station. We learn more about the Red Path – a multi-species drug-fueled cult dedicated to Kahless’ cause. Cardassians and Romulans fight side by side wielding Klingon Bat’leths and singing Klingon war songs. This clash of cultures is an interesting sight to see, and certainly an original idea for Star Trek. 60 years in, it’s amazing that new ideas are even possible in this universe, which speaks volumes to the rich possibilities of the world.
For all our sons
The highlight of Star Trek issue #9 comes from an in-universe essay written by Barada Damar. These cutaway pages are consistently the best additions to this run of comics, as they give significant insight into the world of the characters. This cutaway in particular reflects on the Cardassian saying, “For all our sons”. Damar discusses the meaning of the phrase and its historical usage in affirming a Cardassian’s commitment to the state. The words then united Cardassia in the rebellion against the Dominion. Now they’re used to usher in a new era for the Cardassian people. This essay really brings the Cardassians to life, making them feel like real people with their own culture and values.
Another great part of Star Trek issue #9 is seeing Shaxs in combat while battling the Red Path. His over-the-top fight tactics work well for the animated aesthetic of Lower Decks and translate equally well in comic form. He bonks two Cardassians’ heads together, throws robed assailants around the room, and goes toe to toe with a hulking Romulan. This makes me want to see Shaxs’ battle prowess in live-action form, although it may come across as a little silly.
And now the conclusion
Star Trek issue #9 concludes with Sisko being found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death. This verdict is a little confusing because its entire premise is that Sisko and the Federation carried out the Cardassian genocide. We know that in reality, it was the Dominion who committed the genocide, and Barada Damar even acknowledges this in his essay, so it is unclear why this trial is even happening. Perhaps Sisko is just being used as a scapegoat so the Cardassians can place the blame on someone since they can’t convict the Founders. Damar wants to unite the Cardassians under a common enemy, for all their sons.
How Sisko will escape this execution is unclear, since the Theseus is far away and Sisko’s only ally is Garak. Perhaps the Prophets will intervene, or Garak will come to a last-minute rescue. Either way, we’ll find out next time in the conclusion to this mini-arc.
Inside Issue #9
In the next issue…
In issue #10: Don’t miss out on the lead-up to the Day of Blood crossover event between the Star Trek and Star Trek: Defiant ongoing series! Lieutenant Shaxs receives visions from the Bajoran Prophets. He sees his past and his future, and he sees the trial of Benjamin Sisko. The crew of the Theseus must fight their way back together after being separated across Cardassian space before their Captain’s fate is set in stone and Kahless can carry out his promise of more bloodshed…
Release date: July 12, 2023
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