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REVIEW – Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3

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It’s almost time for the Evasive Manoeuvres exam at Starfleet Academy! That’s right, Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 is out now from IDW Publishing. With a nightmare group assignment, Jean-Luc needs to rely on more than just himself to pass. Compared to the publisher’s other Star Trek offerings, this series is a very different affair. Gone are the space battles, replaced with teenage angst and the sort of character drama that Star Trek has never explored before.

Perhaps teen drama is the true unexplored final frontier for this franchise? The series has pushed the boundary of what a Star Trek story can be. Plus, we’re exploring the early days of one of our favorite Starfleet officers. As much as it’s been an adjustment, I’ve come to appreciate what the series is going for. Let’s see if Picard is on track to get far away from it all in the latest issue of Picard’s Academy.

WARNING – Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 below. If you’ve not read it yet, you should probably turn away now. Anywho, let’s get into it.

Commit No Mistakes

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 – Cover Artist: Sweeney Boo

The series has been subtitled “Commit No Mistakes”. While we follow the adventures of the self-righteous Picard, he’s not exactly the character we know and love. This character is far too arrogant, self-absorbed, and seemingly unwilling to empathize with other people. He doesn’t see them as equals, but rather as obstacles that are in his way. When the practice goes awry, he has an outburst of anger, blaming everyone else.

Resh, who’s mentioned frequently as Picard’s nemesis makes some more than valid points. As difficult as Picard’s life has been, he’s not the only one at the Academy with family issues. Everyone else around him is going through exactly the same thing. I’m not here defending trawling through people’s minds without their consent. In fact, a Betazoid character who’s not a very good person using their gifts in the heat of the moment is an interesting take on the species too.

It’s unfortunate that, outside of Picard’s friends, I struggle to be on the side of many of these characters. Picard still needs to grow significantly, something I’m hoping is coming up. The end of the issue teases that it helped him to talk about his feelings. I desperately hope that in the coming issues, he becomes more recognizably Picard. Seeing him so deeply flawed is a fascinating departure, however, this arrogance is making him unrecognizable.

The Last Night

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 – Cover Artist: Arianna Florean

There’s a bit of a physical altercation towards the end of Picard’s Academy #3. It leaves Picard bruised and vulnerable. However, in true Starfleet fashion, he’s not alone. His friends, Doq and Marty (something familiar about those names…) are there to pick him up. It’s nice to see a character who hasn’t exactly been the nicest, become so vulnerable.

It’s the last night before their exam. Instead of stressing about the exam, they all open up to each other. Scared of space travel, Picard feels as if he’s running on empty. There’s determination in the air here. But friendship trumps all. We’ve seen a lot of them over the past few issues, and it’s nice that we get a moment like this. The final pages aren’t anxiety, but a genuinely relaxing atmosphere.

Sure, Picard wants to be off Earth more than anything. Somehow he remains driven, even though all of this stress would have driven anyone else to burnout. He’s determined to pass this exam, but now he’s hopefully been equipped with an amount of empathy thanks to his experiences here. It’s going to be Picard’s first ever time in space, so something definitely ought to go wrong. Hopefully, he’s able to prove himself and become the man we know he becomes.

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 Preview

Conclusion

Picard’s Academy continues to be an interesting outing. While it’s not quite the height of action and excitement, the story’s come to have quite a heart with it. I’m personally partial to teen drama, so having one of my favorite sci-fi franchises explore that sort of storytelling is interesting, to say the least. I’m most impressed with Maggs’ ability to craft a cast of side characters that push this young Picard to his emotional breaking point.

The next issue seems to pushing a bit of exciting action in space, so I’m interested to see what they go for. Perhaps the stakes are about to get a lot higher, pushing this series into an interesting spot for the future. We’re only halfway through the Commit No Mistakes story. There’s plenty of room to grow and change. While the series has continued to get better and better, I’m very excited for the rest of the series in the new year.

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 out now from IDW Publishing! It’s available to order both physically and digitally from Amazon, and IDW’s website. There are also copies available to purchase in all good comic book stores. For more Star Trek reviews, lore discussions, and all the latest news, be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central!

Issue Credits

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #3 – Cover Artist: George Kambadais

Writer: Sam Maggs
Artist: Ornella Greco
Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Design & Production: Neil Uyetake
Group Editor: Heather Antos
Editorial Assistant: Vanessa Real


In the next issue…

Cover Artist: Sweeney Boo
O’Neill Jones
Liana Kangas

Issue #4: Time’s up! It’s Evasive Maneuvers exam day, the only shot Picard has at graduating early… and getting off Earth and far away from home. He’s as ready as he can be and actually feels like he can trust some of his group partners. But little does he know, their first test in space will bring an unexpected challenge, one the cadets would never find in their textbooks!

Release Date: January 3, 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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