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REVIEW – Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5

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It’s all hands on deck for the latest issue! Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 is out today from IDW Publishing. The Evasive Manoeuvres exam has gone horribly wrong. The ship, manned only by a bunch of cadets, has been boarded by Romulans. It’s down to Picard to take charge and lead the group to safety, but is he up to the challenge?

This isn’t quite the Picard that we all know and love from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Picard’s Academy tells the story of Picard’s years at the Academy when he was much younger and substantially more immature. Over the past few months, we’ve seen him grow into something that vaguely resembles the future Captain. Hopefully, this younger Picard is able to win this battle for survival, unguarded and unsupervised, in space.

Find out in this review of Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5.

WARNING – Some spoiler discussion follows below.

Growing Up

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 Cover (A) by Sweeney Boo

As people who have seen Star Trek before, we all know the man that Jean-Luc Picard is built to become. While the TV series have touched on his childhood and upbringing, comparatively little has been made of his days at Starfleet Academy. That’s exactly where Star Trek: Picard’s Academy comes in. As opposed to the big grand spectacles of series like Star Trek: Defiant, this one is ultimately a character piece. After 5 issues now, I feel that this was a story worth telling.

He’s spent much of the story trying to run away from Earth, leaving his family and legacy back on Earth. Now he’s mellowed on that substantially. Instead of running from his past, he’s now confronting it head-on. As he says here, to move past his past. All he has to do is right by his crew, and the situation with the Romulans interrupting his exam is exactly what will push him over the edge. This is, for all intents and purposes, now the Picard we recognize.

That being said, it wasn’t all great. There’s a particular moment where Doq says, word for word, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is now a weakness, that is life”. The line is taken verbatim from the TNG episode “Peak Performance”. It’s since become one of Picard’s most iconic quotes. The fact he’s not the one saying it, and the fact that it’s used in its entirety was very on the nose. It felt very over the top and took me out of what was otherwise a very enjoyable ride.

No Way Out

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 Cover (B) by Derek Charm

There’s a fair bit of action here that caught me off guard. The ship’s rocked a couple of times by the Romulans before they eventually retreat and form a proper battle plan. While the issue cuts off before a proper battle can begin, compared to previous issues this is rather explosive. There’s even an actual explosion, which nearly kills Picard’s rival Resh. Picard saving him actually opens up an interesting new dynamic for the two of them.

Don’t get me wrong, the relationship between them is tumultuous at best. However, there’s a newfound sense of mutual respect which I hope is able to develop into something. That being said, Resh isn’t really a character in the wider Star Trek universe. A part of what makes the series interesting is the fact that literally anything could happen to the side characters without breaking canon.

They also keep the very real Romulans trapped in a Holodeck program. It’s a light and silly cutaway that absolutely makes the issue. This series is a little silly and is able to take the time to do this sort of thing. In no uncertain terms, I think it’s adorable and funny. For now, they’re trapped in a contemporary grocery store, unable to do anything. I hope that they come back with a bigger presence in the finale because there’s a lot of comedic potential here.

Conclusion

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 Cover (RI) by Cara McGee

The penultimate issue of the series arc so far does a good job setting up the final part next month. Once I realized what the series is, as well as the lighter tone it’s going for, I began to enjoy it a lot more. There’s a lot of teen drama, with a young adult tone rather than the more mature IDW Star Trek series. Having started enjoying it, I hope that IDW can find other ways to diversify its Star Trek output in future too.

This has managed to become something of a comfort series for me. The best thing about it is, that it looks like it’s going to out with a bang. We’re headed for some proper ship-to-ship battles, and hopefully a satisfying conclusion to the story. They said it here, that it’s possible to commit no mistakes and still lose, so it really makes you wonder exactly what Picard’s in for in the next issue.

You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Picard’s Academy Issue #5, which is out today from IDW Publishing. It’s available to purchase both physically and digitally from Amazon as well as IDW’s own website. You can also find it on the shelves of all good comic book stores. For more Star Trek reviews, all the latest news, lore discussions, and more be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central!

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 Preview

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 Credits

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 Artists: Sweeney Boo
Aaron Harvey
Megan Huang

In issue #6: It’s do-or-die for Picard and the cadets in the finale of Picard’s Academy! Romulans storm the ship while Starfleet remains out of reach and potentially unaware of the threat headed their way, but the cadets have finally come to an agreement, electing Jean-Luc to the captain’s chair. They’re finally willing to follow Picard’s lead, and Picard is finally willing to acknowledge their feedback—now acting as a proper crew. But is it too late? Will Picard fail his crewmates once again and, worse yet, see the start of an interstellar war? So much for graduating early!

Release Date: February 28, 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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