The adventures of a young Jean-Luc Picard continue in Star Trek: Picard’s Academy Issue #4 out today from IDW Publishing. It’s been a long road, getting from there to here, but it’s finally time for Picard’s Evasive Maneuvers exam. This is it, his one chance to graduate early and head out into the stars. Until recently, he saw his group mates as obstacles, but he’s finally realized that having friends can really help you get where you want to go.
It’s for the best that he’s going into the exam with a crew that trusts him. Because this isn’t a written test. They’re going to be on an actual ship, in actual space, being hunted by holo-generated Romulans. Sounds like a recipe for chaos! Do Picard and his group have any hope of passing the exam? Find out in this review of Star Trek: Picard’s Academy Issue #4.
WARNING – Some spoiler discussion for the latest issue of Picard’s Academy Issue #4 follows below.
Seeing Picard, as well as all the side characters this series has spent so long building up, actually inhabit a starship is such a treat. After so long, it finally feels like this is where these characters belong. The six of them beaming up to the ship get a full page, with the characters looking concerned and wide-eyed at the suggestion they’d materialize inside one another. Doq’s just a little too eccentric to not vocalize such a strange thought, and I thought it was actually pretty funny.
Interestingly, it’s Resh who finally motions Picard into the captain’s chair. In asking whether or not Picard has what it takes, it forces Picard to step up and take control. We all know this is where Picard belongs, in a captain’s chair. However, seeing him finally earn that after making something of peace between him and his worst enemy made for a satisfying little story. Getting the “engage” line felt epic, after 4 issues, I finally felt like this was Picard.
Like with most things though, the first time wasn’t quite perfect. The “let’s go” command came out a little awkward, even just written on the page. Still, everyone was impressed with the maneuver he had planned, it would have been great if they were able to practice it though. With a level of disorganization and forgetfulness, it’s not hard to imagine why someone even wanting to pass would be a little annoyed. Still, I’m sure it’ll all be fine.
Right after Picard makes his big call to action, the ship starts powering down in an emergency shutdown. Nothing’s working and the USS Artemis isn’t responding to anything. Even the viewscreen with the teachers has turned off, and there’s a fleet of hopefully fake Romulan ships headed their way. It’s not the final issue, something’s got to happen, but I’m glad Picard’s first time in the captain’s chair wasn’t all smooth sailing.
There are quite a few nice action moments with the characters running down corridors, and getting into a bit of a fight. While there have been a couple of fight scenes through the series so far, this is the first that felt like it had proper stakes to it. So much shoving and slamming, with the actual exam on the line. Shoving them in the holodeck is an inventive way of getting your foes out of the way. Although from their reaction, I’m not sure they’re so fake.
From the look of the fleet on the final page, it looks really big. Either this exam was bigger than I realised or something’s gone horribly wrong. Maybe Picard will graduate early after disposing of a very real threat? I am of course just guessing. But with the crew unable to hail Starfleet, a last-minute twist wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Stopping an actual interstellar war would be a surprising way for this otherwise lower-stakes series to go out, but I’m not going to complain!
It’s the beginning of the end for Star Trek: Picard’s Academy with this issue, and the series looks to be going out with a bang. This is a potentially very high-stakes thrill ride from start to finish. There’s time enough to get a satisfying “engage” or two, but this has evolved into a more traditional Star Trek action story now. After the previous issues bordered on being a little too teen drama for me to love them, this is just what I needed from the series.
I really hope that the final two issues coming up are able to bring home a great story. The Commit No Mistakes story has become something of a guilty pleasure of late. I’m especially glad that Picard’s now a likable character, who’s far more in line with his onscreen counterpart. It’s something that may have taken a little too long, but the series is reaching a proper climax and I genuinely can’t wait to see what happens next.
You can pick up your own copy of Star Trek: Picard’s Academy Issue #4 out today from IDW Publishing. It’s available to order now both physically and digitally from online vendors such as Amazon. You can also find it on the shelves of all good comic book stores. For all the latest Star Trek news, reviews, lore discussions, and more, be sure to follow the team here at Trek Central!
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…
In issue #5: Starfleet’s Evasive Maneuvers exam has turned into an actual battle for survival as Jean-Luc and his classmates find themselves facing the very real threat of death by vacuum of space! They can’t reach Starfleet, and enemy Romulans continue invading their ship. Can Picard and his crewmates outmaneuver the enemy in their first-ever ship-on-ship space battle, or will he, in his first role as acting captain, succumb to the chaos and shouting matches among his crew?!
Release date: January 31, 2024
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