Comic annuals are always a fun wildcard. Sometimes a fun standalone story, sometimes integral to arcs. This Star Trek Annual 2023 is a solid mix of both of those if mostly the first one. Sometimes the numbering on annuals can be a bit of a nightmare, but I appreciate the approach that IDW Publishing takes. Instead of numbering the annuals, they’re just titled by the year they came out. It’s amazing.
This year’s annual is marketed as a part of the countdown to the Day of Blood event. While it’s certainly set in the world of their mainline Star Trek range, its connections to the wider story are tenuous at best. This is just a fun aside, taking all the legacy characters on the USS Theseus and letting them run wild. It is double the length of the regular comics, but it still flew by while I had the biggest smile on my face.
Nostalgia Simulator: Holodeck Edition
It’s safe to say that when it comes to fan service, we Star Trek fans have had it pretty good of late. There are so many Trek shows on at the moment, with all sorts of eras, casts, and even unexpected cameos and reunions. Star Trek throwbacks abound, so it’s hard to stand out. It’s truly a testament to the creatives here that every page had me beaming from ear to ear. Listing every reference or mentioning every character that appears would be a disservice to anybody wanting to read it, but at no point did it feel excessive.
Just about every Trek series gets a mention, with some unexpected set pieces from the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies as well. Most surprisingly, in the end, there was a mention of the planet Circe V. It’s not a planet from any episode of the show but rather draws from IDW’s Star Trek: Year Five run from a few years ago. The way all their series are interconnected like that is really fun to see as a longtime reader.
Framing it all around Scotty also worked wonders. After the events of “Relics“, he really was a man out of time. He’s so far removed from everything and everyone he knew. Seeing him drawn into the specters of the past was heartwarming. His reunion with the holographic Kirk, which kicks off this adventure, is even sadder considering the opening of Star Trek: Generations. It’s not just a memory, Scotty feels as if he’s looking at a ghost. Such a beautiful touch.
Boldly Going Into a Rest Break
The story is fundamentally about Scotty finding his place among his crewmates in the 24th Century. However, we do get a little glimpse into what all the other characters are doing in their well-deserved break. Outside of “Shore Leave” we almost never see these characters relax. Here, we see most of our heroes playing a fantasy tabletop RPG. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that my favorite characters are also massive nerds. It makes for a lot more candid, funny moments than the classic poker.
Letting Scotty join at the end was a little reminiscent of Picard joining the crew at the end of “All Good Things…“. It felt like a big character moment too. He said goodbye to the last chapter of his life, ready to boldly go into the next, with all that entails. It’s so nice to see more of what became of him in the 24th century, but also how he deals with what he missed out on. I look forward to seeing what his future looks like. And I also want more Star Trek D&D in the future, because that’s awesome.
However, not every character is around the table. This includes the mysterious Vulcan T’Lir. Their purpose in the story is vague, and they don’t do all too much. Just a bit of stumbling around a hallway, talking vaguely about contacting someone. After previous teases throughout the series, I’m pretty interested to see where this builds. But after this Star Trek Annual 2023, I wonder if their story ties into Star Trek: The Original Series. It would make for a nice callback to the past that Scotty’s made progress in moving on from in this issue.
If you’re in need of a fun Trek diversion, this comes very highly recommended. After how intense the last few comics in this era have been, it’s nice to have something like this to relax with. It doesn’t outstay its welcome and has a really sweet character story around it as well. There’s very clearly something being set up here, and this story looking to be set during the upcoming Day of Blood event too. Beautiful aside before this story reaches its climax.
If you’re a massive fan of the shows looking to get into Star Trek comics, I can hardly think of something you’d enjoy more than this event. Both reading and reviewing these comics have been a pleasure. This new Annual issue really made me feel the joy that only the best episodes of the show have done. But in setting this ahead of where the series is at, it also made me even more excited about the upcoming crossover, which starts in July.
You can get your own copy of Star Trek Annual 2023 from all good comic book stores and can order online from Amazon and IDW Publishing’s website. For news coverage, reviews, feature pieces, and talking all things Star Trek, be sure to follow Trek Central!
Writer: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Rachael Scott
Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Star Trek Issue #9
In the next issue: After a surprise encounter with the adrenaline-jacked Red Path while infiltrating the hidden Cardassian facility, the Theseus‘ crew must recover the Orb of Destruction. And make it out alive, if they’re to put a stop to Kahless’ bloody reign. But with Captain Sisko standing trial on Cardassia Prime with Commander Data by his side, can his crew succeed when they are divided?
Release date: June 14, 2023
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