By Donny Cates, Mack Chater, Jason Lewis, Dee Cunniffe and Sandra Lanz
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series. The Trek universe has certainly expanded a good deal since then and as a way of celebrating all of those achievements, IDW Publishing has licensed the property for a new six issue bi-monthly comic series. Each issue focuses on various points in the history of the series so that fans can experience a bit of everything. Take note, if you’re just getting into Star Trek for the first time, then this would be a suitable jumping on point. Each issue features two stories from different points in Trek’s history, with issue #1 focusing on The Next Generation and a great back up story centered on the original series.
Few things could translate from a TV show into a comic book as well as Star Trek, which comes off like it’s always been a comic. Perhaps that has something to do with the diversity in storytelling that comic books have achieved over the years, or maybe it’s the imaginative elements of the TV show and films that have lasted five decades. Either way, the reward is in this very cool book that makes for a seamless transition between mediums.
Written by Donny Cates and drawn by Mack Chater, the first story of Waypoint focuses on Captain Geordi La Forge and a bridge crew made up of hologram clones that look like and are lead by the android Data. Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation television show will no doubt recall the terrific dynamics shared between these two characters and their inevitable friendship. Geordi’s tactful, yet nerdy approach to working with and understanding Data was always a fun bridge between machine and human, as one consistently learned from the other. That backstory, however, makes for a natural dialogue between the two here as they encounter an ominous ship stranded in space. Cates writes a story, which builds on some of the most classic Trek moments, in this case a mysterious signal from an unknown spacecraft. Caught between investigating and a desire to assist, La Forge and Data put their minds together, make educated decisions with a degree of risk and, as usual, the story goes from there. It’s classic in the best possible way and the artwork only makes the reading experience that much better. You’ve got to hand it to Mack Chater for his ability to illustrate characters that are so fully integrated into pop culture. It may seem easy at first, what with all of the reference out there, but it has to be a challenge to meet the expectations of so many fans too, and Chater nails it. The book only further benefits from its colorists Jason Lewis and Dee Cunniffe, who add new layers of depth and interest. Overall this is a really beautiful book with an engaging story worthy of the Trek universe.
The second story, “Daylily” features another fan-favorite from the original series, Lieutenant Uhura, in a solo adventure written and drawn by Sandra Lanz. Uhura is alone on an alien planet where she attempts communication with another life form, as she waits for the Enterprise to beam her up. Lanz masterfully tells the story, mostly through images, without skipping a beat or losing the plot. With sparse dialogue and amazing, painterly artwork, this story makes for a fantastic balance between the two separate historical points in the series. Waypoint”really does help Trek to feel like one complete universe by expertly telling stories with so many years between them.
Comic book readers as well as fans of Trek will rejoice at the results of this project and we can’t wait to see what’s next. Hats off to IDW for handling such a beloved franchise so well. So far they’ve stay true to the essence and spirit of Star Trek in a way that should satisfy everyone without diluting the water one bit. IDW is always good about giving fans a choice in covers, so check a couple of them out below and be sure to grab your favorite at the comic shop this week!