By definition, the Star Trek: Waypoint specials are fairly hit and miss in their anthological approach to the Star Trek universe, telling stories which fit in the greater lexicon without contradicting canon. Eschewing Discovery and Enterprise, this latest special focuses on the remaining four series in crafting a short story for each show at different points in their timeline.
The easiest way to report on these tales is to take them story by story, paragraph by paragraph.
Star Trek: The Original Series – Hearts & Bones
Doctor Leonard McCoy was never much good in the romance department and writer/artist Stephen Mooney gets good mileage out of Bones’ social anxieties by having him fall head over heels for T’Han, a Vulcan doctor helping out with a medical procedure on the USS Enterprise. It’s a sprightly short story in which Bones courts the advice of that incorrigible Romeo Jim Kirk, trades barbs with an enjoyably sarcastic Spock, and ends up spewing out one or two traditional McCoy-isms of exasperation along the way.
Nothing revelatory but these classic characters are well captured and Mooney nails how they look to a tee. Plenty of fun.
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Unfathom
A frothy tale set in the first season of The Next Generation by writer Corrina Bechko, so marked by the early TNG uniforms and the presence of the ill-fated Tasha Yar in the story. This foregrounds Tasha and the often-underused Dr. Beverly Crusher in a tale about a listless freighter containing a radical piece of storage technology, ‘un-space’, which causes amnesia among those who come into contact with it. Besides feeling a little more like a Doctor Who story—especially in the jokey resolution—you wonder if this isn’t a concept that deserves a bigger plot to build out what is a decent science-fiction gimmick.
Threadbare, and Daniel Irizarri’s artwork is so overtly rounded and comic-like it takes you out of the piece a little.
Star Trek: Voyager – The Swift Spoke
Another story which perhaps deserves more exploration, as a younger version of future Voyager Captain Kathryn Janeway, alongside Tuvok, while serving on the USS Billings, encounters the Adegeda, an unusual species living on an opaque planet which is not affixed to one dimension. Writer and artist Malachi Ward (with a co-story credit with Matt Sheean) manage to portray Janeway and Tuvok decently as equals, given this is before Janeway became his commanding officer (indeed he’s quite disparaging at one point) but it feels more like the shadow of a satisfying story than anything else.
Ward’s artwork is nicely stark while tapping some Lovecraftian imagery for the Adegeda though.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The First Year
It’s interesting how with Deep Space Nine tie-in material, writers often opt to deal with a lingering character point from the series, which closed off the main narrative but left the ultimate fate of many in its ensemble open for development. Worf, we know, despite becoming Federation Ambassador to Q’onos at the end of What You Leave Behind, ends up back on the Enterprise-E by Star Trek: Nemesis, so writer Thomas F. Zahler chooses to use his unresolved feelings toward Jadzia’s death and relationship with Ezri Dax as the catalyst. This feels like a story already told with greater depth in the ongoing novel material, post-Nemesis, and indeed partly in Season 7 of DS9.
Mark Roberts colours and sketches out part of the arid Klingon home world neatly but this feels like an exercise in tying up a loose end already tied elsewhere.
Ultimately, then, a fairly average collection of stories. The Swift Spoke is probably the most intriguing, Hearts & Bones the most accessibly enjoyable, but none serve as unmissable entries in the Star Trek tie-in universe.
A Waypoint for die-hard Trek fans only.
Star Trek: Waypoint Special 2019 is now available from IDW Publishing.
Why not become a Patron of Cultural Conversation for early access to writing, exclusive features and more? Support us here: https://www.patreon.com/ajblackwriter