Star Trek: Boldly Go #7
Writer: Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott
Artist: Megan Levens
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: AndWorld Design
A review by Rich Schepis
“They will not stop until they assimilate every last one of us.”
Warnings often fall on deaf ears, especially when it comes to the agendas of governments and individuals. Yet, Captain Terrell makes a strong argument for the Federation and Romulan Empire to work together to prepare for the Borg’s certain return. While this meeting serves as the backdrop to Star Trek: Boldly Go #7, the real story is a murder, one in which the reunited crew of the Enterprise, Jaylah and the cadets fromStarfleet Academy are now embroiled.
Revisiting the classic The Original Series Star Trek episode, “Journey to Babel,” Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott present a Kelvin Timeline twist to the iconic episode. “Murder at Babel” brings together all Federation members, including the Andorians, for a meeting that begins with mistrust and animosity before it devolves into suspicion. Joining the writing duo is artist Megan Levens, who previously illustrated the heartfeltDeep Space Nine tale in Star Trek: Waypoint #3, and colorist Sarah Stern.
Whether Johnson and Parrott consciously or subconsciously wrote Boldly Go #7 with the current political climate of mistrust in the United States and the world in mind is unknown, yet it is hard to imagine some of the dialogue and hardline ideologies demonstrated from attendees not being influenced by current events. Nonetheless, readers will most likely see parallels between the suspicions of the Romulans and prejudices of certain Federation members (remember Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?) and the current political parties in the U.S.
Subcommander Valas, the Endeavour’s former first officer, makes her return as a member of the Romulan delegation. Last time Kirk saw her, she was taken into custody for her role in leading the Starfleet vessel to Romulus in the Borg invasion. The Valas Kirk encounters now is a little different than the one he served with and is a story thread readers should continue to keep an eye out knowing Johnson’s glee in playing out the long story.
Continuity has always been a key to Star Trek fans enjoyment of the series. Add a mix of serialization and readers following along with Johnson’s adventures of the Kelvin Timeline crew over the past six years continue to be rewarded for their dedication. Outside the main comic title, Johnson was joined by Parrott and expanded the universe with the entertaining Starfleet Academy. Those characters, along with Scotty, are picked up by the Endeavour enroute to Babel and promise to feature heavily in the two-issue arc.
Visually, Levens’ artwork does a lot of the heavy lifting in the dialogue-laden story. Mixing up camera angles and spotlighted characters within a much larger group, Levens allows readers eyes to roam freely throughout the page. These types of issue can be dangerous for an artist as too many similar images (character discussions over multiple panels) can make a reader’s eye lazy so to speak. Levens’ capture beautiful character moments, especially on page 8 when Valas explains why she is resigning from Starfleet. Add in the artist’s renderings of Babel and the pulled out shots of the delegation meeting and readers are in for a treat.
Buy It! “Murder at Babel” is a spectacular homage to “Journey to Babel,” as an assassination attempt is made by a specific race of the Federation – one well known for their short fuses. However, while it acknowledges what has come before, Star Trek: Boldly Go #7 stands on its own as an entertaining story (unlike the failed homage of Star Trek Into Darkness). Readers of the comic and fans of TOS will have a difficult time not smiling while reading the issue. For readers of Boldly Go who only follow the Kelvin Timeline crew, a Netflix watch of “Journey to Babel” is recommended to gain a deeper appreciation of the issue. And this would not be a Johnson-written Star Trek story without his classic cliffhanger ending, one readers will not see coming