Star Trek: Deviations
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Josh Hood
Colorist: Jason Lewis
Letterer: AndWorld Design
A review by Rich Schepis
Hope. It is one of the strongest emotions and has assisted mankind through some of its darkest days in the past century. John Steinbeck and Stephen King wrote about the impact hope has on the psyche in Of Mice and Men and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Two Jewish immigrants, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, created the world’s greatest outsider in Superman, who became a universal symbol for optimism worldwide. Hope is also at the core of Donny Cates and Josh Hood’s Star Trek: Deviations one-shot as part of IDW’s line-wide what if stories.
Wrapping up its jubilee celebration in 2016, one of the main reasons Star Trek has endured for 50 years is due to the hope it represents for all people of a better and inclusive future. Cates nails this idea of a brighter tomorrow with his story. He presents a universe in which Earth is now under Romulus control and Starfleet does not exist. Yet, a relic from a forgotten time is found and utilized to provide hope for Picard, Riker, LaForge, Worf, Troi, Crusher and Data. While the group does not know much about the symbol, it inspires hope in The Next Generation characters and gives them something to believe in under the oppressive boot heels of the Romulan Empire.
Narrating the readers’ journey is Riker, who leads a literal rag-tag group of believers, all rallying around a symbol he wears proudly around his neck; Riker believes and therefore they all believe. Cates and Hood present a non-stop story that sees familiar faces appearing in slightly different but also familiar roles. Appearance wise, none of the characters have been spared from mankind’s plight at the hands of the Romulan Empire, which allows Cates and Hood to have some fun with the reimagined TNG crew.
While the mission might seem straight forward, Cates’ story is not truly about the endgame (although another iconic image of optimism from Star Trek makes a memorable appearance on the final page), it is about the journey of these characters to stop at nothing to realize the potential and the ideas of what the relic represents.
Hood captures all the character likenesses expertly, while also warping their appearances to line up with the despondent and hard lives they have lived until this point. His opening chase scene is frenetic and leaves the reader feeling the burst of adrenaline the characters experience as they attempt to elude Romulan Scorpion fighters and Scout vessels. Hood also throws in a fabulous cameo moment starring one of TNG’s most beloved recurring characters.
Buy It! Society is at a turning point once again, and the onslaught waged on the pillars and ideas in which the country’s Greatest Generation sacrificed leaves many with a sense of sadness and despair. However, here is Cates, inspired by the ideas Gene Roddenberry’s franchise has taught over its five decades. Star Trek: Deviations is demonstrating to readers while all appears lost, there is always hope, just like Steinbeck and King did before him.
“A time for science, and learning. For art and for love. For men and women who will change things with their minds…”