Among recurring Star Trek aliens, there are few more mysterious than the Tholians. Outside of their most notable appearance, in “The Tholian Web” they’ve been little more than cameos and and Easter Eggs. This issue of Star Trek: Year Five goes a long way towards changing that.
Jackson Lanzing, Colin Kelly, Stephen Thompson, Charlie Kirchoff, and Neil Uyetake push Kirk, Spock and crew into the final voyage of their five year mission.
The Enterprise finds itself a stand off with the Tholians in the midst of an investigation of a slaughtered Federation colony. Captain Kirk and his crew have a difficult situation in front of them. Can they deescalate the situation or will the Enterprise start a war with one of the Federation’s most dangerous foes?
Lanzing and Kelly create a difficult situation for Kirk to work his way out of. Their story adds a lot of layers to the Tholians that simply weren’t there before, rounding them out more as antagonists than they previously had been. They go from ciphers to fascinating xenophobic fascists.
Another thing the story does really well is utilize the cast. Outside of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, it’s hard to argue that any of the original cast were used well during the original series. Here though, everyone contributes to the story, and offers solutions to their dilemma. It makes Kirk’s final call seem like a well thought out and considered solution, which isn’t just a more realistic solution but also shows growth on the captain’s part.
Thompson and Kirchoff bring the story to life. Thompson’s line work captures the likeness of Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley et al without feeling rigid or over-referenced. He’s also able to capture the ship to ship conflict in a way that makes it feel very exciting, and makes the expressionless Tholians emotional and relatable. Kirchoff’s colors add a layer that pushes the story into an exciting adaptation, both with effects and colors.
The final voyage of the Enterprise is off to a great start, and it’s exciting to finally see this story told.
Star Trek: Year Five #2 is available now from IDW Publishing.