Advance Review: Set Phasers To Fun In `Star Trek: Lower Decks’ #1
by Tom Smithyman
Perfectly capturing the look and the tone of the streaming series, this premiere gives readers nearly everything they could want. There are loving references to past Trek shows, lots of irreverent humor and just a touch a drama.
The success of the streaming series Star Trek: Lower Decks caught many by surprise. After all, the Star Trek franchise is alive and well with plenty of live-action shows. Was an animated comedy series really necessary?
Turns out, the answer is yes. The show recently started its third season and has been so successful that it will somehow cross over with the popular Star Trek: Strange New Worlds next year. Perhaps even more surprising is how easily the series translates to comic books, as seen in IDW’s newest title.
Featuring the now-familiar characters of Boimler, Mariner, Tendi and Captain Carol Freeman, the premiere issue could easily have been ripped off from the streamer. Writer Ryan North has perfectly captured the feel and tone of the series and the characters.
One of the best part of the streaming show is its loving references to even some of the most obscure Trek moments going back to the 1960s – from the original series’ Mugato to Discovery’s “Disco” shirts. The comic book story follows suit by revisiting some of Next Gen’s favorite holodeck moments, including Dixon Hill and Sherlock Holmes.
Predictably, a computer malfunction causes the holodeck to go awry, and hilarity ensues. North takes advantage of this medium by adding some hilarious parenthetical discussions with the reader. For example, after some dynamic word bubble font introduces bad guy James Moriarty, North writes, “The best thing in comics is when character speak someone’s name, and it looks like a logo for that name. I don’t know what it sounds like except that it must sound amazing.”
Artist Chris Fenolgio nails the look of the streaming series and each character. The advantage of animation – and now comic books – is the ease of introducing of non-human characters to the story. That gives Fenolgio free rein to include Caitians, Orions, Edosians and even a particular vampire.
As with much of Trek, each story serves to teach us a lesson: from the power of teamwork to the evils of racism. The only downside to this oversized issue that that the tale is continued, so we’re not able to learn what lesson the creative team is trying to tell. Still, it’s well worth the wait to see what the next issue has in store.
Star Trek: Lower Decks #1 will be available for purchase tomorrow.