[Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Star Trek: Boldly Go #1-4.]
For fans of Star Trek, especially those enchanted by the divisive-yet-entertaining Kelvin Timeline, IDW’s Star Trek: Boldly Go comic continues the journeys of the rebooted Kirk, Uhura, Bones, and Spock. Kicking off after the destruction of the Enterprise in the light-hearted, action-packed Star Trek Beyond, Boldly Go explores the lives of the bridge officers (and Scotty) while between ships. Even without their iconic "wessel," Federation life is rarely dull.
Reassigned to several different ships, the crew has been scattered across the quadrant, as Captain Kirk and Leonard “Bones” McCoy now serve aboard the U.S.S. Endeavor, Hikaru Sulu helms the U.S.S. Concord, and Scotty pumps neophytes full of knowledge at Starfleet Academy. Meanwhile, Spock and Nyota Uhulu are on New Vulcan, where the science officer is taking some time off to help rebuild the tatters of his lost world.
Kirk's otherwise routine mission is interrupted by an urgent distress call from the Concord and the reemergence of a fabled foe.
The Borg Return
Warping on over to rescue the Concord, Kirk discovers that the ship has been picked apart like a complementary buffet by an adversary who's unfamiliar to them but very familiar to Trek fans, the Borg. Only a few officers managed to escape the vessel's dissection, including Sulu, but his husband and daughter weren't so lucky. For the sake of Sulu and the other kidnapped Starfleet officers, Kirk decides to track down the new threat.
Back on New Vulcan, Spock and Uhura analyze the data Kirk sent them, digging up an old log from a Vulcan scout ship which disappeared near the edge of the Delta Quadrant (or Borg space, as Star Trek: Voyager fans are all-too familiar). The last audio fragment from their ship's record is a chilling message: “resistance is futile.” In light of the new information, they decide to take a little sabbatical from their sabbatical and borrow a Vulcan cruiser, heading for Captain Kirk's position near the Neutral Zone.
Captured By Robots
Tracking the ship to their last known coordinates, the crew of the Endeavor discover that the Borg are heading towards the temporal incursion where the Narada first changed everything from classic into alt-Trek. Before they can intercept the technological terrors, however, the sphere alters course, shooting straight for Romulus.
After aiding Federation colonists caught in the path of the sphere, Kirk and crew rendezvous with Spock and Uhura on the edge of Romulan space. With most of his bridge officers on-board, Kirk chances a war and sets course for Quirina VI to assist the Federation’s sworn enemies. While en route, Spock hypothesizes that the Borg are seeking out additional information about the Narada, which they call "the outlier," since the mining ship was modified using Borg technology.
It seems that Nero harnessed the robotic race’s time-shifting properties to construct his heavily-armed prospector ship and carry out his mission of vengeance against Spock and Vulcan. Detecting their own handiwork, the Borg sped across space via those handy trans-warp conduits to ascertain how the the time hopping craft was constructed. Of course, since the Nerada was from an alternate timeline and was destroyed shortly after creating the divergent continuity (ah, time travel), the Romulans aren't much help.
Heading planet-side, Kirk and company are overwhelmed by the Borg's adaptive technologies, and the hive-minded robots capture Spock.
Assimilation is Futile?
Barely escaping the fray on Quirina VI, Kirk and crew negotiate passage to Romulus (by surrendering the Enterprise) to retrieve Spock and the other assimilated crew members. Upon arriving, they discover a massive Romulan fleet has already engaged the sphere and is taking heavy casualties. However, the best laid plans of machine-like-men and women have already gone astray in one regard: Spock resists their assimilation techniques.
Something in his combined Vulcan-Human DNA or perhaps his logic training crossed with his suppressed emotions gives him the ability to not merely resist but actually break free from their invasive nanotechnology. Yes, you read that right: Spock is more bad ass than the Borg. As he escapes their control, Kirk puts his plan into action with a little officer exchange program of his own. Beaming the captives away, he also drops a load of armed photon torpedoes into the middle of the sphere, blowing it into computer chips.
Unfortunately, as with all good pieces of machinery, the Borg take a licking and keep on ticking. At least this time around, the Federation knows they're coming and has time to prepare for them, as well as forging new alliances to combat them.
Continuing his own exemplary Starfleet record with IDW, Mike Johnson’s successfully merges a classic Trek villain with the fresher, less-explored Kelvin timeline. In the hands of a lesser storyteller, bringing back the Borg might seem like too gimmicky. Fortunately, Johnson gives the rebooted crew the same blend of freshness and familiarity which makes their better films appealing in the first place. His blend of action and classic Star Trek science and chicanery – along with Tony Shasteen's vibrant colors and dynamic artwork the story – returns the chilling villains to their prime form.
Four issues in, the latest ongoing series, Star Trek Boldly Go, is off to a great start thanks to an intriguing plot, some iconic adversaries, and some likeable new characters. It will be “fascinating” to see what Johnson and Shasteen come up with next.
Star Trek Boldly Go #1-4 are currently available online and in print.