This week saw two endings and a beginning, all three of them involving my favourite franchises that start with “Star.”
IDW’s Star Trek: Year Five completed its audacious endeavour to not only write a coherent comic story, but purport to conclude the entire Original Series television show. It imagines that the final months of Kirk’s, Spock’s, McCoy’s and company’s mission to “explore strange new worlds; new civilizations” is taken up with a new, friendly young Tholian who ultimately serves as a bridge to the once-hostile species. It also heavily features a plot by none other than Gary Seven to mobilize Tholian technology to wreak galaxy-wide destruction, a plan that is thwarted by Kirk’s ingenious intervention through time travel. (We even get a 60s-era production design version of the Kelvin and George Kirk!)
All in all, I found that the authors brought the Enterprise’s Five Year Mission to a satisfying and heartfelt conclusion. Star Trek at its best uses these in-universe scenarios to ask the questions that inspire real-world humans to become more open, more inquisitive and genuinely curious about the world around us and especially of those who are different from us. The rotating team of authors succeeded in getting us to feel that openness, especially with Tholian Bright Eyes on the bridge.
Also concluding is Charles Soule’s War of the Bounty Hunters flagship comic. Soule makes good on his assertion that this comic is primarily a Boba Fett story. I found it amusing but believable that amongst all the competing interests vying for Solo-in-Carbonite, Fett ends up delivering his prize to Jabba after all. (He had to: it’s in the movies since 1983! But that could have felt rushed or implausible.)
But I do wonder if larger point of this merry-go-round was still to establish Qira as a major force (not Major Kira!) in the Empire. Or not just the Empire, but the Contingency, First Order and possibly Final Order? The announcements of the Crimson Reign and Hidden Empire comics hint at this, and the title Hidden Empire seems to be leaning into the tantalizing possibility that Qira has some part to play in the “Gallius Rax Side Hustle.” (Hidden Empire was revealed on the very last page of War of the Bounty Hunters #5, a reveal reminiscent of the Book of Boba Fett announcement.) I probably should’ve caught on when it was revealed that Ren would show up in Crimson Reign, but my Sequel-era speculating really got going when I saw more Knights of Ren in the literal picture near the end of War of the Bounty Hunters. Did Han Solo’s one-time high school sweetheart have a part in turning his son to the Dark Side? That connection is too tantalizing to ignore. Thanks Charles. Thanks so much.
Speaking of Luminaries: I was pleasantly surprised by Daniel Jose Older’s latest High Republic entry, Trail of Shadows. It picks up on what tragically befelled Master Loden Greatstorm at the end of Cavan Scott’s novel The Rising Storm. It was thrilling to see the final moments of Scott’s prose novel now taken up as the prologue of this comic, this visual medium. Force bless the Luminaries. The prologue and the whole plot premise of Trail of Shadows makes the comic feel far more significant and “tied-in” than I thought. I know: that increased story weight can be a conceit of those of us who love canon and Star Wars’ historical nature. But it also means is that we’re continuing the “main plot” of the High Republic story in an exciting short-run comic noir. That’s intriguing in itself and bodes well for further short-runs like Soule’s take on Marchion Ro’s origins.