Art by Derek Charm
IDW, out now
Starfleet Academy: 2258: Cadet Nyota Uhura investigates a mysterious call for help; 2261: Cadet T’Laar is persuaded not to go back to New Vulcan, but to join in the Inter-Academy Exploratory Competition…
We’ve had some tales set during Kirk and crew’s time at Starfleet Academy in the Kelvinverse in book form (whatever did happen to the fifth one?) but this is the first time that we’ve had a story based around completely new characters. The story runs on parallel tracks for the first part of the book, with Uhura enlisting Chekov and Jim Kirk’s help to investigate what appears to be a cover-up by Starfleet, while T’Laar and her team go through various tests and start to bond. The second part sees T’Laar and co. out on their field test and encountering something that is tied back to the earliest days of the Academy itself…
Johnson and Parrott juggle both plotlines well: the future Enterprise crew are very much as we find them in the 2009 movie at this stage of their careers, and the Spock/Uhura romance and its ramifications are handled nicely – making the argument scene in Into Darkness between them feel even less credible! And there’s a spot-on cameo by someone else from that film which is neatly ambiguous given what we “later” learn. As for the new Academy crew – let’s have some more stories featuring them, as soon as possible. They’re a diverse bunch, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and leap off the page, thanks to deft characterization and Derek Charm’s artwork. There’s a third set of characters who turn up in the latter half – they have to be portrayed in broader strokes, but I do hope we’ll see their leader once more, particularly after his way of dealing with Vulcan technobabble!
Verdict: A great widening of the Kelvinverse cast. 8/10