I follow a group on Facebook called Star Trek COMICS: Across Generations and recently, group member Tim Moen asked: “Was Marvel’s Star Trek: Starfleet Academy any good?” I immediately answered, that Starfleet Academy was one of the better comic series from Marvel’s second run. Of course, his question opened the floodgates and the comments began to roll in; including Starfleet Academy‘s creator and writer, Chris Cooper. So, I thought, let’s look back and we’ll see why it was so good, at least, to me.
Star Trek Starfleet Academy: Prime Directives ‘Fantastic #1 Issue’
Published by: Marvel and Paramount Comics
Written by: Chris Cooper
Art by: (Pencils) Chris Renaud, (Inks) Andy Lanning (Colors) Kevin Somers
Lettered by: Jim Novak
Cover by: Chris Renaud and Andy Lanning
Edited by: Bobbie Chase
OVERVIEW: This series’s first-of-three-part kick off issue (it had a 19-issue run) gives readers a chance to see the life of a Starfleet cadet through the eyes of its star, Deep Space Nine‘s Nog. The first Ferengi to be accepted at Starfleet Academy, Nog tries to fit in and keep up with his team, while acclimating to the rigors of student life. However, everything isn’t what it seems, as secrets are harbored and betrayal is just around the corner of any given corridor.
THE STORY: Chris Cooper did a fantastic job of getting the ball rolling and he kept me reading. There’s a lot of story here, as characters are introduced, the plotline is set up and Nog has to deal with a whole new life, beyond the reach of his family and friends on DS9. Letterer Jim Novak had a great deal of material to work with and he moves the story smoothly from panel to panel. I especially liked the new characters Chris created, as they represent the diversity we would expect, plus – they’re well thought out and complex, making them interesting.
Also, Chris threw in loads of guest stars (that are both familiar to the academy and to past episodes), as well as using references to some of Starfleet’s elite families. But, first, and foremost, we see what it’s like to be at Starfleet Academy, which was the intent of this first ever comic book series. There’s good action and adventure, lots of good humor and rivalry, and plenty of training and stress associated with academy life. It was great seeing Nog in the starring role, here, having come a long way from the troublemaker who couldn’t read when we first met him.
THE ART: Wow! It’s obvious that the artists and writer were on the same page, as they succeeded in every way. The colors and details are plentiful, as they keep readers engrossed in the story being told. The likenesses of Nog (and other familiar characters) are quite good, while those of the new recruits are consistent throughout, as well. I was equally impressed with the exteriors, landscapes and interiors of the academy, itself; also – with the use of its various guest aliens and holodeck training scenarios. The Gorn are awesome! It’s plain to see, though, that a lot of thought, creativity and care went into making this series a success. My hat’s off to all of the art team, as they outdid themselves, giving Chris Cooper’s excellent story a solid sendoff.
THE COVER: While I wasn’t awed by the cover to Starfleet Academy‘s first issue, it wasn’t bad, either. It shows Nog and his team in-action, against a white background, along with a spiraling red grid surrounding the them. I hung it on my wall, though, because of its uniqueness as being the first issue of this series. My personal favorite was the cover for Deep Space Nine‘s inaugural issue; of course, DS9 has always been my favorite TV series, and Sisko looked badass, on his cover.
OVERALL: This was an impressive first issue, as it hit all the right marks. The story is terrific, the cliffhanger-ending begs you to continue and, man – the art is fantastic! Kudos, guys! If you haven’t read this awesome series, go find it and get ready to be awed. Now, I remember why Starfleet Academy was one of Marvel/Paramounts better runs…
‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone