Publisher: IDW
Written by Ryan North
Art by Chris Fenoglio
Letters by Johanna Nattalie & Jake Wood

As a someone once wrote in the name of an episode title All good things… apparently must come to an end. Sadly this includes Star Trek Lower Decks the comic. This three issue mini series has been an absolute blast and has very much tickled my nostalgic Star Trek funny bone. Much as the actual series does. IDW if you’re listening do put out more of this. Whilst I love getting a miniseries of this quality and have had a great time I’d love to be able to have more. I mean the ending gives plenty of potential.

The big question is does this final issue both live up expectations and end satisfyingly? It does indeed! It’s also crammed full of the usual references to all things Trek, plenty of humour, actual illusions to science and Boimler in a cape. There’s also action, space battles and computer hacking sentient holograms. Phew.

When we last left our heroes Dracula had just gained slightly evil sentience and a taste for real blood whilst Captain Freeman, Shax and Doctor T’Ana had been captured by the advanced civilisation they had originally meant to make second contact with. The two plot threads have been fairly unrelated up until this point but that changes in this final issue as they collide in a somewhat unexpected way.

Dracula remains an excellent creation. Here we see him literally develop himself in his pursuit of capturing the crew for their blood. His program programming himself with hacking skills was a great choice. Programs programming programs is such a great holographic theme and a fun tongue twister to boot. He’s not a one dimensional villain either, if a villain at all. Boimler is convinced that Dracula can be rehabilitated and Rutherford and Tendi enthusiastically agree. Only Mariner is the hold out but it fits as she does have that cynical streak.

The characterisation of all the crew is perfect. From the lower deckers trying to find out a solution to the Qvanti shields (Rutherford nailing a wheel analogy) to Ransom perpetually frustrated by Freeman’s insistence on diplomacy to the Qvanti threat. There’s a really good balance of the bridge crew and the lower decks, again reflecting the balance we get in the show.

As usual the art also does a good job of making the comic feel like the show. At times we see characters flung about as the Cerritos is under attack and you can feel them hitting ceilings and the floor. The facial expressions are as they have been for the last two issues absolutely true to the depictions in the animation. It’s not an easy feat but the consistency is there. It might seem simple to convert animation to a comic but it’s done really well here.

One of my favourite bits of the art is when our heroes are on the outside of the Cerritos. If you look closely you can make out the capes of Boimler and Dracula. Properly drawn in detail, not just a random mark to give the illusion of capes oh no. Actual tiny drawn capes. How can you not appreciate that? Set against intimidating alien vessels in space it’s a great page.

I also really love the interface Dracula has created. If you want to evoke reminders of that classic Barclay’s IQ grows exponentially and he interfaces with the computer episode ‘The Nth Degree’ that’s how you do it, the colours, the design it’s just right. Giving us visual references like that tickle the nostalgia bone so well. I also appreciated the same thought when it came to the tribunal Captain Freeman, Shax and T’Ana were subject too. Nothing quite evokes a Star Trek VI film feeling than a spotlight and a judge on a high podium.

There are some really fun solutions where the art and writing come together perfectly. Dracula wants freedom from the holodeck? Just use a holodeck emitter strapped to a battery! Why didn’t they think of that on Voyager? The design reminded on an Exocomp but still unique and bulky enough to fit with the comedy.

This issue feels longer than it is because every page matters. The pacing is spot on. There’s nothing wasted. Every panel advances things along in some way. If only to add excellent facial expressions to Dracula. I felt so satisfied after reading it. I’ve re-read it since and it’s still satisfying. I didn’t feel like I’d just read a single issue. I partly felt like I’d watched a really good episode of Lower Decks so that’s also a bonus.

I don’t want to get into too many spoilers because part of the fun is seeing all this unfold. Some of my favourite bits include Rutherford calling his arm his nacelle (this issue has my favourite Rutherford characterisation so far), Boimler and his cape and Mariner going through some trust issues with Dracula.

Honestly I’ve loved this miniseries and this last issue is probably my favourite. If you are a Lower Decks fan you’ll very much enjoy the comic version. If not and you enjoy this you’ll enjoy the show. If you don’t enjoy either well I can’t help you with that. This was so good and the extra material at the back just elevates things even further.

I really hope these voyages continue. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to try and create a sentient hologram of Bram Stoker.

Love long and prosper.

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