23rd Mar2020

‘Star Trek Discovery: Aftermath’ Graphic Novel Review

by Phil Wheat

Written by Kristen Beyer, Mike Johnson | Art by Tony Shasteen, Angel Hernandez | Published by IDW Publishing | Format: Paperback, 96pp


Set after the disappearance of the U.S.S. Discovery (at the end of season 2 of the show), Aftermath sees Captain Pike and Chancellor L’Rell seek to forge a new peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingons. But when a new enemy threatens to sabotage the negotiations, Spock must reclaim his place in Starfleet to save his friends and prevent the outbreak of a new war! Star Trek Discovery: Aftermath also includes an old-school “back-up story”, Captain Saru, featuring Saru taking command of the Discovery after they receive a distress call from someone from Tilly’s past. It’s up to Commander Saru to lead the crew against a sinister alien threat – all the while on his first mission as acting Captain of the U.S.S. Discovery.

This latest graphic novel collection from IDW Publishing truly is a book of two halves – two distinctly different stories, with two distinct artwork styles. Only problem is, one half has a great story with poor art; and the other has great art and a lesser story!

Aftermath, the story that gives this book its title – originally a 3-issue mini series – is penned by Kristen Beyer and Mike Johnson. The former having pened a number of Star Trek novels and the latter having the distinction of scripting more Star Trek comics than any other writer. Ever. So expectations are high… and yes, in terms of story those expectations are met. Aftermath is very much a “Trek” tale, a mix of action, intrigue and politics and continues the tale told in the show itself, making it perfect filler while audiences wait for the series to return. However, Aftermath has one major problem. The artwork.

Artist Tony Shasteen can draw space, spaceships etc. along with the best of them, but people? That’s another story. All the characters just look “off”, in particular the Klingons, Pike and Number One. It wouldn’t be that much of an issue if it didn’t pull you out of the story everytime. However Shasteen’s Spock, for the most part, looks OK. Until he shaves off the beard – it literally looks like a completely different person: which can be the case when someone in real life loses the beard but here, here, Spock looks TOTALLY different, Different facial shape, different eyes. Different everything. It’s a shame that such a solid Trek story is let down by less than solid art.

On the flipside the back-up story, Captain Saru, looks superb – Angel Hernandez’s art really capturing the look of the show, from the characters to the ship itself. However this time round the story let’s this tale down. It’s just too generic, it feels like a filler episode of a series when the producers want to save money for the big FX-heavy episodes on the way. And in terms of character development it’s nothing that the show didn’t cover for itself, and in a much better manner.

A mixed bag, Star Trek Discovery: Aftermath truly is for hardened fans of the show who would look past the shortcomings of this book and just enjoy its connection to the show. The graphic novel is set for release on April 7th 2020, courtesy of IDW Publishing.


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