Star Trek Waypoint #1 Review

Pt 1: Puzzles: A "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

Story Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: Mack Chater

Release Date: Wed 9/28/2016

Reviewed by Roger An 9/30/2016


Ever since Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air, on May 23, 1994, I've had a wormhole in my chest. TNG remains my favorite show ever, and although there have been 4 films, and countless comic books, novels, & video games showcasing our favorite characters, very few capture the dynamicsm of the show's best episodes.

I take special note when a STNG comic has a sharp plot, presents an intriguing new premise, and captures the essence of these beloved characters.  This week's Star Trek: Waypoint #1, a new anthology comic book series, has an excellent story featuring an older Geordi Laforge as Captain of the Enterprise, crewed by a ship full of Datas!

Recent graphic novels that take place post-Star Trek Nemesis, have introduced intriguing ideas, such as "Star Trek Countdown" which shows what was happening in the Prime universe right before the 2009 film reboot.  What I liked best about Countdown, was their choice to feature Data as a competent Captain of the Enterprise.

In Waypoint, this is the first time we've seen Geordi sitting in the captain's chair of the Federation flagship.  Geordi was once presented as Captain of the U.S.S. Challenger in an alternate timeline for the Voyager series finale: Endgame, so this is a nice evolution of his character.

The other fascinating idea presented in this issue was the concept of Data uploading his consciousness to the Enterprise, and projecting holograms of himself to crew the ship.

I think this is all the info you need, to decide whether you want to purchase and read this issue.  From this point onwards, I am going to talk about plot-points that may be spoilers, so don't read below the SPOILER SPACE graphic, if you don't want to ruin any surprises!

Our issue opens on Geordi's Enterprise encountering a mysterious cube of unknown origins.  They soon find out that the cube is broadcasting the Prime Directive, and is in fact a Starfleet timeship from the distant future that has been marooned in the past, and forbidden to interact with 23rd Century 'primitives.'  (I find it delightfully ironic, that future Federation timeships are giant Borg-like cubes.)

So the conflict, is a familiar one: The future timeship must follow the Prime Directive, and not alter the timeline by interacting with the 23rd Century.  It's an interesting plot premise to flip the Prime Directive backwards upon the Enterprise crew.  It's also very fascinating to see the logistics of how Data manages operations of the Enterprise.  I'm not sure if we're seeing the Enterprise-E or a future iteration.

The narration says that multiple holographic Datas comprise of Captain Geordi's entire bridge crew.  It does hint that there may be other crew-members.  I almost wish the issue showed some of the other crew members in the background, but this really is Data & Geordi's story.  The Captain of future timeship Sakurazaka is a Computer AI, which Data refers to as 'magnificent.'

I wikipedia'd Sakurazaka, and one entry comes up saying it's a song by Japanese entertainer Masaharu Fukuyama meaning "Cherry Blossom Hill."  [*See updated clarification below on that guess]  The visual of Data interfacing with the Sakurazaka's Captain brings us to an infinite white room with some gridded plus signs that evoke the holodeck's structure.  Data has an old argument with the Sakurazaka's captain about preserving the lives of the timeship's crew versus following the Prime Directive.  (Harkening back to Spock's sacrifice in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan)

Apparently future timeship AI captains aren't as sentimental as Data.  The Sakurazaka captain initiates the self-destruct sequence on the timeship, and Data volunteers to sacrifice himself to save the Sakurazaka's crew. Captain Geordi is taken before the Federation High Council to testify on the incident. We see an Admiral Picard on the judiciary committee, who gives his former Chief Engineer a bit of a hard time on his police report.

Regardless, it's good to see Geordi not get reprimanded too hard for rescuing two hundred time-displaced starfleet engineers.  Admiral Picard asks what can be done with them, and it's a sweet ending to see Geordi put them to work at re-assembling Data from spare parts, and presumably Data's most recent backup files.

I give this issue an A+ for this story. There's a second sequence with Uhuru, that I will review on a later time. But this issue is worth purchasing for the Geordi/Data story alone.  It's short and sweet.  It nails the characterizations while placing our heroes in an interesting scenario.  I would like to see more stories with Captain Geordi and First Officer Data.

Definitely worth a purchase and a read!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

9/30/2016 Clarification:  The writer of this story, Donny Cates actually just tweeted back to me, about this article, and clarified that the ship was named after Hiroshi Sakurazaka, a Japanese scifi author, whose novel All You Need Is Kill, was adapted into the Tom Cruise movie: Edge of Tomorrow.  Follow Donny Cates on Twitter @DonnyCates

Over the next few weeks, I will also be reviewing the graphic novels Star Trek Countdown, and Star Trek Hive.  I cite them both as two great examples of new comics with great plots and art set in the STNG universe.  Please click through these Amazon referral links below to purchase them if you'd like to support this site.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Hive
By Brannon Braga, Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett
Star Trek: Waypoint #1
By Donny Cates, Sandra Lanz
Star Trek: Countdown
By J. J. Abrams, Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Tim Jones, Mike Johnson