Published Feb 11, 2020
Be Our Valentine: Romance in Star Trek Comics
Love is in the air in these five comics.
Valentine’s Day is this Friday. In celebration, we’re spending the week celebrating love in all the forms it takes throughout the quadrants. L(ove)LAP ?
February means Valentine’s Day, so expect lots of stories about love and romance old and new. That includes the realm of comics. IDW Publishing, current purveyor of Star Trek adventures in comic form, is treating three of its various titles to special one-issue stories they’ve dubbed “Valentine’s Day Specials.” One of those titles is, of course, Star Trek.
Many if not most fans know Captain James T. Kirk has a reputation as a “ladies’ man.” To be fair, some of his exploits have been exaggerated thanks to decades of parodies and stand-up comics. In truth, the good captain had far fewer romantic flings over the course of the original Star Trek series than the stories and jokes would have us believe. On the other hand, he did have a few relationships which went much deeper than casual dalliances. Edith Keeler (“The City on the Edge of Forever”), Miramanee (“The Paradise Syndrome”), and Carol Marcus (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) are three prominent examples.
IDW’s Star Trek Valentine’s Day special story brings us another such relationship. Written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by artist Christopher Jones, “Captains of Sea and War” introduces Kirk to Laura Rhone, a starship captain with a reputation for command excellence that all but equals his own. The two click almost immediately, but is this true love? Can Kirk and Rhone, two officers both committed to their ships, crews, and duty, find room for happiness with one another? In addition to a more conventional cover provided by Christopher Jones, this issue also features a fun “Valentine’s Day” theme cover by artist Derek Charm and resembles one of those cute Valentines we all handed out to our classmates in elementary school.
This isn’t the first time a Star Trek comics tale has focused on such themes. Here are just a few examples where one of our favorite characters managed to find a bit of romance in between their various adventures:
“Retrospect” - DC Comics Annual, written by Peter David with art by Curt Swan and Ricardo Villagran, August 1988.
While it’s usually Captain Kirk who seems to get all the romantic action, this special story highlights the Enterprise’s chief engineer, Montgomery Scott, and reveals a previously unknown part of his personal life: He was married! In this story we learn his wife, Glynnis Campbell, has recently died. Through flashbacks, we learn that while their marriage was relatively short – less than five years – their love for one another traces back to their days as teenagers living on Earth.
“So Near the Touch”- DC Comics Annual, written by George Takei and Peter David with art by Gray Morrow, Arne Starr, and Tom McGraw, January 1990.
Mr. Sulu himself collaborated with venerable comics veteran Peter David for this tale which brings the Enterprise to a plague-stricken colony world. There, Sulu is reunited with a lover from his past, Corazon Kohwangko. It was love at first sight when they met years earlier, and all that time apart has not quelled the feelings between them. Of course, all of this is happening as the colony threatens to descend into chaos. Things only worsen when Kohwangko and her medical team are taken hostage by a religious fanatic and his followers, and Captain Kirk relieves Sulu of duty when his emotions hamper his ability to carry out his duty. It should come as no surprise that Sulu disobeys orders and launches an unsanctioned rescue mission. What could possibly go wrong?
“Blaise of Glory” – DC Comics Special Issue, written by Peter David with art by Rod Whigham and Arne Starr, Spring 1994.
Introduced early in DC’s second run of monthly Star Trek comics, R.J. Blaise was a Federation protocol officer assigned to keep an eye on Captain Kirk after a diplomatic mission he oversaw went awry. Each as headstrong as the other, the two eventually develop a mutual attraction for one another. The relationship simmers for several issues before coming to a head in this story that marks Blaise’s final appearance in the comics.
Star Trek: Discovery Annual – written by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson with art by Angel Hernandez, April 2018.
How did Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber meet before fate saw them both posted to Starfleet’s most advanced and highly classified starship? The answer comes to us thanks to Star Trek comics ace Mike Johnson and Star Trek: Discovery series writer Kirsten Beyer. The meeting between future lovers and partners is contrasted with Stamets’ first work with mycelial spores — the heart of what would become Discovery’s revolutionary and highly experimental spore drive. But it’s the personal journey of Stamets and Culber that takes center stage in this tale, adding layers and depth to two of the series’ most popular characters and an enduring love for the ages.
“The First Year” – Star Trek: Waypoint Special, written by Thom Zahler with art by Andy Price and Mark Roberts, April 2019.
Not a romance story in and of itself, this tale focuses on Ezri Dax as she helps Worf through a somber observance: the first anniversary of the death of Jadzia, his wife and Ezri’s predecessor host for the Dax symbiont. Knowing Worf is reminded of Jadzia every time he sees her, Ezri shows him how to move on while never having to forget the love he lost.
Dayton Ward (he/him) is a New York Times bestselling author or co-author of numerous novels and short stories, including a whole bunch of stuff set in the Star Trek universe, and often working with friend and co-writer Kevin Dilmore. As he’s still a big ol' geek at heart, Dayton is known to wax nostalgic about all manner of Star Trek topics over on his own blog, The Fog of Ward.