The Best Current Star Trek Series Isn’t On Your TV

By Michileen Martin | Updated

Along with the coming of Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and the disappointing cancellation of Star Trek: Lower Decks, there are a lot of questionable decisions that are being made behind the scenes about the sci-fi franchise these days. But regardless of where the films or TV series go, you can rest assured that right now, the best Star Trek series isn’t found on the screen, but in IDW’s comics. Among the best of what the company has to offer there’s the flagship title Star Trek and its spinoff Star Trek: Defiant.

Star Trek

star trek comics

Premiering in 2022, IDW’s Star Trek comics are written by the duo of Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzig with a rotating art team. The comic sees the return of Captain Ben Sisko of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to the material world at the behest of the Prophets who task him with finding and stopping a villain who is hunting down all the more godlike beings of the galaxy (e.g., the Prophets, Q, the Crystalline Entities).

Starfleet gives Sisko command of the USS Theseus, an experimental new ship with a very unique crew.

Spinning out of the flagship title are the Star Trek: Defiant comics, written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Angel Unzueta. Worf captains another both unique and familiar crew, acting as an officially unofficial clandestine arm of Starfleet.

Crews From Every Corner Of Trek

star trek comics

IDW’s Star Trek comics are unique–even among Trek comic adaptations–because while they may not officially be considered canonical, they nevertheless work within the canon and at the same time deliver stories that would be almost impossible in most mediums.

The crew of the Theseus in the Star Trek comics, for example, are pulled from almost every corner of the franchise.

Set between the events of 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection and 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, the Theseus heroes nevertheless include characters from Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: The Original Series, and even Lower Decks.

Data (still alive before the events of Nemesis) and Beverly Crusher are borrowed from TNG, Tom Paris of Voyager is the Theseus helmsman, and Montgomery Scott–possible because of his trip to the 24th century in the TNG episode “Relics”–is the chief engineer.

For a time, the fierce Shaxs of Lower Decks is a part of the crew, and even the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise gets a nod with the inclusion of Lily Sato–a half human, half Andorian descendant of Enterprise‘s Hoshi Sato.

And it all makes sense. Every single one of those characters is alive and–thanks to the Voyager finale–in the Alpha Quadrant during that time.

But unfortunately with all of the actors who portrayed these characters either much older or no longer with us, this isn’t a story you could tell in a live-action film or TV show without recasting, widespread digital de-aging and/or grotesque CGI puppetry.


worf spock

The Star Trek: Defiant comics have a similar crew, and like the one from the flagship title, they all make sense. Thanks to Vulcan longevity, Spock is a member of Worf’s crew, as is the Bajoran Ro, and B’Elanna Torres of Voyager. Other Trek characters working briefly for Worf include Data’s evil twin Lore, the reformed Borg Hugh, and even Tasha Yar’s half-Romulan daughter Sela.

Other Old… Friends?

star trek comics

The specific time IDW’s Star Trek comics are set in also allow for guest appearances from other characters in the franchise, without making their arrivals feel like pure fan service. Examples include Admiral Janeway of Voyager, Admiral Jellico (possibly the single most hated Enterprise captain ever), and Commander Liam Shaw of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 fame.

Giving What The Series Couldn’t Or Wouldn’t

Another gift of IDW’s Star Trek comics is that they offer the chance to show things the series couldn’t or wouldn’t show.

For example, one of the most pivotal episodes of Deep Space Nine is the Season 3 finale “The Adversary,” in which a Changeling infiltrates the crew of the Defiant and tries to use the ship to reignite war between the Federation and the Tzenkethi.

But one of the most frustrating aspects of the story is that while it tells us there was previously a destructive conflict with the Tzenekethi, we never see them or even really learn much about them other than the fact that they once fought the Federation.

“Glass and Bone,” one of the most recent Star Trek comic arcs, fixes that for us. Spoilers–the Tzenkethi are giant lizard people.

Likewise, one of the most blatantly dangling plotlines of TNG is the utter disappearance of the gross bug creatures of “Conspiracy”–the Season 1 finale which strongly hinted at their eventual return. Since they never made it back in the show, the Star Trek: Defiant comics bring them back in its most recent arc, “Hell Is Only a Word.”