With Star Trek: Pickard’s Academy, Trekkies can finally see Jean-Luc Picard’s formative years at Starfleet Academy.
Even if you’re not a Star Trek enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of Captain Jean Luc Picard, the commander of the Starship Enterprise NCC 1701 D on the acclaimed syndicated TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). The role of Picard was portrayed by British actor Patrick Stewart, who also played Professor Charles Xavier in multiple X-Men films. This year, Captain Picard’s popularity reached new heights, thanks to the triumph and widespread critical acclaim of the Star Trek TNG revival, Star Trek: Picard, which aired on Paramount Plus. I’d wager that the success of this series was a significant factor in getting the comic book series, Star Trek: Picard’s Academy, approved in the first place.
Many devoted Star Trek fans have long heard whispers about a potential Star Trek Academy series. The earliest memory I have of on-screen cadets was in the beloved film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (widely considered the franchise’s greatest installment). Subsequently, we saw the academy referenced more frequently throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation. Notably, in the season 6 episode “Tapestry,” we were even shown a flashback to Captain Picard’s days at Starfleet Academy.
Part Young Adult drama, part portrait of a legend, Star Trek: Pickard’s Academy delivers.
It’s interesting to note that Star Trek: Picard’s Academy focuses on Captain Picard’s time as a 20-year-old cadet. In this debut issue, readers witness his determination to become the person he is known to be while attending classes. The artwork by Ornella Greco and the color scheme by Charlie Kirchoff have a more animated style compared to typical Star Trek comics, such as the recent Day of Blood. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the art and color reflect a lighter, carefree time in Picard’s life when he realized he had a bright future ahead, despite coming off as a bit of a know-it-all.
In this issue, we meet new characters such as Reshan Dar, Nirula, K’Ccyt, and Doqtis Ilum who fit into familiar roles like a bully, science geek, and party animal. However, the story still manages to feel new and exciting. Additionally, there are appearances by lesser-known characters from Star Trek television shows like Professor Galen, Boothby, and Marta Batanides, who also appeared in the “Tapestry” episode of TNG. Writer Sam Maggs deserves credit for including a surprise cameo from what is probably the most famous Star Trek character of all time. Overall, this issue provides a refreshing look into the challenges that shaped Jean Luc Picard into the renowned Captain of the USS Enterprise that we all know and love.
Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #1 from IDW Publishing is available now.