Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: How Marvel Created a Forgotten Generation

For Star Trek fans, Starfleet Academy is a source of speculation and fantasy. Every Starfleet captain and crew member seems to have fond memories of their time at the academy. Jean-Luc Picard was a star academic during his time at the academy, James T. Kirk was a gifted troublemaker, and Kathryn Janeway spent her time diligently studying and hanging with her friend Mr. Boothby, the groundskeeper. While most Starfleet officers were shaped by their time in the academy, this influential place has never really appeared in live-action outside of a few scenes.

While Starfleet Academy has been explored through a few Star Trek novels, Marvel's short-lived 1996 comic book series, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, took audiences into the academy and explored a new generation of characters that have since gotten lost in the larger Star Trek universe.

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The Christian Cooper, Chris Renaud and John Royle series follows the Omega Squad, a group of elite young Starfleet cadets that consists of Matt Decker, an exceptionally athletic and intelligent cadet who is also the youngest son of Admiral Dennis Decker. The squad also includes Pava Ek'Noor sh'Aqabaa, an Andorian with fierce intelligence and even fiercer combat skills, and T'Priell, a strong-willed Vulcan who took it upon herself to complete the traditionally male-only Vulcan Kahs-wan ritual.

The series also stars Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Nog, the first Ferengi to be admitted into Starfleet, who starred in this series in between his tenures on the show. Edam Astrun is a male Betazoid, and he has the highest psi-q ever recorded on Betazed. Kamilah Goldstein is a human who grew up in a household where both Judaism and Islam were practiced alongside one another, and Kyethn Zund is a Trill woman who became fused with the Zund symbiont and still carries its ancient memories.

Over its 19-issue run, the series was fairly well-received for giving an in-depth look at Starfleet Academy and the training that goes into becoming a Starfleet officer. While the comic was still very much its own thing, it still crossed over with other parts of the Star Trek universe. The Omega Squad played in a critical Marvel comics crossover "The Telepathy Wars," where Edam Astrun's high psy-q is crucial in resolving the conflict.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is a coming-of-age science fiction story that feels part Star Trek with a hint of X-Men. Each cadet in Omega Squad has unique abilities, and their intergalactic and cultural backgrounds play into problem-solving. During Omega Squad's time at the academy, each character grapples with their backgrounds and how their identity can help or hinder their time at Starfleet.

For example, Nog overwhelming desire to fit in and be admired drives catastrophe for the Omega Squad and Starfleet Academy. Nog is the first Ferengi to be admitted into Starfleet Academy. The Ferengi people have a long history of disdain for Starfleet, due to an economic model of wealth accumulation that's based on owning private property. This has lead to endless disputes with Starfleet over property ownership. While Nog is in Starfleet Academy, he is forced to wrestle with that part of his identity and analyze his behaviors that are positive traits of a Ferengi but negative characteristics of a Starfleet officer. Each character throughout the series has moments of coming to a reckoning of individual identity and autonomy versus the collective need of Starfleet.

Along with Marvel's other Star Trek titles, Starfleet Academy was suddenly canceled, reportedly due to the costs in licensing the Trek franchise. While the final adventure of the Omega Squad ends on a cliffhanger, the team presumably went on to finish their Starfleet training and go on to serve on starships. While Nog eventually returned to Deep Space Nine and Pava became a security officer on the U.S.S. Titan in later Star Trek novels, the rest of the Omega Squad has been largely forgotten. Since this series' publication, a few more Star Trek stories have highlighted Starfleet Academy, this series still stands as one of the most in-depth looks at a major part of the Star Trek universe.


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