Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Comic Shines New Light On Classic Alien Races

Star Trek: Alien Spotlight, published by IDW, shines new light on classic alien races from around the Star Trek universe. A series of one-shots with rotating creative teams including John Byrne, Sean Murphy, Elena Casagrande and Scott and David Tipton, these stories offer new insights not only into familiar races, such as the Vulcans and the Borg, but also on races that appear less frequently, such as the Gorn or the Andorians.

The Star Trek universe is populated with a diverse array of alien races, many of them members of the United Federation of Planets. Some of these races, such as the Vulcans, have had considerable screen time and development; fans have been privileged to watch a culture constructed from the ground up. Other species, such as the Andorians or the Orions, have not had the same level of development, but are still fan favorites. The stories in Alien Spotlight balance these two groups together well, offering readers fresh perspectives on all.

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No one story best represents this than the issue focusing on the Gorn. A reptilian species seen only twice in live-action: a single episode of the classic Star Trek, and a cameo on Star Trek: Enterprise. Despite this, the races’ unique look made them fan favorites, but due to budgetary reasons having them appear frequently is not feasible. Depicted in their first appearance as a savage, brutish species on par with the Klingons, their Spotlight issue indeed depicts them as warlike, but also possessing a code of ethics: they recognize Kirk saved their captain once, so they offer to help a stranded away team. There is a misunderstanding, and an accidental death of a Starfleet officer, but at the end of the day, reason and understanding win out - classic Star Trek. The green Orion women receive a similar treatment, showing them as having their own code as well.

While the canoncity of these stories is open for debate, it is worth noting that a more subtle, nuanced take on the Orion presages their development in the most recent installments of the Trek franchise. Star Trek: Picard also added layers to the Romulans, another race featured in Spotlight. That is not to say these stories are pure fan service, as each of them explores not only the alien race in question, but also how that race interacts with the Federation - how do members internalize Federation values, and how do the Federation’s enemies perceive them? These stories add to the rich tapestry of the Star Trek universe.

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