Star Trek: The Last Generation in Review
Not to be confused with Star Trek: Picard’s series finale, this five-issue comics mini-series is part of the anthology series Star Trek: Myriad Universes (all other installments of which were novels). Myriad Universes was inspired by the multiple parallel universes which Worf encounters in the TNG episode “Parallels”. This unique comic story is set in an alternate timeline depicted nowhere else.
The Various Issues
As a fan of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, I was eager to read the opening scene, where Kirk fails to prevent the Federation President’s assassination. It’s a thrilling start and quickly shows that this is an alternate timeline. The next scene, with fighting on Earth seven decades later, is also exciting but I must admit it baffled me. In Wesley Crusher’s first panel, he looks strikingly like Mirror Bashir. It’s particularly confusing when Picard plans to speak with an unnamed female, a highly inventive way to introduce Guinan into the plot, but making her Picard’s lover is somewhat icky. The Excelsior makes an eye-opening appearance but it’s odd that Riker doesn’t already know Data. The sudden killing of Jean-Luc Picard’s brother, Robert, shocked me. Seeing Captain Braxton at the Federation President’s assassination left me as flabbergasted as a time traveler stumbling into the wrong era.
In the second issue, I admire how Data meets The Doctor, who tells him that the fact he isn’t Human cannot be cured, and how Data echoes this line at the end of issue 2, regarding Robin Lefler’s injuries. I like how there’s also mirrored dialogue between La Forge remarking, “Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?” about the view of Earth from its moon, Luna, and Lefler later asking Wesley Crusher the same thing about the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s fantastic how the second issue parallels Star Trek: First Contact, with not only The Doctor’s cameo but also Riker recalling Luna’s cities, Picard advocating timeline correction, and part of Data’s face being removed.
Initially, I dreaded some syrupy-sweet romance material between Lefler and Wesley, when Robin is briefly mentioned in the first issue. However, this is dealt with deftly in the second issue, as Lefler is quickly killed off, motivating Wesley to oppose Picard’s plan to reset the timeline. Such objections, expressed in the second and third issues, are realistic, since a lot of these characters are having to overcome a lifetime of prejudice against the Klingons and resetting the timeline would wipe out their very existence.
Issue 3 has some similarities to Star Trek: Picard, including romance between two main characters, Ro Laren sacrificing herself for Picard’s group, and lastly Wesley becoming a mentor. The romantic relationship between Tasha Yar and Ro Laren brilliantly adds to the inclusivity that’s always an important ingredient in Trek. Also, Ro’s self-sacrifice is admirable and I felt sorry for Wes when he becomes René’s mentor.
Since most of TNG’s “Parallels” involves Worf visiting a parallel universe in which he is in a happy marrital romance with Deanna Troi, it’s fitting that issue 4 features her as his lover. Having her double-cross him was both surprising and clichéd. Her subsequent death is reminiscent of an alternate timeline in the TNG series finale “All Good Things…”. Guinan has an excellent speech, about time’s inevitability, before issue 4 concludes.
I love how, while the Excelsior is attempting to make a slingshot time warp in issue 5, even the frames look juddery. A brilliantly conceived dilemma is presented to Picard in the fifth issue — either doom the galaxy or the Federation. The twist that Data was created to study the timeline surprises but lacks logic, since there’s no reason for his designer (presumably Noonian Soong, as in the Prime Timeline) to have known much about temporal mechanics. Picard saying that the future is “a combination of our hopes and our dreams” ties into the optimistic future for which Star Trek is known. The fact that he doesn’t ultimately reset the timeline makes a nonsense of the tale and it has a super-cheesy conclusion.
Amidst the conflict between the Klingons and the rebellion, it makes sense for Worf to lead the Klingons, complete with a Chang-like eyepatch. It’s also interesting that Captain Garrett, known for commanding the Enterprise-C in the Prime Timeline, serves aboard the Excelsior and that Tuvok, an ensign on the Excelsior in the Prime Timeline, is an ambassador aboard the ship.
I appreciate that this comic features characters from various Star Trek productions, like a Founder (possibly Odo) and Drex from DS9 and Tuvok, The Doctor, Annika Hansen/Seven of Nine and Captain Braxton from Voyager. It also references the “Sisko cell” of the resistance and Admirals Paris and Ross as casualties. I’m impressed that the comic even includes characters from Star Trek novels. For instance, Elias Vaughn is mentioned and an officer aboard the Excelsior, Hiromi, was originally introduced in Jeri Taylor’s Voyager novel Pathways as Sulu’s grandson and Demora Sulu’s son.
More effort should have been made to distinguish the main timeline in this comic from the Mirror Universe. Both settings thrill by depicting characters we know and love in completely different scenarios than we’re used to. Since this particular timeline has never been portrayed before and therefore doesn’t have a continuity to adhere to, it’s extra unpredictable. Unfortunately, the comic underutilises this freedom. So much of it feels like a DS9 Mirror Universe episode.
On the other hand, it’s fun to see the TNG characters in an alternate timeline much like the Mirror Universe, particularly since the MU wasn’t included in the TNG TV series, and the focus on time travel towards the end of the story makes it feel fresh despite the subsequent crass ending. Each issue delivers abundant storytelling and, though inaccessible to the extreme, this comic does feature wonderfully colourful art and generally good character likenesses. Ultimately, its experimental exploration of an odd parallel universe is enough to warrant the comic’s existence in the timestream.
Webmaster of WarpFactorTrek, Dan is an avid Star Trek fan who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dan has loved Star Trek ever since discovering it in his childhood. He worked as an administrator, for six years, on the encyclopedic Star Trek website Memory Alpha, which involved studying the making of the various series and films. He has been mentioned in the official Star Trek Magazine, has qualified from a Star Trek course taught at Glasgow Clyde College, and coordinated the SubSpace Chatter (formerly The Scotch Trekker) YouTube channel, which regularly featured live interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek.