Valentine's Day is nearly upon us, but before you dash out the door to pick out that mushy greeting card you almost forgot, take a trip into another galaxy with Captain James T. Kirk and one of his paramours in IDW's Star Trek: Year Five Valentine's Day Special.
Streaking out of IDW's ongoing Star Trek: Year Five series, which chronicles the last year of the Enterprise’s five-year mission from Star Trek: The Original Series, this lovelorn holiday one-shot is penned by novelist and screenwriter Paul Cornell (Wolverine, Doctor Who), then matched with art by Christopher Jones (Young Justice, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes) and colors via Charlie Kirchoff (Star Trek/Planet of the Apes).
The Cupid-kissed plotline centers on Kirk's intergalactic reputation as a smooth operator around the ladies, and he's certainly had his share of love interests over the course of his stellar odysseys. Here he's hit with the chubby cherub's magic arrow when he meets Laura Rhone, a young Starfleet Captain of the USS Drake with a stormy romantic heart to compete with Kirk’s. Has he finally met his match or will this encounter take Captain Kirk where he's never gone before?
"Every now and then Star Trek: The Original Series would give one of the major cast a love interest of the week, often, given the overriding importance of duty to the Enterprise crew, in a way which set up romance in dramatic conflict with their regular lives and careers," Cornell tells SYFY WIRE.
"This one-shot, Captains of Sea and War, flirts with the opposite idea — that this time, because the romance is with a fellow Starfleet Captain, and because we’re approaching the end of the Five-Year Mission, Kirk could have this. But will he let himself? The romance plays out across Kirk’s whole history in Star Trek, into the continuity of the movies."
Though pop culture often brands Kirk as the ultimate ladies' man for all his romantic entanglements across the cosmos, Cornell disagrees and sees him in a more respectful light.
"In The Original Series, there are only a handful of references, very few when he has a choice or is in control of himself," he explains. "It’s mostly in the past, because these days he’s all about duty. The City on the Edge of Forever is the tragic epic, of course, so that’s got a great archetypal appeal for me. Also, I love Kirk’s advice to Charlie X, which indicates how good a man he is.”
Cornell is referencing the TOS: Season One episode, Charlie X, when Kirk offers young Charlie thoughts on dealing with women and advises, "You go slow, be gentle. It's no one-way street -- you know how you feel and that's all. It's how the girl feels too. Don't press. If the girl feels anything for you at all, you'll know."
As for exactly what sort of sparks readers can prepare for with this touching Valentine's Day issue spanning space and time, Cornell is eager to offer up a few hints.
"Fun, adventure, a romance of equals, conflict, tension, and hopefully tears!" he says. "And of course, our amazing art team, who make the genuine look of TOS rock as proper living comic book pages!"
Beam into our exclusive preview for IDW's Star Trek: Year Five Valentine's Day Special in the gallery below, with a variant cover by Derek Charm. The issue hits stores on Feb. 12.