Jean-Luc Picard is back, and he’s got a new starship and a new first officer. The debut of the new TV series Star Trek: Picard might still be two months away, but the official prequel comic book miniseries, Star Trek: Picard – Countdown has arrived, and it’s already revealed the backstory of Picard’s new Number One. Plus, what’s Geordi doing?
Spoilers ahead for IDW’s Star Trek: Picard – Countdown #1.
Serving as a prequel to the new Trek series taking place in 2399, the events of this miniseries happen in both 2386 and 2385. In 2386, it’s clear Picard is no longer in Starfleet and a few Romulans are tending to his vineyard on Earth. But in 2385 — just a year prior — Picard is in command of the USS Verity, and 100 percent involved with trying to help the Romulans evacuate several of the planets in their Empire, to avoid destruction from the impending supernova. (Recall: this is the same supernova Spock tries to stop with Red Matter in the 2009 Star Trek reboot film.) Picard’s got his work cut out for him in two ways: He needs a bunch of ships to help evacuate the various Romulan planets, and he has to deal with the Romulans being super-secretive and jerky about everything even though the Federation is trying to help them.
Luckily, the first problem of starship production is being handled by Geordi LaForge, who, at this point in time is now running the Utopia Planitia Shipyards, and is churning out a bunch of new ships in record time. Picard and Geordi joke a little bit about Picard going back to the Enterprise, but it seems clear the Enterprise has a new Captain now. (Though that mysterious new Captain is never named!)
But, the big news is that Admiral Picard is in command of the USS Verity and his first officer is Raffi Musiker. If you’ve been following news about Star Trek: Picard, you might know that Raffi is played by Michelle Hurd in the new series and at that point (in 2399) she and Jean-Luc are old cronies. Now, this prequel comic is clearly establishing that Musiker was Picard’s replacement for Will Riker as a first officer when he took command of the Verity.
In the new comic, Raffi is a great character. She refers to Picard by the nickname “JL,” and claims that “Formality is the enemy of efficiency,” which Picard says is “debatable.” Even on the pages of this comic (solid art from Angel Hernadez and Joana Lafuente), the chemistry between Jean-Luc and Raffi comes across as playful and cool; kind of like Number One and Pike, but if their personalities were reversed. In other words, now that we know Raffi was Picard’s First Officer before the events of the new series, it makes her role super-interesting. The fact their relationship feels real and different from Jean-Luc’s other interactions with his crewmembers is refreshing and exciting. When these characters reconnect in the events of Picard, this comic will totally enrich why these two interact the way that they do.
To be clear, Picard: Countdown could be read as real-deal Trek canon. The new miniseries is written by Mike Johnson and Kirsten Beyer. Of course, Beyer was a writer for Star Trek: Discovery and is now, credited as one of the co-creators of Picard, alongside Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, and Michael Chabon. Bottom line: because Beyer is co-writing this miniseries, all of this stuff is basically a legit preview of the actual backstory of the next big Star Trek series.
The first issue (there will be 3 in all) ends on a classic Star Trek cliffhanger. Picard is supposed to evacuate some Romulans, but the Romulans on this planet have enslaved an indigenous species that they refuse to evacuate. Naturally, Picard isn’t cool with this and the Romulans get weird about it and throw Jean-Luc in jail! To be continued…
Picard: Countdown #1 is on sale now.
Picard: Countdown # 2 will be on sale on December 18 and the miniseries will conclude with Countdown #3 on January 29, right after the debut on Star Trek: Picard on CBS All-Access on January 23.