Cover art for IDW’s forthcoming Star Trek series shows The Next Generation’s Data in a whole new light. This Fall, the publisher will release the next entry in its line of Star Trek comics. Simply titled Star Trek, the book will follow the adventures of Captain Benjamin Sisko and a rag-tag crew of characters from across the franchise’s 56-year history, including Data, acting as a sequel to Deep Space Nine. Now, artist Malachi Ward has unveiled his variant cover for Star Trek #2, spotlighting Data.
The android Data, the only of his kind to serve in Starfleet, was the Enterprise’s second officer, appearing in all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its four feature films. On a perpetual quest to understand humanity, Data served with distinction. Unfortunately, his journey came to an end in the final Next Generation movie, Nemesis, when he sacrificed his life to save his shipmates. However, Data will return for IDW’s forthcoming Star Trek comic. Set to debut next month, the new title features Deep Space Nine’s Benjamin Sisko, returning from the Celestial Temple to lead a motley assembly of Starfleet officers, including not only Data, but Doctor Beverly Crusher as well. Something is threatening the godlike beings of the Star Trek universe, and it is up to Sisko, Data and company to save the day.
In a post to his Twitter account, artist Malachi Ward debuted the variant cover, shared below. The cover shows Data’s head up against a psychedelic background. Atoms swirl around Data’s head, and readers can also see molecule-strands. The effect is to give Data a deific presentation, perhaps speaking to how his unique perception will allow him to interact with Star Trek’s cosmic gods and whatever is hunting them down. The image communicates the vast internal landscape of the android – his relatively flat presentation belying a deep well of curiosity and potential.
Data’s inclusion on Sisko’s squad raises some questions not only about continuity, but his role in the mission as well. As mentioned earlier, Data was killed in Nemesis; later comics and novels established that Data was rebuilt, using an earlier prototype. However, Star Trek: Picard’s first season threw all of this out of the window, revealing Data was never rebuilt, and the prototype proved a false start. This leads to the question of how and why Data is alive here. Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, the writing team behind the new Star Trek comic, were no doubt aware of Picard’s Data reveals when the title was pitched, so how is Data able to return? With such powerful beings in play, almost anything is possible, but adding a new chapter to Data’s story offers the chance to totally transform Star Trek lore.
The answer may well lie with Sisko. In Deep Space Nine’s final episode, Sisko left the normal plane of existence to live with the Bajoran Prophets and to fulfill his role as the Emissary. Perhaps Sisko gained powers while there that allow him to bend time and space, pulling in a Data from another time or universe. Yet why did Sisko pick Data? Data’s computer brain, super strength and resiliency make him an ideal candidate for any Starfleet team, and if Sisko and his crew are going up against a villain who can best god-like beings, then he will need all the help he can get. These questions and more will have to wait until IDW Publshing’s Star Trek #1, but in the meantime fans can enjoy a new and bold look at this beloved Next Generation icon.
Star Trek #2 hits shelves November 30 from IDW Publishing.
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Source: Malachi Ward