Star Trek Is Changing Forever Thanks to One Question

The Star Trek franchise has been loathe to tackle the issue of religion, but IDW’s new series is confronting it in a totally new way.

Warning: contains spoilers for Star Trek #4!The Star Trek universe is changing forever, and it’s all thanks to one question – a question the franchise has long been reluctant to tackle. In IDW Publishing’s new flagship Star Trek comic, Captain Benjamin Sisko and his crew have been on the trail of a mysterious god-killer, and in issue four, Sisko questions what it means to be a god. The Star Trek franchise has long been reluctant to embrace religion on its own terms, but Sisko’s question demonstrates this is changing.

The issue, written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, drawn by Ramon Rosanas and Oleg Chudakov, colored by Lee Loughridge and lettered by Clayton Cowles, opens with Sisko struggling to connect with his son Jake. Sisko wants to ask Jake what he thinks makes a god, but hesitates, fearing his son will think such a question is “too esoteric.” Sisko almost asks out loud, but changes the subject instead. Nevertheless, it’s clear “what makes a god” is a question very much on the series’ mind.

Star Trek Seems to Accept Some Beings Are Gods

star trek sisko god-1

The focus of IDW’s Star Trek title, launched last Fall, has been on a mysterious force systematically slaughtering the franchise’s god-like beings. The Bajoran Prophets send Benjamin Sisko back to the human plane of existence so that he might find who, or what, is behind the genocide; he is then given a new ship, the USS Theseus and a new crew composed of the best and brightest Starfleet has to offer. The series kicked off with a bang, as Sisko and his new colleagues witnessed the god-killer massacre every living Crystalline Entities. Sisko and the Theseus have tracked the god-killer across the Klingon Empire; now, working on a tip from Q, the crew are headed to the fabled God City of T’Kon, and a direct confrontation with the god-killer.

Related: Q Is Secretly at War With Another Star Trek God: Theory Explained

The Star Trek franchise has had a thorny relationship with the subject of religion over its 56-year history. While there have been a number of god-like beings, such as Gary Mitchell, the Prophets or Q, they have been depicted as unworthy of the title. Star Trek, traditionally, has taken a dim view of organized religion and the idea of belief in a creator god. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine took a more nuanced view of the topic as shown through the religion of the Bajoran people, where certain figures were benevolent and others were portrayed as ruthless and manipulative. However, Star Trek traditionally has its characters accept the power of some god-like beings while rejecting their inherent divinity – an approach the comic doesn’t seem to be taking.

Star Trek Has a New Attitude to Its Gods

Sisko Has new God Powers

Most characters in the new series – from Sisko and Q to the god-killer themselves – explicitly accept that the most powerful beings in the universe can truthfully and accurately be called ‘gods.’ Usually, Star Trek would spend its time unpicking these claims – rejecting the idea that any being is truly a ‘god’ – but Sisko’s question of what makes a god, along with a killer targeting everything that fits the bill, diverges from this theme. With the villain violently rejecting gods and Sisko trying to justify their existence, it’s a new way for Star Trek to discuss its most powerful figures.

Gene Roddenberry intended for Star Trek to be a commentary on the human condition, of which religion is an integral part. Sisko asks “what makes a god,” because not only has he witnessed the murder of gods, but he has lived among them – both of which give him a unique perspective on the subject. Sisko’s experiences with the Bajorans, both the people and the Prophets, make him the perfect person to ask this question, a question that is seemingly changing Star Trek forever by opening a new frontier of its philosophy.

More: Star Trek Proves Riker Needs to Join Sisko’s New Crew

Star Trek #4 is on sale now from IDW Publishing!

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