Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #6
Marvel/Paramount Comics (May, 1997)
WRITER: Chris Cooper
PENCILER: Chris Renaud
INKER: Andy Lanning
COLORIST: Kevin Somers
LETTERER: Jim Novak
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
Kamilah’s funeral is interrupted when a man on a hoverbike crashes into her still-open grave. This is Edam Astrum, and unfortunately he’s her replacement in Omega Squadron, a full betazoid telepath to help track changelings. The short version is that he does not make a good first impression with his new team, maybe because he’s not a team player, even when an experiment in the academy opens a singularity in the lab. Nog is more vocal about his displeasure than the others, and when he has a nightmare of shooting Edam, he wakes to find he’s being accused of his murder. Meanwhile, Admiral Brand leaves the academy over the Red Squadron incident and Pradesh becomes the interim superintended, who immediately deletes Red Squad’s files and looks into Omega Squadron’s. Throw in the interlude with some aliens in a starry silhouette and the foreshadowing is strong here.
What they got right: A little conflict within the team has the potential for good drama, which may be why they took out Kamilah. She was all about unifying and seemed quite good at it. Which is also why I feel she’s a big loss, but at least she’s not being replaced with a copycat character. Edam is a bit unique and fits into events in the show at the time, with the Changelings and the use of telepaths. The story sets up the new team dynamic rather well, as Edam makes a poor reflection on the team, Pava reaches out to T’Prell, and the guy now in charge of the academy is secretly one of the bad guys. We also meet Kamilah’s parents, which highlights why Kamilah was all about bringing others together, and there’s a subtle connection to why Edam crashed his hoverbike because of the drugs he takes to control his above-normal telepathic abilities. It didn’t feel the need to spell it out to the reader.
What they got wrong: Remember when I said a little conflict has the potential for good drama? This might be a bit much. Outside of the medication he needs to control his telepathy, Edam comes off as a real jerk. He hates Starfleet and only joined to annoy his parents. He immediately insults everyone and invades their thoughts (except for Nog because Betazoids can’t read Ferengi minds) and apologizes for nothing. While it’s possible he was trying to apologize before Pava jumps him for literally crashing into Kamilah’s grave (and frankly his comment about “I fall into the lap of a reasonably attractive woman who happens to be dead” was probably the worst way to introduce him to the readers) but his actions after that are all on him and that jerkish.
Other notes: Yes, this is setting up the huge “Telepathy War” crossover between the Paramount Comics Star Trek titles. That’s where the star-silhouette aliens come in.
Recommendation: It’s a terrible introduction to the new character but an important issue in the series. That makes it worth getting if you want to follow this comic.