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“Star Trek: Day of Blood – Shaxs’ Best Day”

By | September 29th, 2023
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The “Star Trek” comics are undertaking a crossover event, featuring a Klingon civil war, and everyone’s invited. That means everyone, including any Lower Decks characters who happen to be present at this point in the timeline. More specifically: Lieutenant Shaxs, Chief of Security aboard the USS Cerritos, back when he was a Lieutenant Junior Grade on the U.S.S. Theseus.

Ryan North and Derek Charm reunite to shine a light on a fan-favorite Lower Decks character (following Ryan’s short-but-excellent “Lower Decks” comic mini-series), so let’s see what makes this day so great for Shaxs.

Written by Ryan North
Illustrated and colored by Derek Charm
Lettered by Clayton Cowles

You’ve seen Captains Benjamin Sisko and Worf with their crews of the USS Theseus and Defiant stop the fascist, god-killing clone Kahless II from declaring war on non-followers across the galaxy in a brutal battle on Qo’noS. But you haven’t seen it from the eyes of the man, the myth, the legend, Lieutenant Junior Grade Shaxs!

From the writer behind the best-selling Lower Decks comics series, Ryan North, with esteemed artist Derek Charm (Jughead and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), comes a 30-page standalone tie-in to the Star Trek: Day of Blood event (Star Trek FCBD 2023, Day of Blood #1, Star Trek #11 and 12, and Defiant #6 and 7) detailing the Bajoran’s beast-mode brawl and showcasing all the behind-the-scenes Klingon-zealot butt-kicking in full animated glory!

“Star Trek: Day of Blood” is a comic crossover event that brings characters from across various Star Trek series together to help stop the rise of a zealous Klilngon cult from taking over the Klingon homeworld. It’s a darker and bloodier story, with high stakes and lives on the line, that puts the characters through the ringer both physically and emotionally.

Except for Shaxs, who’s really just having a good time fighting fascist cultist Klingons. That makes up a good 90% of the story right there, but it’s a good fun ride that still fills in some blank spots from the main “Day of Blood” story.

And in case it wasn’t clear “fascist cultist Klingons” is accurate, as Shaxs is sure to call them that (with a definition to support his claim) at every opportunity. The comic also takes a moment to remind readers that, and I quote: “If you’re a fascist, then wow have you picked the wrong comic to read! And also, transmedia franchise to enjoy. And political system to subscribe to.” It’s a nice note to include.

Yes, Ryan North’s little notes at the bottom of the page that add flavor and jokes to the comic are here, and they’re a welcome addition.

Story-wise, it’s a pretty basic concept: Shaxs needs to fight his way through a mob of Klingons, as his team carries on with a mission to reestablish a communications array. As it goes on, he finds new obstacles to overcome (often involving some level of Trek tech talk), tougher Klingons with a wider array of weapons to fight, and new and creative ways to defeat his enemies.

But even if it’s not the most complicated story, it’s still made a lot of fun, thanks in equal parts to the writing and artwork.

Ryan North, as always, adds a ton of personality and humor to the story, providing no shortage of quips and one-liners to all sides of the fight. Shaxs gets plenty of good zingers, and a few intentionally bad ones as well, while the Klingons also get some deliciously cheesy lines of their own.

And, as mentioned, the little jokes on the bottom of several pages are a nice comedic touch, adding in extra gags or even contextual information.

On top of that, since the comic is mostly action, the fight scenes get more and more creative and epic. Ryan North takes full use of the comic book format to stretch the limits of Star Trek action scenes, giving us weaponized teleporters, robotic battle-suits, and “fistfights in free fall with a Klingon on fire from atmospheric re-entry.” And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.

All the while, there’s a clear love of the Star Trek mythos and worlds. “Shaxs’ Best Day” is filled to the brim with references and lore, from technobabble to old Klingon sayings; enough to make any Trekkie happy (or is “Trekker” still the preferred nomenclature?).

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Artistically, Derek Charm does a great job mimicking the style of the Lower Decks animated series, both in Shaxs’ character design and adapting other characters to the Lower Decks style. The cartoonish designs lend well to the over-the-top action, and make the characters all the more expressive.

At the same time, Derek Charm also knows when to change the artwork for dramatic effect. There are several moments where the illustrations grow more detailed, or shift to a different style, accentuating key moments like a particularly powerful hit.

The color work is also vibrant, matching the cartoonish style while maintaining the setting of the “Day of Blood” event. Additionally, we get some standout moments where the color work gets to shine, such as during key art shift moments or during the reentry fistfight, adding to the intensity and providing great effect.

And the best part? For as over-the-top the action gets, and as goofy as Shaxs can be at times, this is all entirely canon to the “Day of Blood” storyline, as Shaxs has played a small but significant role throughout the event. There’s even a moment in “Star Trek” issue 12 featuring Shaxs’ request for reassignment to the Cerritos, stating “On a personal note, I can’t imagine this assignment could offer me a better day than this one.” So it’s very nice to see anything Lower Decks related appear in other Trek media.

Readers who are fans of Lower Decks will love getting to see Shaxs outside of the Cerritos and playing a role in a comic event that ties in characters from across Star Trek history. Those who aren’t fans and take their Trek too seriously may find the tonal and artistic shift jarring, but hopefully they can still enjoy the ride. Even viewed as a one-off outside of the context of “Day of Blood,” it’s still a fun comic filled with nonstop action and humor.

Final Verdict: 8.0 – Action-packed, humorous, and just plain fun. “Shaxs’ Best Day” is a joy to read, especially for fans of Lower Decks.

Robbie Pleasant