The series, set in the same universe as the latest big screen Trek offerings, debuted in 2011 with Johnson in the driver's seat; Shasteen joined as the title's regular artist with Issue #35. The finale, arriving August 17, not only celebrates the franchise's half century mark, but also brings the Enterprise's five year mission to a close by teaming the JJ Abrams-era crew with the original -- sort of.
With the big finale approaching at warp speed, CBR spoke with Johnson and Shasteen about steering the iconic ship towards a hopeful end by, and how they did so by looking both back into the past and forward into the future.
CBR News: You obviously don't want to give away the end of your run on the book, but what can readers expect as this series comes to a close?
Mike Johnson: We really wanted to end the series on an optimistic note, and in a way that celebrates the history of the franchise given that this is the 50th anniversary. Having the two Enterprise crews interact in some way felt like the best way to do that. It gives the book the fun visual of the two crews on the every page. Tony brought his magic to both the original and new characters in cool and surprising ways.
Looking back on the past five years, are there any particular moments or scenes that stick out more than others? Maybe even some you weren't sure would be approved by the studio?
Johnson: I was really nervous about "The Q Gambit" and being able to use the "Deep Space Nine" cast in the story. Luckily, I was given permission -- and given further permission to show the characters in radically different situations, like Worf as Chancellor of Earth. The freedom I had in that story is testament to the great team that oversees the Trek comics.
Mike, you launched this series with #1. How did your original plans compare to the finished results?
Johnson: I'm just glad we made it to the end of the Five Year Mission! I feel like we managed a good mix of original stories with ones that revisited original episode adventures. Overall, I'm just proud to have had the opportunity to tell so many stories with so many amazing artists, especially Tony.
Were there characters you really wanted to get to, but just weren't able to fit in?
Tony Shasteen: From early on, I wanted to draw the original crew, and Mike didn't let me down. We covered so much ground and touched on so many characters from "The Q Gambit" to "The Legacy of Spock" to the very last page of the series. There really wasn't anything I felt like I missed out on.
Johnson: I love Bruce Greenwood as Pike, so I wish I'd had a chance to write more of him. Thanks for nothing, "John Harrison!"
You've had quite a run on "Star Trek" together. How do you feel your collaborative relationship grew in that time?
Shasteen: To put it simply, I can't imagine not working with Mike. There were times before "Trek" when reading a script and working out the layouts would be like pulling teeth, but reading anything Mike writes is a pleasure. His scripts are actually fun to read! I'd like to claim credit for our working relation morphing into something special, but in reality, Mike has been great to work with since day one.Â
Johnson: There's always a period of figuring out how the other works and how best to collaborate, but it felt like a very quick mind-meld for us. After our first issue together, I knew that Tony could draw anything I threw at him, and for a writer, that's a real gift. It frees up the imagination knowing that the artist will make anything you come up with look incredible. Tony's body of work is a milestone, not just in "Trek" comic books, but in the whole franchise.
In the grand tradition of Star Trek, the ending of this series tends to lead to another. What can you say about the next time we meet Kirk and his crew?
Johnson: Only that the characters really will be going places they've never been before, possibly not all as one crew. Oh, and a classic Star Trek villain will return.
"Star Trek" #60, by Mike Johnson and Tony Shasteen, arrives August 17.