Not everyone can get a plum assignment aboard the Enterprise. Some Starfleet officers have to toil away far from the flagship, negotiating treaties and dealing with border skirmishes. Meanwhile, stupid old James T. Kirk runs around breaking the Prime Directive and punching god-like entities in the nose, getting all the glory and hot alien tail. It's enough to turn even the most well-adjusted commander Orion green with envy. Kevin Church and Ming Doyle's new webcomic, Boldly Gone, revolves around a Star Trek captain named Paul Meredith who never exceptional enough to warrant his own show. I love Star Trek, but I've always been a Deep Space Nine kind of girl. I never really trusted the Federation. No organization could be that saintly, and no group of futuristic people would spend that much time quoting Shakespeare. So I can appreciate the apparent thesis of Boldly Gone, that Starfleet is just as amazing as it sounds... if you've spent your whole life as the smartest guy or gal in the room.

If you're Paul Meredith, and you graduated in the middle of your Starfleet class and are simply competent at your job, the admirals won't even remember your name. In a futuristic military full of overachievers, Meredith is perfectly average and plenty insecure about it, and it doesn't help that he's surrounded by his intellectual betters and that the entire quadrant is in love with Captain Kirk.

Boldly Gone is Church and Doyle's followup to The Loneliest Astronauts (previously featured on ComicsAlliance), their webcomic about a pair of stranded astronauts who can't stand each other. So it's apt that Captain Meredith has his own intolerable companions: a first officer who's on track to receive her own flagship command and a medical officer who's rich and handsome on top of being one of the best surgeons in Starfleet. I can only imagine what quick-witted torments they'll have for our simply average captain.

Boldly Gone is just a few updates old, but already we're getting hints of what Church and Doyle have in store. Captain Meredith's obsession with his contemporary, James Kirk, has gotten pathological, and the bridge crew is starting to worry about his extraordinarily low self-esteem. The question is, how will Meredith's insecurities play out? Will he continue to succeed in his middle-manager Starfleet missions, only to be continually (and hilariously) neglected by his superiors? Will his bridge officers scheme to prop him up as a better captain than he actually is? Or will he decide that the best way to deal with Kirk-envy is to engage in the sort of reckless cowboy captaining that James Kirk does every week?

My bet is on the latter, although if The Loneliest Astronauts offers any clues to Church and Doyle's sci-fi sadism, Meredith's adventures will be less a sexy action-adventure than a tragicomic horror story.

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