Picard’s First Act as Captain Finally Proves He’s Better Than Kirk


  • Picard’s school test turns into a real-life challenge, testing his mettle and showcasing his potential as a better captain than Kirk.
  • Unlike Kirk, Picard seeks to graduate early and prove himself as a captain, but his arrogance and avoidance of teamwork hinder his progress.
  • Picard is forced to unite a team of misfits and face an actual Romulan attack during his final exam, testing his leadership skills and ability to work with others.

Jean-Luc Picard wasn’t always the level-headed Starfleet captain that Star Trek fans love. Star Trek: Picard’s Academy takes readers back to his school days and shows how the boy became the man. In an upcoming issue, what was supposed to just be a stressful school test turns into something that tests Picard’s real mettle – and shows why even in his youth, he would become a better captain than James T. Kirk.

Kirk is famously the only Starfleet Academy cadet to “pass” the Kobayashi Maru, a test that makes future captains understand how to handle “no-win” situations. Many years later, in Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 by Sam Mags, Ornella Greco, Charlie Kirchoff, Jeff Eckleberry and Sweeney Boo, Picard wants to rise to the head of his class and graduate early, counting on acing the Evasive Maneuvers exam to be his ticket to the stars. However, he’s been saddled with a team he doesn’t get along with, and is attacked by actual enemies.

Picard Academy 5 cover

It’s a bit more of a challenge than hacking a simulation.

Related: Spock Failed Picard as His First Mentor – Now Star Trek Reveals How

Captain Kirk Actually Failed the Kobayashi Maru

His arrogance showed he was clever, not a captain

Kobayashi Maru 1

Kobayashi Maru 2

The Kobayashi Maru was never about who could “win.” As Lily recently told Ro Laren in Star Trek #11, “It’s a lesson in reality. A reminder that when it’s all going bad, nothing – absolutely nothing – can be done to change it.” By hacking the simulation so that his team could escape safely, Kirk showed he was crafty and willing to cheat to come out on top. Thinking of creative means to save people is its own virtue, but by avoiding the test, Kirk never learned the lesson he was supposed to – a lesson Picard perfectly explained on Star Trek: The Next Generation towards the end of Season 2:

“It is possible to commit no mistakes, and still lose. That is not weakness; that is life.”

In many ways, young Picard is a lot like Kirk. He’s bright and driven, but also arrogant, correcting professors and thinking himself above his fellow cadets. He wants out of the Academy as soon as possible, imagining himself instantly being promoted to captain. Picard’s past taught him life is short, and he’s trying to race ahead and live as much of his planned life as he can. However, he’s missing out on his current young life by avoiding a cadet party at his dorm – even Professor Spock has to explain to him the importance of socializing and making friends. He pictures himself as a great captain who handles everything himself, without understanding that a ship is best run with a crew who works together and trusts each other. This belief is put to the test when he discovers his team of students for the Evasive Maneuvers exam.

Picard Has to Unite a Team He Doesn’t Like

And he learns while under an actual Romulan attack

His test crew for the final exams isn’t the best. There’s Reshan Dar, an arrogant student who hates him; Doq, his timid friend; Nirula and K’ccyt, two lunkheads who like to goof off and wrestle; and fellow human Marty. Similar to the Kobayashi Maru, their test is supposed to be a simulation, but in a preview for Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5, the team is boarded by enemy Romulans. Unable to contact Starfleet, the cadets are on their own, and Picard will have to get a team of misfits to work together and listen to him. Also, throughout the series, there has been a mysterious narrator that isn’t Picard, but has a bit of a snarky tone about the events unfolding. This may be the help the cadets will need in their first-ever space battle, or it could be notorious Picard stan Q, there to make the test even more daunting. Whatever happens, this series has been giving Star Trek great fun and insight into the fan-favorite Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5 is coming in January 2024 from IDW.

Star Trek: Picard’s Academy #5

Picard Academy 5 cover
  • Writer: Sam Maggs
  • Artist: Ornella Greco
  • Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
  • Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
  • Cover Artist: Sweeney Boo

  • Star Trek Picard Poster

    Star Trek: Picard

    Release Date:

    Santiago Cabrera, Alison Pill, Orla Brady, Michelle Hurd, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, Harry Treadaway, Rebecca Wisocky, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Patrick Stewart

    Sci-Fi, Drama, Action, Adventure


    After starring in Star Trek: The Next Generation for seven seasons and various other Star Trek projects, Patrick Stewart is back as Jean-Luc Picard. Star Trek: Picard focuses on a retired Picard who is living on his family vineyard as he struggles to cope with the death of Data and the destruction of Romulus. But before too long, Picard is pulled back into the action. The series also brings back fan-favorite characters from the Star Trek franchise, such as Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn), and William Riker (Jonathan Frakes).

    Story By:
    Akiva Goldsman; Michael Chabon; Kirsten Beyer; Alex Kurtzman

    Terry Matalas


    Streaming Service(s):

    Star Trek

    Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, michael dorn

    Michael Chabon


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