In Review: Star Trek: The Q Conflict #1

Get on board for this trek to end all Treks!

The covers: Four covers for the opening salvo of this massive crossover miniseries. The A cover is by David Messina a features a monstrous image of Q in his judge’s robes from the first and last episodes of The Next Generation. He looks down upon the reader with indifference. Within his robes is a large profile of Spock from the original series, a bust image of Picard from First Contact, behind the captain is a bust image of Odo looking upwards, and to the Changeling’s right is an image of Seven of Nine with her arms wrapped around herself. A thick, light blue outline wraps around Q and the background is composed of a miasma of different colored blues, suggesting a forbidding realm. Messina is also responsible for the B cover, which is set up in the same format. A giant image of Ayelborne, the Organian, dominates this frontpiece. He looks to the right, while within him are images of five characters: a large image of Chakotay, a small image of Sulu holding his phaser ready, a bust image of Sisko from “The Adversary,” and a bust image of Data from First Contact. The same blue outline surrounds the Organian and the blue miasma wisps around him. These covers are outstanding! The Retailer Incentive A cover by George Caltsoudas is a stunner. Looking like a propaganda poster, Q is the upper center upon his throne, with the royal chair containing the title of this series. He is flanked on both sides by several god-like characters that are holding flags, Trelane and a Metron among them. Below this menagerie, in stark reds, are Picard, Janeway, Kirk, and Sisko. Beneath this quartet is VIRTUE ET GLORIA in strong letters. WOW! This is great. I didn’t think these three covers could be matched or topped for awesomeness, but I hadn’t looked at the Retailer Incentive B by J.K. Woodward. When Woodward does a Trek cover it’s a cause for celebration. This is a wraparound cover that features all four crews. The front features Picard, Data, Worf, Crusher, Riker, Troi, and La Forge, while next to them is Kirk, Uhura, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, Sulu, and Scotty. A gigantic smirking Judge Q is behind them. The back features Janeway, Torres, Seven of Nine, Chakotay, the Doctor, Kim, Paris, and Tuvok, who are next to Sisko, Quark, Dax, Odo, Kira, O’Brien, and Bashir. All the characters are standing on a blue-green grassy field, with their background a sunset of yellow and violet. Beautiful. You can’t go wrong with any of these covers. Overall grades: All A+

The story: Three supernovae in the Beta Quadrant have caught the attention of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, who set out to aid the Challenger and Venture in evacuating the nearby colony on Cestus III. Complicating the situation is the sun’s rapid expansion. While on the bridge Samara-B’s sun goes nova, prompting Data to say, “That…should not have happened.” This causes the Enterprise to drop out of warp to survive the subspace shockwave. Scott Tipton and David Tipton start things out with a bang — a big bang! — and continue to ramp up the tension as the mystery of these stars’ explosions is explored. On Page 6 a familiar visual clues in Picard as to who is responsible and he calls him out. “Q! I know this is your doing! Show your face and answer for the damage you’ve caused!” Walking into his captain’s room, Picard discovers the entity know as Q is waiting. There’s a “squabble” due to some “advanced races out there believe themselves to be on the same level as the Q Continuum.” Q takes Picard to see the three races who decide, with Q, that humans should be their proxies in this conflict, with the victor deciding the war. This leads to three famous Starfleet crews joining Picard’s at this alien neutral ground. Pleasantries are exchanged among the crews and then the Tiptons drop their biggest bomb: who the alien races are. This is a Trek fan’s dream come true: four different crews battling one another to pick the winner of a superpowered alien. I’ve been a fan of the Tiptons’ writing since reading their first IDW Trek adventure and I’m happy to say that they know exactly how to bring each character, each crew, to life. Bring it on, gentlemen! Overall grade: A

The art: Another person who’s famous for working on Star Trek comics is the illustrator of this outing David Messina, who is joined by Elisabetta D’Amico on inks. The issue opens with a supernova and transitions to the calm and collect captain at his desk reviewing the situation with Riker and La Forge. Geordi’s lack of his visor and the officers’ clothing tells the reader this is set during their cinematic adventures. The bridge looks great, as do all the settings of this issue, but look at the terrific work done with the three leads on this page — magnificent! The progression of action on Page 3 is good, with the lack of one reaction from one of the characters the perfect response. The emotionless individual that ends the page is an excellent visual counter to what’s occurred. The next page has a large image of the Enterprise encountering an action that will remind fans of a scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Messina and D’Amico do a decent job on this moment, though the iconic vessel looks too static. La Forge looks wonderful on 5. The page that follows is a dialogue scene that requires the characters to give the reader important information. Look at how well the point of view is moved about, keeping the visuals interesting; I especially like the movement between the first two panels. And how about that third panel that puts the spotlight on the characters? So cool! Cestus III’s evacuation is conveyed well with citizens lined up to leave and ships rising up to safety. The visual that ends 8 is iconic and instantly informs readers as to who is involved with this chaotic situation. The competing images that end 9 nicely sum each character’s demeanor. Whenever Q smiles, readers know something bad is going to happen and that’s exactly how I felt on 12. The three settings and characters shown on 13 look great and have me hoping to see more of them in this series and future IDW books. The meeting on 15 is great, with the looks given in the second panel terrific. I do question if the last two characters shown on the page would engage in that gesture, as that’s extremely intimate. The arrivals on 16 and 17 are good, with each crew walking out of the sunset. The double-paged splash on 18 and 19 has all the crews looking up at the four alien leaders who are on a cliff. The last page is a beauty with all four captains and all four alien leaders in close-up. Mr. Messina, I’ve missed you on Star Trek! Overall grade: A

The colors: Alexandra Alexakis has some wonderfully bright colors on this book. Nothing is garish or grandiose, but absolute true to the characters and their respective series. Colors are key on the first page to show the supernova to the reader, before showing the calming violet-grays and bright turtlenecks on the characters. The illumination from the lights on the bridge make the setting spring to life. The overwhelming oranges in the final panel on 3 make the moment explosive. The orange skies of the Cestus III colony instantly deem this world to be alien. The colors used for the entities on 10 is a good way to showcase their differentiation. Notice how the background goes yellow when Q smiles and snaps this fingers, heightening the danger for the reader. The sunset behind the characters when they appear in the neutral territory is fantastic. For the double-paged splash, Alexakis has the cliff that the aliens are upon lightened considerably. This draws attentions to those upon it and the array of characters before it. The shading of characters’ faces throughout this book is good, but they’re absolutely stunning on the final page. I’m looking forward to seeing what more Alexakis will bring to this series. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Dialogue, yells, transmissions, three unique fonts used for the three alien races, sounds, scene settings, and the tease for next issue are created by Neil Uyetake. There’s a lot of dialogue in this book — it’s Star Trek, I would be disappointed if there wasn’t a lot of interaction between the characters. Uyetake is able to insert dialogue into several panels, small and large, expertly, never stepping on important elements of the artwork. That’s the sign of an outstanding letterer. The yells are bold and in italics to make them obviously sound louder for the reader. The three fonts for the three alien races are impressive. All look as though they are uttered by something above humanity. The sounds, especially the sound for Q’s transporting things, are impressive. The scene settings, in three different timelines, are huge, making the entrance into each setting a major event, which they are. The final three words are in familiar Star Trek font, that are only missing the classic musical cues to keep readers excited. An outstanding job. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Four different Trek crews will battle to decide the victor of an ultra-powerful alien conflict. This is a Trek fan’s dream come true, and a dream crew is creating this: the Tipton brothers are aces at crafting exciting and entertaining outings, Messina and D’Amico create beautiful images, Alexakis works magic with colors, and Uyetake unifies the issues with his spot-on lettering. Get on board for this trek to end all Treks! Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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