In Review: Star Trek: The Q Conflict #2

All the crews are in a cosmic competition and it's fun.

The covers: Three different frontpieces to pick up if you can’t get enough Trek in your life. The A cover is by David Messina and features a giant image of Trelane making a dismissive gesture. Above him looks to be a metallic green ceiling that stretches to infinity. Before him are head shots of Kirk, Worf, Tuvok, and Dax. I love Messina’s artwork and this looks awesome. The B is also by Messina and is in the same format. This features a giant image of a Metron who looks imperiously down. Within him are head shots of Janeway, Kira, Riker, and the holographic Doctor. This is just as terrific as the A cover. George Caltsoudas has created the RI cover that features a bust of Jean-Luc Picard. A gigantic letter Q surrounds this representation of the captain. The statue is beginning to crumble at the bottom. The line that crosses in front of the bust states Nitidus Fortius Altius. Decent cover, but doesn’t have much of an impact on me. Overall grades: A A+, B A+, and RI C+

The story: This issue, though part of a series, is a complete story. Scott Tipton & David Tipton have the god-like characters, Q, Trelane, Ayelborne, and the Metron, complete their choosing of teams and the competition is on. The mixed crews are to race to find an Iconian Gateway engine which is the key to their remote transporter technology. The difficulty lies on the world it’s located, “…some of their gateways remain, out of control and operating erratically. As a result, the entire planet has become a patchwork of countless tiny pieces of thousands of other worlds, all overlaid upon each other.” After assurances from Q he will not cheat and the officers will not harm or kill each other the game’s afoot. It’s neat to see these characters interact with those from other ships. I enjoyed the dialogue in the fifth panel on Page 5, which got a “Hell, yeah,” out of me. The rah-rah moment from Janeway on 6 is perfect for her, as is the moment between Kirk and Worf. I like how one of the officers is able to disable another’s ship, with the reaction from that crew’s captain excellent. The journey to the gateway on the surface is good, with the obstacles fun and the comments from the crew members great. I was impressed with who won this competition, with Q being Q in the third panel on the penultimate page. There’s an image in the fourth panel on the last page that has me thinking what could have created this miniseries, and I’m hoping that it’s not the justification. It’s only a hunch for now, but I have enough faith in the Tiptons to think they wouldn’t do a story with this element. This was a fun read, that could have been extended for triple the length to show more characters, but what’s here is a quick, enjoyable jaunt. Overall grade: A-

The art: David Messina provides pencils and Elisabetta D’Amico the inks, with an art assist by Carola Borelli. I’ve been a tremendous fan of Messina’s work since I first saw it years ago and I fully admit to being completely biased toward his work. His characters look fantastic. How can a reader not smile at seeing Trelane beaming at the bottom of the first page or Quark shake his fist in rage in the next panel? It’s visual gold. The lineup on Page 2 features 29 characters and they have no name identifiers because none are needed; they are instantly recognizable to followers of this franchise. The close up of Picard on 3 is great and I love the final two images on the same page for creating an easily understandable image for a fairly complex plot point. Janeway and Q are awesome on Page 4 with their reactions. The layout of 5 is neat with each ship focused on, shown from the exterior and bridge. All bridge settings look great, just as one remembers seeing each. The vehicles on 8 is in the same format of 5 and I loved seeing those vessels. The close ups on 10 and 11 are beautiful. I almost did a back flip when I saw what one away team dons on 12; there just hasn’t been enough done with these outfits. The fauna found on the planet is cool, and like the story, I could have seen much more of them and been happy. Once character gets the Doctor Strange treatment on Page 16 and it’s wonderful. The visuals tell the story without text with the final three panels on 17 and it made me smile. The smile on 18 is fantastic. I loved the third panel on 19, with the reactions of the pair in the background increasing the humor of the moment. The fourth panel on the final page has a new character inserted into the book. This individual is recognizable and left me some dread, fearing what this presence means to the series. I don’t blame any of the artists for this character, who looks exactly as they did on television and in films. The final image of the book is ominous and that’s exactly how I want this character to look. The only nick I have is the computer blur on 12: it’s unnecessary. It does nothing but take the reader out of the story. With the exception of this one panel, I love this book’s visuals. Overall grade: A

The colors: The first panel of the book features the backs of two characters from different series looking up at the gods sitting on a cliff. There’s no real reason for this to be a gorgeously colored image because it’s a rocky cliff and the characters at the bottom wear brown and yellow. It is unquestionably beautiful. Alessandra Alexakis makes this gorgeous. Look at the sky, the different shades of the cliff, and how the characters at the bottom have darker colors to make them stand out. I love the way the light hits Trelane and the oranges on Quark are perfection. The variety of colors on the second page is also impressive, with each character flawlessly colored. Look at the lighting in the second panel on Page 3. Killer. Each ship’s bridge is dynamite on 5, with the holographic displays on 6 awesome. I love the coloring of characters’ flesh, with the close ups on 10 and 11 making me so happy. The purples, light blues, and reds on 13 are also excellent. I cannot get enough of the mustards on 12 and 15. Sound effects stand out strongly in bold colors throughout the issue as well. I’m liking Alexakis’s work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Neil Uyetake is responsible for this issue’s dialogue, sounds, computer text, creature wails, and the three word tease for next issue. Everything is easy to read, but the sounds are the main takeaway from this issue. My favorite is the FWASH! that Q uses to transport characters. The creature wails are primitive looking and monstrous, just as one would want them to be. These are the only times Uyetake has something showy to do with his contributions and they’re great. Overall grade: B+

The final line: Four classic crews are mixed up to compete in a mission for the omnipotent characters and it’s great reading. The characters’ are absolutely faithful to their television and film personas. The dialogue is killer. The visuals are some of the best in the history of Star Trek comics. The characters and settings are pure Trek. This is a love letter to Trek fans: all the crews are in a cosmic competition and it’s so fun. 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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