In Review: Star Trek: The Q Conflict #5

You can't go wrong with this Trek.

The covers: Three covers to pick up for this chapter with the first two again creating a larger image. The A and B are by David Messina with colors by Alessandra Alexakis. The first cover has the Borg Queen’s head on the left, emerging from behind a Borg cube that has the Reliant and the Enterprise-E swooping in close to the deadly ship. The second cover has the other half of the Borg ship on the left with Q’s massive head emerging on the right. The Voyager and original Enterprise are closing in on the hive mind’s vessel. I love these covers with the art looking awesome and the colors being cool in deadly greens and grays. The Retailer Incentive cover by George Caltsoudas is a very unusual piece. A bust shot of the Borg Queen has the iconic villain looking down to the right. Her face resembles one of the grays from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Much of her head, neck, and shoulders is black and Caltsoudas has inserted six alien faces from the original series into it. The Gorn, the Salt Monster from M-113, Balok’s frightening visage, the Mugato, a character from the animated series I don’t recognize, and the Vendorian, also from the animated series. I like the idea for this cover, but the characters are too stylized for me. Overall grades: A A+, B A+, and Retailer Incentive C-

The story: Q has gotten the ire of the Prophets within the Bajoran wormhole, causing all of space and time to warp. The intervention of Q2 and Amanda Conner stop it. The pair have transported Q to a giant grass chessboard à la Alice in Wonderland to speak with their brother, while Trelane, Ayelborne, and the Metron watch and listen. It seems that Amanda was able to convince the Prophets to reverse their actions and wipe the Federation crews’ memories of what’s occurred. Q2 tells Q that his little contest is a distraction from the real war that the Continuum wants him to focus on. He’s told he’s only got so much leeway left before they yank him back home. The pair leave and the next contest is decided upon: Trelane wants to add a Borg Queen to his menagerie. The crews have to find and catch one. Scott Tipton and David Tipton continue to write some fun character moments into this series, with the omnipotent beings’ dialogue outstanding, the characters’ comments fun (Kirk, “What’s a Borg Queen?”), and the action exciting. There are also some solid scenes between Picard and Guinan, with the latter saying she’s recruited some friends to help shut down Q’s schemes. There’s a neat surprise with what Janeway’s team can now accomplish and Seven and Odo have some fine moments. This continues to be a Trek fan’s dream tale, especially with that final panel reveal. Overall grade: A

The art: The pencils for this issue are by David Messina with inks by Elisabetta D’Amico with an art assist by Carola Borelli. The first three pages have Q2 speaking with Q and it looks great: each character resembles their television persona and the setting is fanciful enough to be in line with previous Q creations. Though seen briefly, Trelane’s menagerie is an epic location, with creatures of all kinds teased. The top panel on Page 7 is outstanding and is only missing music to accompany their paths. Guinan looks incredible in every panel she appears, with her slight smile absolutely resembling Whoopi Goldberg’s. I love Picard’s reaction in the second panel on Page 9 that’s become a meme sensation. The reveal at the bottom of the same page is outstanding. I like how each panel on 12 shows each ship’s reaction to engaging the Borg. I’m not a fan of computer blurs in comics for effects or denote speed, but I have to admit that it’s perfectly used for the transporter effect on 14. The two reveals of previous unseen characters on 16 made my heart leap and I’m glad that only one of the characters is identified in the text, with the other being left unnamed. However, this unnamed individual looks exactly like Eric Menyuk, so Trek fans will recognize him instantly. I like the point of view of the villain on the next page, with most of her face hidden, making her more ominous than her already frightening face. I really liked the design of the action in the third panel which looked as though it came right out of the series where it was often employed. The computer blur in the large panel on 19 is terrible: it is unneeded. The artists had created an image that looked fine and this blur belittles the action. I loved the art in this issue, save this awful panel. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The contrast in colors between the first three panels and the last three panels on the opening page help the reader realize that the setting has changed dramatically. Alessandra Alexakis does a great job on this book. I like when she places a colored border around characters to make them pop, such as around Trelane on the second page and Q2 on the third. The bright FWASHes that occur in this book really explode in Q-like strength due to their bright, practically overpowering colors on white backgrounds. The cool blues that dominate Trelane’s menagerie give it an appropriate anti-septic feel. Guinan’s clothes are wonderful in familiar violets. The mystical blues that appear first on 9 are perfection. The sick greens that appear on the Borg ship are eerie. Alexakis aces this issue. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Neil Uyetake creates the text for this issue, consisting of dialogue and transmissions (the same font), sounds, yells, scene settings, and Borg speech. I wish that the dialogue and transmissions had been differed by their fonts, rather than the shape and colors of the balloons that contain them. The sounds are few, but cool, the yells are in a thicker font than dialogue so that the reader may hear the volume of the speaker better, and the scene settings are futuristic cool. The Borg speech is a different font from other dialogue, which is an additional visual way to separate them from the non-adapted characters. Overall grade: A

The final line: If you’re a Star Trek fan, there should be no conflict in your mind: you need to pick this up. The characters are true to their screen counterparts, the dialogue is perfect, the action fun, and — for heaven’s sake — the Borg! The visuals are beautiful, faithful images of each character and ship. You can’t go wrong with this Trek. 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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