Published by IDW Publishing, Star Trek: The Q Conflict #3 is written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, pencils by David Messina, inks by Elisabetta D’Amico, colors by Alexandra Alexakis and lettered by Neil Uyetake. This amazing team continues their work placing a galactic who’s who of Star Trek characters, hero and villain alike, in an epic intra-franchise miniseries.
After the first event in the competition that will decide the fate of the universe, we saw the team of Captain Janeway reign supreme at the end of issue two. Her team represented Metron the well as her drafted crew was able to outsmart the always cunning Captain Picard, outmaneuver the always crafty Captain Kirk, and outpace the always determined Captain Sisko. Their team was awarded the use of the Iconian gateway engine to be used as an advantage if they are able to figure out the technology. At the end of my issue two review, I was unsure what was going to happen next. Q is unpredictable, the other god-like beings’ are impatient, and our Starfleet officers are looking for an opportunity to turn the tables.
After the first event is finished, Q gives the teams time to consult with their “coaches”. During this time, it is apparent that the god-like beings (Metron, Ayelborne, and Trelane) are growing tired of Q’s need to be the leader of the competition. While they are eager to be rid of Q and this trivial contest, they understand that upsetting him will have dire consequences.
Luckily, the trio finds during their coaching sessions that our Starfleet officers feel the same way but know all to well at Q isn’t easy to fool. It will take their combined effort to see this conflict end without more damage to the universe, but for now they need to play the game. Rye to the unhappiness of his fellow higher beings, Q allows the possibly the most impressionable and devious of his three combatants decide the next challenge, Trelane.
Trelane proposes an all out starship battle royale between the four captains. It comes as no surprise that the captains are opposed to this idea. They were very adamant as the start of this competition that they would only participate if they were not put into positions that would cause each other harm. The dated USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) would surely be no match for the USS Defiant (NX-74205) in a fire fight and there is no way that the captains will risk the lives of Starfleet officers.
Despite Q promising that he would not interfere, they still protest. Trelane rethinks his challenges and decides a traditional capture the flag match between the starships will suffice. They will pair off into teams of two and use tractor beams to drag the flags across space. All seems on the up and up for the next leg of our competition until the ever tricky Trelane reveals that he was not the one who promised he would not interfere.
Trelane, bored of the current affairs of the capture the flag match, inserts a new player into the competition that the crew of the The Original Series know all too well. Enter the Planet Killer featured in the episode The Doomsday Machine of the The Original Series. Now the captains are tasked with a new objective; survive the massive robot capable of destroying entire planets with one blow.
While Trelane expressed that the first ship to dispatch the Planet Killer, our teams are much more concerned about making it to the next leg of the competition intact. In the episode that Planet Killer made its debut, Captain Kirk’s crew had little effect on the the entity’s thick outer hull with their phasers and getting too close rendered many of their primary systems in operable. There question now for our daring captains is if decades of advancements in technology and four of the brightest crews in all of Starfleet are enough to defeat an enemy that Kirk’s crew narrowly escaped.
It has been quite awhile since the last issue of Star Trek: The Q Conflict and I would be lying if I wasn’t slightly let down by this issue. The first half of the issue provides the fuel for a game of wits with the crews of the Starfleet and the trio of beings opposing Q seemingly banding together. However, the issue dissolves into a scenario that is all but predictable as we still have three issues left.
While the previous issue provided a layer of uncertainty in the event’s competition with a race to the finish, there isn’t really any moment where you feel that our heroes won’t make it through in four versus one match up with the Planet Killer. Despite Chekov describing the terror that the being enacted, they did eventually defeat it. So, why wouldn’t the combined strength of our captains be able to as well? I have to assume that this issue establishes its purpose in the first half and the rest is just a filler competition for approaching climax.
With all that said, I am still very interested in what this series has to offer. The art is still blended well, the interactions between the characters still holds true to form, and I am still not sure how they are going to outsmart Q as he seems on to their schemes.
Finally, the cliffhanger that this issue leaves of off will undoubtedly hold me over to issue four. As a fan of Deep Space Nine, I believe that Q’s next obstacle will truly be challenge for the Starfleet officers but maybe even the trio as well.
It has been quite awhile since the last issue of Star Trek: The Q Conflict and I would be lying if I wasn’t slightly let down by this issue.