Published by IDW Publishing, Star Trek: The Q Conflict #5 is written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, with pencils by Silvia Califano, inks by Elisabetta D’Amico, colors by Alexandra Alexakis, and letters by Neil Uyetake. With issue number five, we are nearing the end of the intergalactic contest put on by the devious Q. The universe is still at risk and with an unchecked Q at the helm, the competition is as unpredictable as ever.
In the previous issue, Q had tasked our Starfleet officers with provoking the god-like beings, the Prophets, that reside within the Bajoran Wormhole. Little is known about the true extent of the being’s powers, as they are not as active in the dwellings of lesser beings. Thinking little of the Prophet’s abilities, Q aimed at challenging the mysterious beings to a test of strength after they revealed themselves. Through various means of strategy by the different teams, Captain Kirk was able to contact the Prophets. The beings graciously forgave the invasive antics of the officers and sought to confront Q.
The start of issue five flashes back the neutral gathering grounds from previous issues. Standing over a battle-fatigued Q are two more members of the Q species; a male Q known as Q2 and a female Q known as Amanda Rodgers. Both of the beings have made appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Q2 is the superior who stripped Q of his powers in the episode “Deja Q” and we know Amanda is Q who was raised by humans from the episode “True Q“. Q2, much as he did in “Deja Q”, scolds Q for his actions surrounding the contest and more importantly, his provoking of the Prophets. It is made clear that Q’s battle with the wormhole beings nearly destroyed the galaxy. Thankfully, Amanda intervened and prevented any further damage. Further, she convicted the Prophets who are masters time and space manipulation to return everything to normal.
During Q’s chastisement, we come to learn that there are members of the Q who were in favor of the war between the other godlike beings. Q2 himself is for the battle for higher-being supremacy but grows weary of the contest that Q is putting on. Q2 puts Q on notice that he is on thin ice and any other mishaps like the one with the Prophets and the Continuum will pull the plug and resume the war. The distension in the ranks of the Q is noticed by the godlike beings and further adds to the plotting that they have been attempting to do in other issues. However, our Starfleet officers do not get a chance to further their own agenda with the trio. The clash was apparently traumatic to the Starfleet crew. As a result when the Prophets reset time and space, they also wiped the memory of the events from our heroes minds. While I would have loved to see the battle transpire, not seeing the conflict immerses the reader as one of the members of the crew.
Following the squabble, Q returns to the competition not wanting to disappoint his kin. The next phase of the contest requires the crews to capture a Borg Queen to be added to Trelane’s menagerie. All but the crew from The Original Series know the dangers of the Borg and bring up obvious objections. Not only would provoking the Borg be dangerous for all sentient life in their quadrant, they also believe that they have a right to not be subjected to life in a cage as sentient beings themselves. Much like all of their previous objections, they are dismissed. The captains and their crews are thrust into Borg inhabited space to face possibly the most dangerous foe the Federation has ever faced with just four ships.
The rest of the issue follows in a similar fashion to other challenges. Each captain and their crew devises a way to accomplish the goal and then we see which method pans out the best. The wrinkle in this leg of the competition is that the crews are facing a foe that they have always struggled to defeat in the past. Further, they are not sure what they can expect to find as they venture deep into Borg territory. The outcome is fairly predetermined as we still have one more issue to go. As such, the mystery stems from seeing which captain can carry out their mission better while still staying true character.
While it is interesting to see the Borg added into this series, I am not sure if I enjoyed their presence this late in the series. The front half of the issue is filled with new plot points and the potential for not only the Federation crew but the other godlike beings to finally get the upper hand on Q. I was hoping to see more progress made in this regard with only two issues left. Instead, we are subject to another competition that follows the same formula from the previous three issues. Further, the Borg’s weight to the competition is frankly out shined by the fact the Prophets literally reverted galaxy wide damage which makes each threat building issue after issue lose its power.
I am excited to see what the finale holds but I am afraid the ending will be wrapped up too quickly. I have mentioned in a number of issues now that many of the characters have been plotting against Q. However, we really haven’t see any of this plotting come to fruition other than whispers in the background. Picard even talks with Guinan again which doesn’t really add anything that wasn’t said in their previous interaction in issue four. The addition of other Q adds another level of intrigue but they are out of the issue so quickly that we are only left with further speculation on how they will outsmart Q. Our heroes have made little progress in getting out this situation on their own and I only hope that their rescue is by their own means.
While I may not be as satisfied with this issue as I was others, I still enjoyed it. The character interactions are still quality. The art style is still unique. The mystery is still present. I was just hoping for more. I have been on board with the writing team thus far as they really nail the lore of the Star Trek franchise. I will continue to put my faith in their ability to wrap up the series in a way that makes sense with all that we have experienced to this point. I am ready to see plans play out. I am ready to be stunned with twists and turn like I have been in previous issues. I am ready to see Q get his.
Star Trek: The Q Conflict
While I may not be as satisfied with Star Trek: The Q Conflict #5 as I was others, I still enjoyed it. The character interactions are still quality. The art style is still unique. The mystery is still present. I was just hoping for more.