So far in the Star Trek: The Q Conflict, the creators have included four ships full of cast members, a range of omnipresent aliens and story elements from three of the Star Trek franchises. When it comes to cross over events, IDW Publishing does not do things by half.
As the series heads towards a grand finale next month, who has the strength to gain the upper hand and take the battle directly to Q? In this penultimate issue, more characters are brought on board and the crossover continues to grow.
After the cliff hanger from issue four, with Q on the brink of all-out war with the Wormhole aliens, this issue starts with a dull thud. The opening panels are energised and bristle with unbelievable power but all too soon it’s over. Intervening in the conflict are additional members of the Q continuum and they instantly calm the situation down.
The games are allowed to continue but Q has received a talking too that may prove to be his undoing. As if to counter this, Q’s next mission involves one of the deadliest creatures in the known universe: The Borg Queen.
Scott and David Tipton soldier on with their crossover, attempting to get in every aspect of the franchise they can before the six issue run is complete. As previous issues, each new game features aspects from one of the franchises and this month is the turn of Voyager. Unfortunately, even before the game is introduced any engagement that the reader has with the story has been shattered by how quickly the last encounter is tied up.
Issue four had a jaw dropping cliff hanger with two mighty powers about to go to war. This issue starts by sweeping it all conveniently under the carpet. The Tipton’s forgo the difficult job of dealing with the consequences of their narrative by introducing a bland ‘reset button’. Like so many other aspects of this series, just as there appears to be anything of any substance, it is quickly disposed of and put away so that the tedious central concept can continue unabashed.
Credit where credits due, The Tipton’s know the characters of Star Trek exceptionally well, each individual has their own distinct voice. It is a shame that the story itself is made the main focus and also has the least amount of substance. The obsession with fitting in as much as possible from the Star Trek Universe is hampering the storytelling and dragging the narrative down into a quagmire of references and unnecessary characters.
By the end of this issue the reader should be at peak excitement, leading as it does into next month’s finale, however, just like the opening, the ending lacks any sense of drama. Throughout the entire issue there is no sense of danger, threat or excitement and one of the most dangerous villains in Star Trek history turns out to be as effective as a shop mannequin.
The art work continues at its usual standard. The pencils by David Messina and inks by Elisabetta D’Amico are impressive but the script does not give them a chance to shine. Last issue there was an element of drama to the layouts and panels but this month it has become very static and any adventurous spirit has flown the coop.
There are a few moments of space battle that almost get the blood pumping but these are restricted to single panels. No sooner is the reader engaged than they are pulled back out of the narrative by long winded chatter and even more character introductions.
Alessandra Alexakis does a wonderful job on the colors, making the scenery look and feel like Star Trek, and Neil Uyetake’s somehow manages to fit all of that speech onto the page without detracting from the artwork. Unfortunately for them, the over explanatory script and lacklustre plot has switched the reader off long before their work can be appreciated.
Star Trek The Q Conflict has wavered from the beginning. It is a great concept but it is drowned by a need to squeeze as many characters in as possible and limits the space in which to tell a story. The last issue had a glimmer of hope and appeared to be leading somewhere but that was shot down in flames in the opening of this issue.
It is the story that is at fault as, for the most part, the art work endeavours to tell a Star Trek story in the best way possible. There are some wonderful character renderings and the scenery is pitch perfect Star Trek. The plot, however, has meandered through the different incarnations of the franchise desperate to include as much as possible without giving any of it to space breathe. Each villain that has been introduced has barely posed any threat, apart from the Wormhole Aliens, and this month was an insult to a character that was portrayed brilliantly on the screen.
Maybe it is a blessing that there is only one issue left in this story because to endure much more would be cruel punishment indeed.