Star Trek: The Q Conflict #2: Challenge? Accepted!

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #2 Cover A by David Messina. Written by Scott and David Tipton, drawn by David Messina and Elisabetta D’Amico. Published by IDW Publishing. 27 February, 2019.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #2

Alexandra Alexakis (Colours), Elisabetta D’Amico (Artist), David Messina (Artist), David Tipton (Writer), Scott Tipton (Writer), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
IDW Publishing
27 February, 2019

The Q Continuum, Trelane, the Metrons, and the Organians are at war, and it’s spilling out into reality, destroying planetary systems and killing thousands. In an effort to bring the conflict to an end, Q has brought together (read: captured) the crews of four Starfleet vessels from across time—Captain Kirk’s Enterprise, Captain Picard’s Enterprise, Captain Janeway’s Voyager, and Captain Sisko’s Deep Space Nine.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #2 Cover B by David Messina. Written by Scott and David Tipton, drawn by David Messina and Elisabetta D’Amico. Published by IDW Publishing. 27 February, 2019.

The teams are divided up and redistributed amongst the warring parties and sent on their first challenge: to find a gateway engine belonging to the extinct race known as the Iconians. With limited time, and the universe at stake, who among these motley teams will achieve the games’ first major win and receive a massive advantage in the challenges ahead?

What I loved about this second issue of The Q Conflict is the interactions between the various characters. With the crews being shuffled around, writers David and Scott Tipton have the room to create fascinating character moments, and there are several memorable ones in this book. I appreciate the effort that went into making these instances true to the source material, while also being deeply insightful about the characters involved.

There is a particular scene between Kirk and Worf that I am glad to see included. During Kirk’s time, the Federation and Klingons were at war—how would Kirk react to a Klingon Starfleet officer from the future serving on his ship? In the most Kirk way possible, of course—by accepting that times will change, and that their joint allegiance to the Federation more than outweighs the enmity between their species.

I also enjoy the camaraderie between Janeway and Riker, who seem to be getting along swimmingly. This might be due to the fact that Janeway met Riker during “Death Wish,” a Q-inspired fiasco while Voyager were stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Riker would have no memory of this, as Q erased his recollection so as to not mess with the timeline, but the ease with which Janeway assimilates him into the command role makes it evident that the events of The Q Conflict take place after the episode.

With so many characters to work with, one would expect The Q Conflict #2 to drown under the weight of readers’ expectations. Fortunately, the Tiptons make the wise decision to break down each seven-member team into groups of four for this issue. From these groups, the writers choose to focus on two out of the four—Kirk’s and Janeway’s—which makes the action move swiftly. We do get to see Picard’s and Sisko’s teams during the challenge, but their appearances are more concise. Presumably, in upcoming issues, the roles will be reversed.

As much as I would love to spend my time reading about the characters, The Q Conflict does need a plot to keep readers engaged. The story itself is a combination of a race and a heist, which is incredibly fun, but I felt the denouement was wrapped up a bit too neatly. Is this a sign of Q’s mind-games, or of the writers testing the waters? Hopefully, it’s the former.

I found myself researching a great deal before reading this issue, mainly for my own need to understand the Star Trek references in this book, but I don’t feel it is necessary. The information one needs to enjoy this series is contained within the text. If you are curious about the Metrons, the Organians, the Iconians, or any of the crews, there is endless literature available, and of course, the shows and films. But I would advise against delving too deep into the source material for every single fact, unless you are overly curious. It has the potential to take you out of the story.

I have to admit that I am disappointed in the art in The Q Conflict #2. The same art team returns from issue #1—David Messina and Elisabetta D’Amico—but the art is far too pared down to be enjoyable. Faces are obscured and details are omitted in the characters’ designs, to such a point that I felt I had to guess who the characters were at times. When creating comics based on live-action properties, one is always in a quandary about how realistic the art should be, but even if one isn’t completely faithful to the actors’ appearances, there should be some resemblance for readers to work with.

Colourist Alexandra Alexakis does an excellent job of capturing the myriad colours of the uniforms, and her work on the interiors adds a great deal of life to proceedings. I like the vivid palette she uses, which captures the vibrant, and hopeful, nature of the Star Trek universe.

Despite the art, I am excited for the remainder of this series. I like the idea of the four warring parties setting challenges for the teams, which is a convenient but entertaining way to merge the crews and drive the plot forward. This being Star Trek, and with readers already knowing the fate of these characters, the outcome is inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a joyous ride!

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir