Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4: A Suspenseful and Thrilling Adventure

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 Cover RI by George Caltsoudas. Written by Scott and David Tipton, drawn by Silvia Califano and Elisabetta D’Amico. Published by IDW Publishing. 22 May, 2019.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4

Alexandra Alexakis (colours), Silvia Califano (artist), Elisabetta D’Amico (artist), David Tipton (writer), Scott Tipton (writer), Neil Uyetake (letters)
IDW Publishing
22 May, 2019

Following a desultory third issue, Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 is a rousing adventure that sees the four ships and crews of this series—Enterprise, Enterprise D, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager—battling each other in yet another of Q’s absurd games. This time, Q sets the crews the task of contacting the prophets who live within the wormhole Deep Space Nine orbits. Obviously, this is a terrible idea, but the crews don’t have a choice and follow Q’s commands.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 Cover A by David Messina. Written by Scott and David Tipton, drawn by Silvia Califano and Elisabetta D’Amico. Published by IDW Publishing. 22 May, 2019 - Circular portraits of Picard, Data, Sisko, and Jadzia Dax, against a background of what looks like a white explosion in space

With Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4, I feel like this series is really coming into its own. I loved the suspense here, which was steadily built up from the opening pages right through to the end. The meeting between Picard and Guinan that opens the story sets the tone for what is too come. I have expressed my consternation with Q being portrayed as a petulant child, and this issue addresses that very matter. Q isn’t acting like himself, but what is bothering him is yet to be revealed. Guinan’s advice, which the captains follow, is to do as Q says till they know better.

Start the games. Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 trains the spotlight on the Deep Space Nine crew, as they are most familiar with the prophets. The key crew members scattered across the four teams—Captain Sisko on the Defiant, Odo on Team Enterprise D, Kira on Team Voyager, and Jadzia Dax on Team Enterprise—each provide a different method to contact the prophets in hope of winning this contest. Interestingly, every one of them chooses a different method, and it is learning why and how those methods should work that builds the suspense of the story.

Though nobody likes meetings in real life, I found the briefings in issue #4 to be the best part. Not only do the personalities of the various crew members shine, but we also get to see some unlikely pairings. My absolute favourite scene was seeing two of my favourite Star Trek characters—Beverly Crusher and Uhura—concur on their disagreement with a plan. If I could frame that panel, I absolutely would. I live for such character moments!

I also love how comfortable Kirk is with Worf. Back in the first issue, Kirk made it clear to Worf that despite the Federation being at war with the Klingons in his time, Worf’s Starfleet uniform meant Kirk would treat him like the colleague he is. And it’s great to see that moment being followed through issues later. With the teams having been shuffled, Kirk has simply adopted Worf as his chief of security because the situation calls for it. If that isn’t Starfleet spirit, I don’t know what is.

The art is stellar in Star Trek: The Q Conflict. I see that Silvia Califano has been added as penciller for this issue and I really like her work. Unlike in previous issues, where I felt that background characters were being intentionally blurred out, Califano gives every panel equal amounts of detail while accounting for depth of field. Her technique gives the whole issue a more well-rounded and believable feel, which was further enhanced by Elisabetta D’Amico’s inking.

Alexandra Alexakis goes above and beyond with a gorgeous colour palette in this issue. From the stunning purple of Guinan’s uniform to the blindingly bright wormhole, Alexakis makes every part of this issue as beautiful as the Star Trek series it’s based on. Colours like these are what make me love comic books.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 was such a satisfying read and had all the elements that make a Star Trek story memorable. It was tense, it had great characters, it adapted so much of the existing lore, and it threw in some important cameos for good measure. There really is nothing I don’t love about this issue. And now onward to issue #5, where it looks like we’re going to meet another favourite villain of mine—the Borg.

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