Trek Comics Review #36: ‘The Q Gambit’ (Part 2)

Our Trek Comics editor Patrick Hayes is back with a review of this month's issue of IDW Publishing's Star Trek ongoing comic series: the second chapter of "The Q Gambit," a new six-part saga.

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A terrific pair of cover for readers to transport into their collections. Tony Shasteen, this book's interior artist and colorist, has created this month's regular cover. Going from closest to farthest, Sisko, Kirk, and Spock's busts have been placed before Deep Space 9 with the wormhole opening gloriously behind them. These characters look fantastic and the coloring is great, even if there are some lens flares occurring.  Grade: A.

The photo cover is taken from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager showing John de Lancie as the iconic Q garbed in a Starfleet uniform. You know you're a Trek fan if just seeing this character makes your heart race at the possibilities his appearance brings, and there was a big one that ended last month's issue.  Grade: A+.

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This second chapter in "The Q Gambit" by Mike Johnson opens where it dramatically left off last month: the Enterprise at the front door of Deep Space 9. Kirk orders a Red Alert, not knowing where they are, as weapons lock on the ship. Attacked by three very familiar looking ships, the Enterprise tries to escape.

Under fire and, suddenly, operating only on impulse engines, Q appears behind Kirk to say, "From this point on, whatever happens next is completely out of my control... but still very much within yours. Try to make good decisions. I'll excuse myself for a moment. Company's coming." His disappearance marks the arrival of three individuals beaming aboard.

This is a fantastic story. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the crew went into the past in the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations." Now the past has come to the future and it's not the optimistic future fans are used to seeing. The final words at the bottom of Page 6 turn everything every fan knows about the franchise upside down. A conversation begins on Page 9 with a classic Trek villain in one of the most famous sets of DS9.

Johnson does an amazing job with this character's voice whose dialogue is impossible not to hear in the voice of the actor that played this role. There is a hint of troubles to come for a specific group from the Enterprise on Page 14, but future issues will have to reveal their fate.

Things take a triumphant turn on Page 16 and the reveal on Page 17 was picture perfect. A new setting creates an opportunity to give some backstory to our crew's current dilemma and Page 22 is a jaw-dropper of a reveal and tease. I really, really want to see more of this final location and have the Enterprise crew go here. This was a fantastic chapter.  Grade: A+.

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The illustrations and colors are by Tony Shasteen. Every character in this issue is photorealistic. It is great to see John de Lancie's Q talking to Chris Pine's Kirk. The arrival of the threesome on Page 5 made my heart leap because they are one of my favorite post-Roddenberry aliens. When said invaders use their weapons on Page 6 it's a shocking moment. Rarely in any Star Trek series did weapons fire look so brutal.

Making me even happier is the likeness of the individual that appears on Page 9. I love this character and was ecstatic to see this person look so good. The close-up at the bottom of the same page perfectly mirrors the dialogue the character is saying. The entire scene between Kirk and this person comes off as lost scene from the television series. Sending me over the top for this individual is the glorious second panel on 16.

The settings were, again, mixed. Many of the backgrounds, on the Enterprise and in other places, are photoscans. They are blurry blobs of shapes that draw attention to their poor quality. However, Shasteen uses color to move readers' eyes from these scanned images to focus on objects in the foreground. For example, Page 5 uses red to fill and disguise and a sickly yellow transporter effect to distort the backgrounds. It's a smart use of coloring, but I can still see the smudged photos.

My grade would be higher if the backgrounds were drawn.  Grade: B+.

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Yells, sound effects, dialogue, and a "To Be Continued!" come courtesy Neil Uyetake. His highpoint is the transporter sound effects, which I can never get enough of.  Grade: A-.

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Bottom line:
This second chapter of "The Q Gambit" is an incredible story with art that just falls short of perfection.  Grade: A-.

- Reviewed by Comics Editor Patrick Hayes

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trek36-small Order Star Trek #36:
The Q Gambit, Part 2 
  • Brian Johnson

    In the first issue of the storyline, Q never refers to himself by name and Kirk only refers to him as “the intruder.” By the second issue, Kirk is calling him Q. Did I miss something, or is this just a goof?