TrekInk: Review of Star Trek Ongoing #37: The Q Gambit Part 3 + 7-Page Preview

QGambit1 HeaderImage

IDW’s Star Trek Ongoing is back after a longer-than-usual break with the third issue of The Q Gambit! Was the latest excursion into Q’s DS9/nu-verse mash-up worth the wait? Find out below and check out a 7-page preview!

Star Trek #37: The Q Gambit, Part 3
(available Wednesday, September 24)

Written by Mike Johnson, story consultant Roberto Orci, art by Tony Shasteen, letters by Neil Uyetake, edits by Sarah Gaydos.

Cover: Art by Tony Shasteen Subscription Cover: Photo

Cover by Tony Shasteen – Subscription Cover: Photo


Sisko explains earth’s fate to Kirk and Co. as they arrive at the Klingon Empire’s headquarters in San Francisco: After the Dominion invaded the Alpha Quadrant, earth became the first victim of the Klingon Empire’s expansion as it entered into war against the Dominion. Sisko became a spy for the Empire, while also serving as a double agent for the Free Federation Resistance. Acting as a valued soldier of the Empire, Sisko brings Kirk to humble himself before earth’s Klingon High Chancellor, Worf!

Meanwhile, on Bajor, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the Enterprise blue-shirts are forced into slavery at a Dominion labor camp. After divulging their Starfleet origins to camp doctor and Resistance member, Julian Bashir, Spock and Bones are promptly smuggled to safety. Q pops-up in Cardassian camouflage just long enough to assure the pair that they’ll see their comrades again soon, before their first meeting with Free Federation Resistance leader, Kira Nerys.

Q as a Cardassian - about as odd as you'd expect

Q as a Cardassian – about as odd as you’d expect

Dukat gets word of Sisko’s escape but is far more concerned with finding a powerful object that could give a major advantage to the Bajoran Resistance. Back on earth, Chancellor Worf makes plans to work with Sisko and his 23rd century guests to their mutual benefit against the Dominion, before a shocking assassination radically changes the balance of power in the Alpha Quadrant….


Did you need a breather after Q Gambit part 2? I hope so, because after last month’s crackling installment, this issue takes its time and explains a whole lotta stuff about the dystopian nu-verse while setting the stage for more intrigue to come. Key characters are shuffled around, galaxy-altering backstory is detailed, major plot developments are hinted at, and, if you really wanted to know what, in all the continuum, makes Q feel constipated, well, we get to learn about that, too.

BondingunderpressureSpock and Bones – not Q fans

If, however, you were hoping to get to some of the meat of this tale by this point, it looks like you’ll have to wait a little longer. There’s some intriguing stuff being lined up here, though; Dukat’s mention of an artifact he can’t wait to get his hands on (any bets on the Orb of Time?) and Kira’s plan to save the galaxy, for starters. The story doesn’t really get moving until the nasty assassination at the end, but it’s a whopper of a cliffhanger, so there’s good reason to hope that the next installment brings some payoff.

Writer Mike Johnson’s banter between Spock and McCoy as they discuss their dire circumstances and mutual loathing of Q is an absolute highlight of the issue, and Bashir’s argument with a famous Ferengi over tainted medical supplies is classic DS9. The book is also packed with smaller cameos from familiar faces and ships, making revisiting the pages a worthy endeavor.

A friendly reminder not to mess with Klingons

A friendly reminder not to mess with Klingons

Artist Tony Shasteen continues to wow with his likenesses, and the issue is chock full of effectively grim visuals: a crumbling Federation starship on page 6, skull-crushing Klingon brutality on page 7, or death by Bat’leth at the story’s end (bonus points for the purple blood dripping from the blade, but why does it start out red on the previous page?). Some of the photo-scanned backgrounds are a little chintzy, though, particularly on a stark, desolate Bajor. Lastly, Neil Uyetake gets some subtle but fun lettering this issue – somehow, “shuk” feels like exactly the right sound for a Bat’leth entering and exiting someone’s neck.

With another raft of characters and plot elements to introduce, this issue handles a lot of set-up and doesn’t quite have the spark of issue 2. Ultimately, though, Q Gambit 3 gets the job done, and certainly ends on a note that whets the appetite for issue 4.

7 Page Preview:

ST_35-pr_Part1ST_35-pr_Part2ST_35-pr_Part3 ST_35-pr_Part4ST_35-pr_Part5ST_35-pr_Part6 ST_35-pr_Part7


Coming Next:

October should be chock-full of comics goodness, including City on the Edge of Forever #5, Q Gambit #4, and New Visions: Cry Vengeance. 

Cover: Art by Tony Shasteen Subscription Cover: Photo

Cry Vengeance

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Fritz Kessler is a writer and editor for media and technology site He’d be pretty stoked if Shatner is in the next movie. Quiz him on his absurd knowledge of Star Trek guest stars anytime by finding @hellofritzcom on Twitter or at

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Can’t wait to read this.

Agreed. But as I wait to purchase the Trade paperbacks, I’ll have to wait a while yet.

Can’t wait! They keep changing the release date of the comics

Look forward to it. Must save $$.

Going to buy this on Comixology this weekend!

Looks good. Real good!

The concept reads great!

One thing I have noticed about the Ongoing comics is that the characters are clearly traced from screengrabs from various TV shows and the movies. It’s a stylistic choice that has some odd repercussions…

This probably saves a lot of time in production, but the effect is more like those photo-novelizations of the 1980s, and it takes me out of the story, particularly when you see the difference between a traced character and a drawn one, like Karl Urban-McCoy and drawn Cardassian-Q.

It becomes even more problematic when they need to stack characters into a single panel, because they either need to hunt down screengrabs that match their composition (tough), or they need to twist their compositions around the screengrabs, making for very awkward and unrealistic layouts (and I’ve seen more than a few in the ongoing series)

I’m totally OK with the comics not having an _exact_ likeness to the actors. I would really prefer they hand-draw it and develop some classic character sheets for facial expressions and postures. The DC Trek series of the 80s took the actors as a starting point for recognition, but never really tried to draw them photorealistically…and it lent itself to more freedom in terms of layouts, ‘camera’ angles etc.

I felt like this whole thing was going on a different trajectory. I assumed that Kirk and co’s jaunt into the future would have taught them a lesson about their folly of uprooting Section 31 in the past issues of the ongoing comic. No Section 31 means no virus that would have killed them all if not for Bashir’s intervention. Also, how in the world did the Wormhole appear without an Emissary to activate it? I figured the Dominion invasion happened during the JJ verse equivalent of DS9 season 3-4 with Starfleet history being slightly different in some ways, but not quite this much…and where are the Borg?

So alt. Kirk, Spock et al are no longer innocent of the horrors of what has gone before, of what other iterations have already told.

Just sad, so very sad…:(

What’s with everyone, especially the writers and Bob Orci? Can you not have head, hands, hearts knee deep in bloodshed and tyranny just a little? Is no universe spared, even a little?

Bob Orci – consultant – what do you say?

Oops? What would he say? The classic “If it bleeds, it leads”?