TrekInk: Review of Star Trek Ongoing #39: The Q Gambit Part 5 + 7-Page Preview

QGambit1 HeaderImage

Dukat and the Dominion are in control of the 24th Century Alpha Quadrant in the penultimate issue of IDW’s Star Trek Ongoing: The Q Gambit. Can the stakes for Kirk and crew get any higher as they face Q’s ultimate no-win scenario? Find out with a spoiler filled review, plus a 7 page preview, after the jump.

Star Trek #39: The Q Gambit, Part 5 
(available Wednesday, December 17)

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

Cover: Art by Tony Shasteen Subscription Cover: Photo

Cover by Tony Shasteen – Subscription Cover: Photo


The Resistance’s position in the Alpha Quadrant goes from bad to downright dismal, with all Resistance outposts having been tracked down and destroyed by the Dominion. Meanwhile, back on Terek Nor, Gul Dukat frees both a Pah-Wraith, and a Prophet, from the sought after Bajoran tablet. After Dukat allows himself to become the corporeal “vessel” for the Pah-Wraith, he quickly eliminates the Prophet’s most likely vessel, Kira Nerys.

Without Kira, the Prophet quickly escapes from Terek Nor and finds a new vessel to merge with – Benjamin Sisko. At the same time, Chekov and Sulu free themselves from confinement on Terek Nor. They manage to liberate other captive Enterprise crew members as well, including Spock and McCoy, but it doesn’t take long for Jem’Hadar to track them down, and for a firefight to erupt on the Promenade.

Gul Dukat in Command in IDW's Qgambit 5

Dukat takes the big chair

Kirk and Prophet-Sisko race to Terek Nor on the Defiant to save the Enterprise crew, and stop Dukat before he can enter the wormhole – now the realm of the Pah-Wraiths. But with Dukat one step ahead and in control of the Enterprise, the crew pinned down on Terek Nor, and the Resistance all but crushed, is Q’s no-win scenario for Kirk finally at hand? And what final fuel does Q have to add to the fire before choices with deadly consequences must be made?


Wowza – now here’s some Star Trek that ventures “into darkness,” as they say. This increasingly bleak vision of the 24th century cooked up by writer Mike Johnson and artist Tony Shasteen fits in with the best of dystopian DS9 ala the Mirror Universe, or the darkest days of the Dominion War, and kicks it up a notch.

Q Gambit 5 DS9 on Fire

Kicking it up a notch on Terek Nor, courtesy of Pah-Wraith Dukat

All the resistance finished off in one fell swoop? Ouch. Worf dying, I could swallow pretty easily back in issue 3, but Kira? Holy crap. Dukat in seemingly complete control, and no clear path to victory for our heroes? Hot damn. And then, just when you think it’s really, really bad enough, Q shows up and adds another piece to the equation that I won’t spoil here, but suffice it to say, nu-Kirk has never faced a scenario quite like this one. Johnson throws some real surprises into the mix here, and The Q Gambit is all the better for it.

Visually speaking, this is my favorite of the Q Gambit issues to date, jam packed with epic images and details that really take it to the next level. Shasteen, with Davide Mastrolonardo on colors this time around, adds terrific dynamism to the Prophet and Pah-Wraith, with their glowing energy and flowing tendrils, that makes them both beautiful and frightening at once. The panels with the Defiant lowering down to Resistance outpost Paradise in the opening sequence, complete with gorgeous, windswept clouds, are wonderfully cinematic. And with so much action crammed into this issue, there’s much, much more to feast your eyes on.

The defiant in IDW's Q Gambit 5

A view of the Defiant to savor

All told, this is a terrific installment, and what a thrill to see the way this whole story has come together. Finally, Kirk is faced with a tough situation that, for now at least, it seems like he can’t maneuver his way out of with a gallant, rule-breaking act of self-sacrifice. All the pieces are well set here for a killer climax, and I can’t wait to see how Shasteen and Johnson wrap it all up next month.

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:

Still to come in December – the first issue of Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover The Primate Directive. And then stay tuned next month when we finish off The Q Gambit!

Cover: Art by Tony Shasteen Subscription Cover: Photo

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Fritz Kessler is a writer and editor for media and technology site He’d be happy with Rupert Wyatt directing Trek 3, but thinks Justin Lin would be a bold and beneficial move. Quiz him on his absurd knowledge of Star Trek guest stars anytime by finding @hellofritzcom on Twitter or visiting

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It’s a faaaaaaaaaaake timeline.

The art looks very good! Eventually i will catch up with most of IDW´s comics.

I just wish Mike Johnson had a better handle on the characters. His dialog is awful.

Read it loved it

I liked this comic and can’t wait for the remaining ones to come out

This is weird… just today I watched “Q-Less” again. Sisko punches Q in this issue, too, I hope? Or at least the next, right? Right?

Ha, @6 either that, or Kirk gets to. It’s gotta happen, though.

In other comic news, artist Andrea Freccero has posted some art from this month’s Trek-related Topolino:

@1. Riker’s Mailbox – December 18, 2014

That comment just made my day :)

I am thoroughly enjoying this arc, the artwork especially has been absolutely detailed and amazing.

Of course, DS9 is one of the few places where it makes no difference if the Enterprise is 1200 or 2500 feet long, because the station itself would mysteriously “expand” whenever it needed to support the Enterprise-D as opposed to a runabout. The above panel works either way!

9 love that comment and so true

Character dialogue IS awful. Just like NuTrek character dialogue.

It fits…Sadly.

We are such epic stories done in comics and we get something like Into Darkness as a movie?

Trekkies, instead of fighting amongst yourselves, go be productive and fight Star Wars fans who are bashing the Trek franchise :)

The Wait Is Over…
Justin Lin Will Direct ‘Star Trek 3′

The search for a Star Trek 3 director is over. Justin Lin, director of multiple Fast and Furious films as well as True Detective season 2, will helm the sci-fi sequel, tentatively set for release in 2016. He replaces Roberto Orci, who remains attached as a producer. Read more about Justin Lin Star Trek 3 below.