TrekInk: Review of Star Trek Ongoing #40: The Q Gambit Part 6 + 7-Page Preview

QGambit1 HeaderImage

The “gambit” is revealed as Kirk, Sisko, and Q face off against the power-mad Gul Dukat in the last issue of IDW’s Star Trek Ongoing: The Q Gambit. Does the final nu-24th century showdown deliver the goods? Find out with a spoiler-filled review, plus a 7 page preview, after the jump.

Star Trek #40: The Q Gambit, Part 6 
(available Wednesday, January 13)

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

Story:

Headed for a showdown with Gul Dukat deep inside the wormhole, Kirk and Sisko grapple with a final revelation from Q: the extra dimensional Pah-Wraiths have declared war on the Q-Continuum, and the Q are losing. At long last, Q’s “gambit” with Kirk is clear: he’s not out to teach Kirk a lesson about no-win scenarios. Q brought Kirk to the 24th century for help, and hoped that manipulating the crew of the Enterprise into releasing the Prophet would help him defeat the Wraiths.

Meanwhile, on board the Enterprise, the Pah-Wraiths possess the ship’s Dominion crew as Dukat makes his case for joining them in extra-dimensional space. The final task before his “ascension” can begin? Kill the last Prophet, which is still merged with Benjamin Sisko.

As Kirk, Sisko, and Q plan their next move, Dukat beams them all to the Enterprise bridge and murders Sisko straightaway. The Prophet escapes and merges with the closest new vessel, Spock. Wielding his new power just long enough to freeze everyone on the bridge, Spock then transfers the Prophet to a final vessel – Q.

Gul Dukat in Command in IDW's Qgambit 5

Dukat Energizes

The Pah-Wraiths are suddenly no match for the combined power of Q and the Prophet, and all are quickly dispatched. Finally, Gul Dukat is overpowered and Q reduces him to a pile of ashes. Q thanks Kirk for his help, but Kirk demurs, noting that it was Spock, not he, who knew to transfer the power of the prophet to Q, and therein lies the source of Kirk’s faith in beating “no-win” scenarios – his crew.

With the nightmare of Dukat over, Q whisks the Enterprise crew back to their own time, where Kirk and Spock are the only two who remember the Q Gambit. They wonder whether the version of the 24th century they witnessed is truly inevitable, as Q makes one final visit to an old friend…

Review:

The ending of the Q Gambit from writer Mike Johnson is smart, clever, filled with great action and character beats….and it’s also totally different than what I expected. Maybe I should have known better, but I really thought this series was headed toward Q teaching Kirk a “Q-Who?”-style lesson in humility all along. In true DS9 style (that show loved late-in-the-game change-ups), Johnson’s been playing a clever trick on readers this whole time, and finding out both Q and Johnson’s true intentions in this issue made for a delicious twist to the story.

Q in IDWs the Q Gambit

A nu-Q begins to bid Kirk farewell

And speaking of Q, after five issues where he spent most of the time on the sidelines, he gets some real face time here, and it’s a hoot; humbled to begin with, but back to his quippy, slightly scary, fully omnipotent self again in no time. Watching Q wipe the floor with Dukat in a face off between, arguably, Trek’s two best villians, is also fun, and probably an even more satisfying end for Dukat than what he got on DS9. At least, this time, he wasn’t felled by a magic book.

I’m actually surprised at where this issue leaves the fate of the rest of the DS9 gang. Q may have defeated the pah-wraiths but, otherwise, the nu-24th century is still in a shambles, with Worf, Kira, and Sisko now dead, and the Federation in ruins. By and large, it’s been a dark six issues and this one is no different, but Kirk and Spock’s final conversation offers a bit of hope that the future might not be as dire as the one they just witnessed. Their last panel together is about as perfect an end to this story as you could hope for (though, the “epilogue” with Q and Picard feels a bit less necessary).

Artist Tony Shasteen, working again with Davide Mastrolonardo on colors, gave this whole series a look unique to any nu-Trek comic I’ve seen thus far, and he doesn’t disappoint in the final issue. Once again, the stencil-style, hyper-detailed likenesses and backgrounds help deliver a more cinematic feel to the book. There are a ton of highlights and details to mention here – the lens flare (love it or hate it) on the bridges of the Defiant and the Enterprise; the big E engulfed by the fiery Pah-Wraiths on page six; and, oh man, the sheer bad-assery of “Prophet-Q” on page 17. Simply put, the art for this series definitely ends on a high note.

Big E in Wormhole

 Pah-Wraiths overtake the Enterprise

Having been through all six issues several times each now, I can’t help but feel like this story was a bit of a love letter to fans new and old. Seeing my beloved DS9 back in the spotlight, even if just for a few months, was treat enough in itself, but The Q Gambit definitely went beyond an ordinary crossover. It packed an awful lot into six issues, including a great new Q story, and a ton of characters and lore from both nu and classic Trek. And, perhaps most importantly of all, it was a helluva lot of fun all the way through. Well played, IDW.

7 Page Preview:

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Coming Next:

That’s it for The Q Gambit – what a ride! Next up for January – the second issue of Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover The Primate Directive, and the first issue of the two-part nu-verse story, Behemoth!

Cover: Art by Tony Shasteen Subscription Cover: Photo

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Fritz Kessler is a writer and editor for media and technology site FliptheMedia.com. He’s actually pretty damn excited about Justin Lin-Trek. Quiz him on his absurd knowledge of Star Trek guest stars anytime by finding @hellofritzcom on Twitter or visiting fritzkessler.com

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