Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita #6
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Scott Tipton and David Tipton
Art by: Carlos Nieto with colors by Frank Gamboa
We’ve reached the finale of IDW’s unofficial “TNG Mirror Trilogy” with the Mirror Barclay-centric Terra Incognita series. Beginning way back in 2017 with Mirror Broken Issue #0, we’ve followed his ascent from a lowly engineer on the I.S.S. Stargazer to security chief of the I.S.S. Enterprise-D (by assassinating Mirror Tasha Yar, of course). On the final page of 2018’s Through the Mirror, we learned that Mirror Barclay was a stowaway on the U.S.S. Enterprise-D and had replaced his Prime doppelganger. That storyline became the backdrop for Terra Incognita where, much like Kirk and crew in 1986 San Francisco, Mirror Barclay has been in unknown territory.
Things didn’t look so good for Mirror Barclay at the end of the last issue, with the surprise appearance of a very angry Mirror Data. Apparently, the mirror crew has been watching him using LaForge’s “dimensional scope” and not happy with what he’s been doing in the Prime universe. As we’ve seen from the previous issues, Mirror Barclay’s time here has been mostly trying to assimilate himself into the Enterprise crew by providing value instead of subterfuge, much to the dismay of his interdimensional compatriots. He not only didn’t assassinate his doppelganger, but he dated Ensign Gomez, helped Wesley and Dr. Crusher on their respective away missions and has generally elevated his stock to the rest of the crew. Geordie, most notably, has seen a drastic improvement in Barclay’s work and confidence. While his original plan may have been to sabotage the Enterprise in the name of the Empire, things changed once he found out he didn’t need to literally look over his shoulder every minute for fear of an assassination attempt. He was starting to like this crew.
As all good things must come to an end, so does Mirror Barclay’s vacation in the Prime universe. Mirror Picard has had enough and is demanding Barclay return to the mirror universe immediately and dispatches the Borg-enhanced, emotion chip-enabled Data to fetch him. It still blows my mind how easily they are able to jump universes without an ion storm or a mushroom-powered spore drive, but details.
Thankfully, most of the questions about Prime Barclay and the rest of the crew were answered in this issue. It turns out that he was perfectly preserved in a stasis chamber, which presumably answers whether or not he ate or went to the bathroom. The biggest head scratcher for me is what we don’t see – a final showdown between the two Barclays. I’d like to think that our Barclay would get some sort of retribution on his mirror counterpart for kidnapping him, stealing his job and taking over his life, but, sadly, it didn’t happen.
Terra Incognita has been an interesting series for me. IDW had told us ahead of time that each issue would act as an individual “lost episode” of TNG’s fourth season and initially I was on board. But throughout the series, I became frustrated that certain plot lines were left dangling and the Barclay story seemingly put on hold. However, now that I’ve had a chance to review the 6-issue series as a whole, I’ve come back around. The Tiptons are masterful storytellers and gave us some brilliant, female-led stories with Troi, Selar and Crusher that would have fit perfectly into TNG’s fourth season. What seemed like an excuse for doing more classic TNG comics has left me wanting more. If the last panel is any indication, I may be getting my wish. We do know that IDW is bringing back TOS for “Year Five” so will we see more TNG in 2019? I really hope so.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita #6 was released Wednesday, January 23rd. It is priced at $3.99. You can order it at TFAW with a discount.
The trade paperback collection of all six issues will be released in April. You can pre-order it at Amazon for $19.99.
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