These batch of issues focuses in a central theme of how perception impair judgement but also how actions one cannot see defines the trajectory of certain stories.
Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 Unlike the previous issue which was played in more of a standard straight-on battle, the idea here is about approach and consequence. Q, in trying to provoke as many people as possible takes aim at another opponent in the prophets that inhabit the wormhole near Deep Space Nine. Each of the ships take a different approach depending which DS9 crew member is on board. What is the most telling is when Kirk and his Enterprise actually enter the wormhole and the people he sees are in the form of Edith from “Shore Leave” and Gary Lockwood from “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. It is an interesting personal inflection as on that Worf makes in real life with Commander Dax. The story becomes about how you see the world versus those that define you.
Star Trek TNG: Terra Incognita #6 Unlike the previous issue in this series which had more of a stand alone episodic structure to it, this one is more fueled by the overall storyline of the mirror universe Picard looking to steal more technology. The art also is not as dynamic as the previous issue with more skewed lines and color palette which makes the characters seem more blocky. the texture of the characters’ motivation also are not as crisp.
Star Wars Adventures #21 This issue has Han, Luke & Chewie, likely between “Hope” and “Empire”, doing a supply run or Leia on an outer world. Han has a price on his head but seems more reckless than in “Hope”. The more brazen qualities apparent in “Solo” seem to come through which is almost refreshing since Chewie knows he is capable of it. Luke does have to finagle behind the scenes so ultimately there is not any true effect on canon. Another Wild Tales bookends this issue with the story of a small creature named Kabe in Mos Eisley who is able to accomplish a small mission in terms of infiltration versus something that a small army could not. It shows the thematic structure of simple solutions.
Star Trek: Waypoint Special 2019 The stories within this issue traverse the entire structure of the Star Trek Universe in different ways, two from notions of communication perspective and the other two from approaching the essence of relationships from logical versus emotional perspectives. On the communication side, Tasha Yar and Dr. Crusher head to a ship where everyone has disappeared but no one remembers them actually being there. The essence of different realities using technology plays upon this idea as does a voyage when Janeway isan earlier ship with Tuvok as a Lt. The planet they are visiting is shifting through different dimensions. The other side of the coin functions in a TOS tale first. It follows the fact that McCoy falls in love per se with a Vulcan female scientist and he can’t get through to her. Spock’s advice: “Don’t even try” which is said without emotion. The flip story involves Worf post DS9 and TNG running away from his feelings when he was still in love with the alien Dax who changed bodies on him. All the stories create an inherent bridge between the crews and universes more than some of the other crossovers.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of choice but also the rule of command permeates the essence of many of the stories in collection between the essence of morality but also practical application.
The Q Conflict #3 The continuing structure of the omnipresent beings staging a gladiator competition of sorts combining the different crews across the pantheon (except Discovery) is a bit more clean and concise in this issue simply because there is a little more explanation of the interpersonal struggles at play. Q’s moral ineptitude but gray area of perspective continues to personify the complicity. Trelane integrates a notion of galactic capture-the-flag which is interesting especially when he ups the stakes with a planet killer. The stakes, as one of the characters points out, keep the situation from becoming too dire.
Star Wars Adventures #20 This tome has Anakin and Master Yoda on a planet where they discover an old friend with the power of invisibility. The thematic of realizing that which you cannot see but what can be perceived resounds in the story especially when Anakin uses a very simple problem solving tactical maneuver that really helps to continue to define the kind of Jedi he might have become. The secondary story in this issue tells a similar progression in that of Wild Space using a story of Padewan Barriss in a similar way by showing a quest/journey to recover a book for her master is not for the end result but what is learned along the way.
Star Trek: Terra Incognita #5 Like the Animated series episode “The Infinite Vulcan”, this story continues to examine the notion about messing with genetic code and the idea of what is better for a society in terms of progress or nostalgia. The crew of the Enterprise uses practical deduction to make their work easier but the dynamic between the command presence of Dr. Crusher versus Worf is an interesting dynamic that was never brought to a head per se during the series. While it doesn’t get too heated, the balance of the warrior mindset versus the medical mindset rests in the passive aggressive which is an interesting path. The mirror structure underneath continues to coalesce but with no true progression in this issue.
Star Wars – Flight Of The Falcon One Shot Hondo as a character has always been an interesting comic bright spot in the Star Wars universe and hopefully with get a tinge of live action impression at some point. This story follows Hondo having holed up on Baatu with the Falcon while Chewbacca is away. Mahko is a flyer and an all-around sharp flyer who, like Han Solo, has her emotions and priorities in both worlds. She is perhaps a little naive, wears her heart too much on her sleeve and trusts even though it will not turn out well. Hondo agrees to a race with the Falcon for some extra money and almost gets it stolen from him with a chicken tug-of-war with a tractor beam. It is a little childish on Hondo’s part especially when he tries to talk Chewie into letting him do it on a results basis. That said, this one shot really has a sense of character work that comes off both effortless but also organic.
By Tim Wassberg
Seeing the textures of this series put together doesn’t diminish its tale at all but gives it a fuller conception as a cautionary tale. “Star Wars Adventures: Tales From Vader’s Castle” [Cavan Scott/IDW/120pgs] tells the approach of a rebel team into the planet of Mustafar which has become Anakin/Darth Vader’s home either by conscious or unconscious perception. It is fitting but also bathed in metaphor as it should be. As seen in parallel to say “The Mummy” from 1999, every character has their own flaws but also must know their limits. The lead character, a female pilot Llla, does not seem aware of Vader but the stories here correlate to the actual confidence building of a small insect-like crew member in Skritt (honestly the weakest part of the story). Different characters tell different stories like Han Solo on one of his misadventures where he is caught in the path of one of the disgraced witches who helped resurrect Darth Maul or an Ewok who was led astray in his aspect to avoid strife and appease his predators. Ultimately this reflects back on Vader’s merciless pursuit of the rebels until they leave. He takes down one of their ranks in Hudd, a gluttonous thief but does so off-screen while also dismantling one of the droids with his light saber. But ultimately there is a sadness in Vader simply because you almost understand he wants to be left alone but yet is brought out as a blunt instrument as that is his purpose.
By Tim Wassberg