Sometimes jumping right into the middle of a story is the best way to get a real idea of what it’s about. Take Star Trek Voyager for instance. If you start at episode 1 it’s not exactly the thrilling story-telling you’d expect coming out of the most gripping part of DS9, but if you’re flung right into a fight with the Borg somewhere in the middle of the series, it’s much easier to fall in love. At least it was for me.
It’s with this in mind that I picked up the latest issue – issue 3 – of “The Q Gambit”, a new Star Trek title from IDW. Any concerns about floundering around trying to figure out what was happening were laid to rest on page 1 with a “cheat sheet” introducing the characters* and summarising the story so far.
It is quick to establish that this is a story that involves Kirk, Q, some familiar DS9 faces and time travel. Talk about a cross-over! Those deeply familiar with everything Star Trek will also notice the little credit for story consultant is Roberto Orci – one of the screenwriters for the 2009 Star Trek movie (or “reboot movie”). Yip, this is a New Star Trek universe story. Die hard original canon fans stay clear.
Although, maybe not.
This is definitely one of those comics that is written for the Trekkies. There’s a reference-a-panel for the first few pages. “The Dominon”, “The Cardassian Union”, “Wolf 359”, the appearance of Worf’s brother, Kurn. In this alternative future, Sisko is a cargo pilot smuggler/spy (now there’s irony). The entire issue is practically one big nudge and wink.
Then there’s the art. The Q Gambit is the first Star Trek project by illustrator Tony Shasteen, but one would think he’d been drawing the likes of Dr Bashir and Zoe Saldana’s Uhura forever. The characters all show an incredible likeness to their flesh-and-blood counterparts.
Great care has been taken to carry this likeness through in the way the characters speak and react to their circumstances.
The Q Gambit promises to be a tightly-wound adventure bringing in all the best elements of Star Trek – political intrigue, satire, loveable characters (and yes the bending of the laws of physics) – in bold, colourful and detailed artwork.
For a gripping tale packed with Trekkie fan service.
*It may seem strange that Star Trek characters would need to be introduced, but when it comes to the post-cannon days you need a bit of help to establish which universe you’re in (and sometimes even who’s still alive!).