WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for IDW's Star Trek: The Q Conflict, on sale now.
There is certainly no lack of good Star Trek content. Star Trek: Discovery is airing its second season on CBS All Access, which will also be home to the new Picard series. The rest of the series, from The Original Series to Enterprise, are available for our streaming pleasure on Netflix. However, fans may not realize that exciting things are happening in the Star Trek comics as well -- things that we’ve never seen in any of the shows or films.
Star Trek: The Q Conflict is a new IDW miniseries from the creative team of Scott and David Tipton and David Mesina. As the title suggests, the character driving the story along is Q, a designation that refers to both the species of god-like beings and the specific character we’ve come to know and love played by John de Lancie on the shows. Of course, with infinite powers comes infinite boredom, which Captain Picard and others have found out the hard way, as Q’s favorite playthings.
The story starts off in the classic Star Trek way: There’s a problem in space that’s putting people in danger, so the Enterprise-D crew investigates. Q shows up to explain that these problems, like a suddenly unstable sun, are because the other god-like beings in the universe are squabbling with the Q Continuum.
When Picard chastises Q for his actions, the entity takes his mischief further than we've ever seen him go. He transports Picard to a neutral space and offers a solution to the quarreling factions: Let humanity solve their problems for them.
Along with Picard’s Enterprise-D crew, Q brings in Captain Sisko and the Deep Space 9 crew, Captain Janeway and the Voyager crew, and Captain Kirk and his Enterprise crew. He then designates which Captain will represent which powerful race: Janeway represents the Metrons; Kirk gets Trelane, the Squire of Gothos; Sisko gets the Organians; and, of course, Picard represents the Q. The captains and their crews will compete in challenges, with the final winner representing who wins among the god-like beings.
To ensure each captain's participation, Q dangles the vulnerable state of Earth in front of them. The subtext here is that our planet will be harmed if the captains don’t go along with this competition. In short, Q has taken his scheming to an entirely new level.
Since his debut in 1987's Star Trek: TNG episode "Farpoint," Q has repeatedly snatched Captains away from their ships, resulting in some fun crossovers along the way. For example, Q once transported William Riker all the way to Voyager in the Delta Quadrant to take part in a trial regarding whether the Q should be allowed to end their own lives. However, he's never brought a group of Starfleet captains and their crews together like this, let alone forcing them to compete against one another. This is essentially Star Trek fantasy football, with issue #1 ending with the captains being asked to pick teams.
This miniseries is shaping up to be an epic Star Trek crossover, where we'll see the captains both try to outsmart one another and pool their strengths together to get themselves out of this situation. All the while, the captains have to ensure that no one else will be harmed, including the members of their own crews. Each of the captains has faced difficult dilemmas and god-like beings in the past, but this is a different game entirely.