Friday, February 6, 2015

Star Trek Stories Continue Between Movies in the Pages of Comic Books

Star Trek is riding a wave of popularity again after the success of its two most recent feature films that rebooted the franchise, STAR TREK (2009) and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (2013).  Yet while the franchise was supported for years by television shows to build a foundation of stories and addition to the original series that started the adventure which ran from 1966 - 1969 there continuously was a Star Trek series airing on television from 1987 through 2005 starting with The Next Generation and ending with Enterprise...there hasn't been a Star Trek show on television in nearly a decade.  So without a television series to serve as a bridge between movies for character and plot developments, comic books have taken on that role to provide a continuation of Star Trek adventures for fans to enjoy.

So I've wondered if the events that took place in the 2009 STAR TREK movie totally rebooted the franchise essentially wiping the slate clean of all the franchise's existing canon and starting everything over from scratch.  Does that mean the stories from the original 1960's era series, The Next Generation (1987-1994), Deep Space Nine (1993-1999) and Voyager (1995-2001) plus the movies that were released between 1979 and 2002 now officially never transpired when it comes to Star Trek lore?!  For example, we saw in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS how they recreated the story and plot around the nemesis Khan and switched around Kirk from Spock in who sacrifices their lives for the good of the crew from what took place in 1982's The Wrath of Khan movie. Well I have an answer now after recently reading the graphic novel STAR TREK: The Q Gambit which collects issues 35-40 of IDW Publishing ongoing monthly comic book serial that follows the new adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise following the events of the 2009 motion picture.  "The Q Gambit" is the ninth volume that collects these issues in a graphic novel format where you can read a bundled story arc rather than going through and separately buying a comic book each month.

The story begins with Captain Jean Luc Picard aboard the Enterprise mourning the news that Spock had recently sacrificed himself by flying an experimental ship into an energy wave to avoid it destroying the planets of the Federation in the same way it wiped out the Romulan Empire as occurred in 2009's STAR TREK movie.  Nothing has has changed from the "original Star Trek" timeline as far as they know Spock died saving the universe and the cast of characters from THE NEXT GENERATION is moving forward as if their past wasn't altered in any way by the events, like the planet Vulcan being destroyed, that took place in the recent movies. Picard's long-time adversary the omnipotent being called Q (on a side note I've always wondered if Q and Wesley Crusher are the same person - has anyone else ever thought that?) materializes in front of him.  Q shares some news with Picard in this comic book story that defines the whole Star Trek franchise from here on out and explains how the old Star Trek and new Star Trek can both exist simultaneously. Q tells Picard that Spock isn't dead but rather was transported to another timeline in a parallel dimension. Voila - there you have it!  The events in the movies are a separate dimension that is similar yet different from the one of previous Star Trek lore!  So in the 2009 movie Spock went back in time but not in his own timeline.  Having watched the Star Trek tv series and movies from elementary school through college this revelation just made me so much more comfortable with the whole reboot of the franchise.

Picard urges Q not to interfere with this alternate timeline as the character fades away.  You just know that Q is heading to the Star Trek movie universe as Picard yells out "Q! No!" 

We are taken to a scene where the alternate timeline Enterprise with Kirk, Spock and crew have just arrived at a previously unexplored star system.  Suddenly, they receive a distress call from a Federation supply ship that is being attacked by Klingons. The Enterprise heads to provide aid to the civilian ship called the Smallwood when they become ensnared in a trap with five Klingon war ships circling them on the attack.  Uhura exclaims "Smallwood! no way in Japanese that would be KOBAYASHI!"  The name of the unwinnible test simulation Kirk cheated on at the Star Fleet Academy to win.  The Enterprise is then blown up by the Klingons.

Kirk finds himself on the bridge of the Enterprise as Q sits in the Captain's Chair clapping.  He congratulates the crew on seeing through his illusion of replicating the Kobayashi scenario but tells Kirk that people can't cheat their way through every obstacle they face.  Q than tells Kirk he is going to present the crew of the Enterprise with a true no-win scenario and see how they handle it.

The Enterprise finds itself approaching a space station...the one from the television series DEEP SPACE NINE (1993-1999).  Q has transported the Enterprise to yet another parallel timeline/dimension where the Dominion has won the war the Federation had won in the television series.  The Enterprise is boarded by the Dominion's warriors, a genetically-bred for fighting race known as the Jem "Hadar.  They are taken prisoner and begin interacting with the characters from Deep Space Nine who are obviously in different circumstances then the ones from the television program.  Is this an unwinnable scenario for the crew of the Enterprise?

I'm not going to spoil the rest of the story by giving the outcome, though hint hint there is a STAR TREK 3 movie coming out in the not too distant future, so you'll have to read Star Trek Ongoing Volume 9: The Q Gambit which is being published on March 24, 2015 to find out how this drama concludes.  I will say it was nice seeing a story arc involved the characters from The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine television shows interacting with those from the new movies.  Other than Q, and brief cameo by Jean Luc Picard, the focus of the story is primarily a Deep Space Nine plot just saying so any The Next Generation fans who pick up the graphic novel aren't expecting more.  I really enjoyed the read myself and appreciated how it gave an explanation that binds together the differing aspects of the Star Trek franchise we've witnessed since the movies came out.


The crew of the new Star Trek film franchise encounters the classic Trek villain Q for the first time in this galaxy-spanning adventure developed in association with screenwriter/producer Roberto Orci!

The mischievous Q sends James T. Kirk on a quest that will see the Enterprise joining forces with familiar faces from Star Trek lore, in “The Q Gambit!”

For more information about STAR TREK comic books, visit

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