Warp Factor Trek

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After Q Junior (aka “QJ”) sent Jake Sisko, Nog and Alexander into a strange alternate universe in the first issue of this comics mini-series, the story continues. Can they help the USS Avery and its motley crew – captained by Dukat – defeat the Breen and escape the time loop that is trapping the ship?

Log Entry

While the Avery battles a Breen warship, Alexander admits in his personal log that he’s reaching his limit. He stabs a Klingon on the Avery’s bridge, Alexander’s log entry referring to the victim as Valkor, a priest whom he killed while serving in the murderous Red Path cult. The Breen battleship destroys the Avery, resetting the time loop.

When the time loop resets, Alexander, Nog and Jake find themselves in the Avery’s mess hall

Alexander is easily annoyed by Q Junior, who voices an interest in helping the group of travellers with their self-development. For Alexander, this means no longer being murderous.

The group reveals the time loop to Captain Dukat… who dismisses them, pressed for time. To ascertain the truth, Jake suggests that Tuvix perform a mind meld, which Dukat acknowledges might give them a tactical advantage over the Breen. Tuvix mind-melds with Alexander and tells Dukat that their account is accurate.

Jadzia plans to navigate the Avery through a dangerous maneuver

Defending the dilithium-rich planet Dozaria, Jadzia pilots the Avery through a risky series of evasive maneuvers. Tuvix fires torpedoes at the Breen vessel, causing it to explode.

However, the Avery then loses all power. Breen reinforcements are inevitable. Commander Shaw recruits Nog to help restore the ship’s systems, though Dukat is dubious of the young men, ordering Tuvix to watch them.

In sickbay, Alexander aids Valkor, accepting that this is a different person than the Valkor he killed. Meanwhile, another Breen ship closes in on the Avery. Q Junior feigns an injury and surprises Alexander by unexpectedly appearing on a sickbay biobed.

Surprising Alexander, Q Junior asks him about how good it felt to heal Valkor

In a corridor, Alexander meets Jake, who notes that the time loop has finally ended. Though Jake is determined to get home, Alexander expresses that he doesn’t feel like he belongs there. Q Junior is happy with how Alexander treated Valkor and plans to provide an even more exciting challenge for him.

Breen troops, firing at the youngsters, invade the Avery. Alexander rushes them and phasers them into unconsciousness. One of the soldiers disappears; Jake wonders if this means the Breen can cloak and Tuvix says it’s a new ability. Q Junior is pleased with how thrilling the scenario is. Jake picks up a beacon that one of the Breen dropped. While Alexander contemplates his own potential, a squadron of four more Breen beam aboard, visible to the youngsters.

Status Report

A bunch of Breen invading the Avery

Is it coincidental that this Breen-inclusive comic has been released while the species is also being fleshed out in Discovery Season 5? Whether this was some well-considered masterplan or not, this comic portrays them as formidable as ever. One of the most interesting newly added facets is that individual Breen troops can cloak, the species having been rumoured to be capable of cloaking in TNG: “Hero Worship”. Behind the scenes, DS9: “The Changing Face of Evil” originally would have established their cloaking ability as fact.

Alexander’s earlier killing of the priest Valkor is unexpected. If a previous comic story arc is vital to understanding this one, why not pre-warn the reader of this? The way this particular story point is handled here is mind-boggling for readers who are only familiar with televised Trek. Speaking of which, Q Junior mentioning the events of “Q2” (along with Nog referring to Voyager’s return in “Endgame”) makes for good backstory.

Seeing Dukat continue to behave as a Starfleet officer – a captain no less! – takes some getting used to. The same goes for the portrayal of a Tuvix who is capable of mind-melding. There’s nothing in canon Trek to say he wouldn’t be able to mind meld but the question of whether he can is somewhat thought-provoking.

A full-page portrayal of the mind meld between Alexander and Tuvix

Writer Morgan Hampton even gives us some interesting character insights into the alternate universe’s Jadzia, such as that she never joined with Curzon Dax and that, while studying at Starfleet Academy, she wrote her thesis about the Curzon Maneuver. Even the name of that maneuver is an excellent bit of trivia. Furthermore, a full two-page spread of the USS Avery wreaking destruction on the Breen battleship, thanks to this maneuver, is wonderful. However, it’s not entirely clear how revealing to the Avery crew that they’re caught in a time loop enables them to gain victory in the battle.

The character likenesses by artist Angel Hernández are good, the colours by Nick Filardi are beautifully vibrant, and visual continuity is well maintained from the first issue. The Breen look excellent, although their beacon could have been illustrated more clearly.

This issue has three different covers. Covers A and B, by Jake Bartok and Megan Levens respectively, are suitably relevant to the story. On the other hand, the retailer incentive cover, by Andy Price, is hardly representative of the tale being told. As usual for IDW, however, all three covers look fantastic.

Cover B and the retail incentive cover
Rating: 4/5

Delving into Alexander’s character arc makes for some great storytelling. Some of the positioning of characters is odd, such as when an apparently injured crewman yells, “It burns! Please help me!” but then turns out to be Q Junior, or when Alexander scampers off on his attack run towards the Breen troops. Altogether, this is a good read, albeit with a little room for improvement. Bonus points for not including any full-page dossiers this time around!

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