Warp Factor Trek

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The comics mini-series Star Trek: Holo-ween comes to a close in this fourth issue. Does it go out with a bang… or a boo?

Log Entry

In her log, Deanna Troi confesses feeling hatred towards Redjac. On the holodeck, the Redjac-possessed Crewman Bloch, alongside Armus, confronts her and the rest of a four-person Enterprise away team. Troi realises that “Armus” isn’t actually the alien she and her crewmates think it is. Redjac recalls its origins, explaining that it’s a fake version he created using Borg nanites. The away team fights off both beings and rushes out of the holodeck with Redjac’s former captives… who turn out to be holograms and disappear from sight, implying that the real hostages are still on the holodeck. Redjac threatens that he will leave the holodeck to collect more captives. That’s precisely what the “Sim-Armus” proceeds to do, terrifying the crew.

As the Sim-Armus frightens the crew, Data comes face-to-face with the being

During a briefing in the observation lounge, Riker suggests bluffing Redjac, just as Captain Kirk would likely do. Picard contacts Redjac and tells it they are about to activate the ship’s self-destruct system. Although Redjac suspects the rouse, Picard commences the auto-destruct sequence. Redjac delays the countdown and mentions a hatred for humanoids. Ending the transmission, Picard comments that Redjac’s loathing could be manipulated as a vulnerability.

While the crew continues to go about their daily business living with the ordeal of constant fear caused by Redjac, Troi muses about fear in her log. She also does so when Reg Barclay visits her, panicking but remembering her having told him that any fear can be overcome. She seems to begin devising an idea about how to master the fear that Redjac has been causing.

A security team hear Picard order a mandatory evacuation

Leading a security team in the lower decks, Riker is shocked and objects when, over the ship’s PA system, Picard announces that all hands must abandon ship. Redjac and the Sim-Armus take a turbolift to the bridge but have been fooled by Riker’s protestations and find that the bridge crew are already prepared for their arrival. Picard demands that Redjac surrender and says they have adjusted their phasers so Borg nanites can’t adapt to them. While Data finds and frees the seven hostages on the holodeck, Redjac causes the bridge crew to be knocked back by their own phaser blasts, angering Picard.

Troi arrives with a subspace communication device. Redjac mocks her and counters that they can’t map his intelligence net. He plans to turn the entire starship into a holodeck so he can keep causing fear to run rampant. The necessary map comes from Scotty, thanks to Redjac’s possession of him many years before. With both Redjac and the Sim-Armus defeated, Crewman Bloch is recovered, unaware of what has occurred while he’s been under Redjac’s influence. Picard personally congratulates Troi.

Picard praises Troi for her actions during the Redjac encounter

As life gets back to normal aboard the ship and the vessel celebrates Halloween, Worf tells Troi and Picard about some Klingon holidays and the rituals they involve. Picard and Troi are initially intrigued enough to ask him questions about them but Troi turns down an invitation to one of the events, asking Worf to send her a card from it instead.

Status Report

Unfortunately, this concluding issue features much the same downsides as the previous issues in the series. These include poor character likenesses and too many words of dialogue written in bold. However, I like how this issue continues to give us extracts from Deanna Troi’s log. Given that she’s canonically one of the least written-for characters from all the TNG regulars, featuring her as the main character has been one of the strengths of this comic series and the trend fortunately continues here.

Redjac recalls how the Sim-Armus was created

It’s severely disappointing that “Armus” turns out to be merely a facsimile. I was definitely looking forward to him posing as a serious threat alongside Redjac. The way Redjac says he created the Armus lookalike, incorporating Borg technology, is interesting, however.

It’s extremely puzzling that Data doesn’t report to the away team his encounter (in issue 3) with apparently trapped crew members who were clearly holograms and who suddenly vanished. It’s also unclear why, in this issue, Troi doesn’t sense the absence of emotion when she, Data, and the rest of the away team encounter more of the holographic officers. Their disappearance bizarrely seems to surprise Data despite the same thing having happened while he was present in the previous issue.

Guinan appears… fleetingly

It’s nice to briefly see Guinan and I must admit the crew’s actions in tricking Redjac with a false evacuation had me also fooled. More predictable was when Data saves the real hostages while Redjac is preoccupied on the bridge. I love how Redjac addresses a worst-case scenario of the Enterprise entirely becoming a holodeck. His defeat is nostalgic and conceptually clever but poorly executed. Left entirely unclear is how a “subatomic diagram” of Redjac’s personality was obtained from Scotty’s brain cells. Troi refers to it as “a perfect map” but this is highly doubtful, to the point of being ridiculous. On the other hand, Worf talking about Klingon holidays makes for a fun end to the tale.

As per usual with this comics series, cover A is far more appropriate than cover B, though they are both excellent illustrations in their own right. It would have been brilliant to have seen Worf, in his sea monster guise, appear as massive as cover B makes him look. What also would have been fantastic is if the Redjac-possessed Bloch looked anywhere near as terrifying as he appears on cover A.

Cover B of this issue
Rating: 3/5

Though entertaining, this is a fairly mediocre conclusion to an average comics mini-series. It would have been far greater if it had delivered on what had been promised by issue 3’s epic cliffhanger, making Armus the real deal.

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