Warp Factor Trek

The Star Trek Fan Website

This comic, set between Seasons 2 and 3 of the Star Trek: Picard TV series, is the second and final comics mini-series to be based on the show, after Star Trek: Picard – Countdown. Is this comic worth gazing up to the stars for? Does it engage the reader or set a warp-speed course for mediocrity?

Log Entry

Wearing a Starfleet uniform, Seven of Nine oversees alien peace talks, but a conflict erupts! It’s a Kobayashi Maru holoprogram. Admiral Jean-Luc Picard — the program’s developer — arrives and emphasizes Starfleet’s diverse tasks, trying to persuade Seven to join, but she opts for the Fenris Rangers. At Château Picard, Laris informs Jean-Luc of a Starfleet message. Returning to the USS Stargazer — commanded by Andorian captain Mekara — Picard heads to Jenjor VI. As captain of the Stargazer decades ago, he encountered a Romulan warbird captained by Commander Xenius there. The Stargazer detects no life on the planet, and an away team is ambushed by masked assailants but assisted by Hiro, an alien. Seven arrives, noting the predicament exceeds Starfleet’s scope.

Xenius is approached by a Reman woman

Twenty-seven years ago, Romulans led by Commander Xenius were preparing to depart Jenjor VI when a Reman woman warned of deadly radioactivity from Romulan mining on the planet. She pleaded with Xenius to take their baby daughter, Reska, but a guard dismissed her. Now, Seven reveals that, following Picard’s visit, Romulans bombed the planet, forcing the Jenjorans underground. Marauders — descendants of left-behind Remans — ambush the Jenjoran sanctuary. Stopping the assault, Picard meets the Marauder leader: the now-adult Reska. In orbit, Xenius’ warbird decloaks. Referring to himself as Praetor, Xenius claims the planet.

A space battle ensues. Reska tells Picard about stargazing in her childhood and recalls Jenjorans marginalising Reman slaves. She and Picard are abruptly beamed to the Romulan warbird by Xenius. When dealings with him turn tense, Reska kills Xenius to avenge her mother. Seven sympathises. Regretful, she and Picard advise Reska, bridging Fenris Ranger and Starfleet differences to broker peace between her and the remaining Jenjorans. In an epilogue, Seven — back aboard the Fenris Ranger ship Tendu — is contacted by Janeway for a conversation.

The Tendu being contacted by Janeway

Status Report

The setting for most of this comic — between the second and third seasons — is fairly interesting. It’s combined with various flashbacks as well as other changes to make the story even richer.

In the first scene, it’s great to see Seven of Nine apparently as a Starfleet officer on a colourful peace-making away mission, since this is a perspective that’s never shown in the TV series. When it turns out she’s been undertaking a version of the Kobayashi Maru scenario, there’s the thrill of having seen a new iteration of a classic simulation and, as Picard explains, the changes make sense to Seven’s personality, as she finds socialising difficult. Despite the nostalgic namecheck, the exact connection to the Kobayashi Maru — which isn’t even mentioned in this version — is unclear.

Number One, Laris, and Picard

At Château Picard, seeing Jean-Luc’s dog, Number One, is great, since he otherwise appears only briefly, in the show’s first season. The return to the USS Stargazer, from Season 2, is also exciting, with Picard mentioning “our recent encounter with Q.”

Issue #1 begins by showing us a series of encounters which Picard has with various women, giving us a glimpse of how he relates to them — from Seven to Laris and Captain Mekara. This foreshadows his encounter with Reska.

Picard’s Stargazer facing Xenius’ warbird

A flashback to the older Stargazer provides nostalgia. However, the comic seems to miss a trick by omitting secondary characters we’d expect to find aboard the ship, whether that be Jack Crusher, Vigo, or Moritz Benayoun.

Hiro’s identity and connection to Seven of Nine might puzzle readers unfamiliar with the audio drama No Man’s Land, in which he was originally introduced. Fortunately, the end of Issue #1, with Seven arriving, makes sense with or without that level of understanding.

Reska’s mother, pleading to Xenius on behalf of the Remans

Since Remans are only rarely shown (and Reman females are even rarer), it’s brilliant that Remans (beginning with Reska’s mother in Issue #2) appear here. Romulan mining operations fittingly harken back to the 2009 Star Trek film that served as fertile ground for seeding backstory to Star Trek: Picard (particularly the Romulan supernova). The plight of the Reman/Romulan hybrid Reska is intriguing and the conclusion to Issue #2 — with Xenius returning — ups the stakes, especially as he identifies himself as the Praetor.

In Issue #3, a mention of Coppelius and what happened there in the first season lends some context to this story. Picard uses the term “stargazer” to refer to childhood Reska, delightfully giving the comic’s title additional meaning. His captivity by Xenius aboard an outdated Romulan warbird is conceptually reminiscent of when he was technically captured by the Duras sisters, commanding an outdated Klingon Bird-of-Prey, in Star Trek Generations. With this comic meant to prelude Season 3, the third issue deals with this plot point in fantastic fashion; the encouragement Seven receives to join Starfleet is highly fitting, since she’s in Starfleet by the start of the third season.

Seven wearing her Starfleet uniform in the first scene from this comic

The theme of subjugated species links this comic to the previous Picard comic, Countdown, which had the same creative staff. Where Yuyatis were oppressed, here it’s Jenjorans. In both, the oppressors are Romulan. Here, the Remans are also persecutors of the Jenjorans but are themselves oppressed by the Romulans. D’deridex-class Romulan warbirds feature in both mini-series.

Despite the multiple similarities between this story and other productions, this comic feels enough like its own tale. There are also several effective twists, from Seven’s supposed away mission that turns out to be an amended version of the Kobayashi Maru scenario, to the young Picard’s apparently successful negotiations with Xenius which led to unintended societal ruin.

Rating: 4/5

The art style and colours in this mini-series are beautiful. Hiro’s difficulties with English/Federation Standard are another highlight of this comic, just as they were in No Man’s Land. All in all, this is a highly recommended read.

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