Warp Factor Trek

The Star Trek Fan Website

Taking as many as three issues to tell a story about an evasive maneuvers exam is pushing the limits of reader patience, depending on whether there is a good story to be told in the span of those three issues. As Picard’s Academy wraps up with this — its sixth and final issue — is a good story being told here? Does this issue engage the reader at warp speed?

Log Entry

With the Romulan AI still apparently malfunctioning and still no response from Starfleet, Picard rallies his classmates. K makes a joke about most of his brains being in his muscular arms. On the contrary, Picard thinks about how all his colleagues have had great ideas and improved their tactical plan. Each of them readies themselves to defeat the Romulans. The class then puts the plan into action, Jean-Luc admitting that he never felt more like he belonged somewhere.

The cadets’ training ship confronts the Romulan fleet

Their ship subsequently hurries to Earth while, on the holodeck, the Romulan holograms have escaped the grocery store where they’d found themselves stuck. The cadets, arriving safely back at Starfleet Academy, are met by their professors, Spock and Galen. The classmates realise that the scenario they found themselves in was all part of the test, designed to determine whether they could collaborate as a unified crew. Having led the Romulans to Earth despite having used teamwork, they have failed, much to their disappointment.

Jean-Luc returns to visit Academy groundskeeper Boothby, who offers him some tea. Picard expresses his dissatisfaction about failing the test and is shocked to discover that the tea is delicious. He’s realised that he has much to learn from others and has gotten past overthinking about his father.

Picard socialising with Boothby, discussing their tea and Jean-Luc’s father

After leaving Boothby, Picard meets up with his classmates and immediately agrees to attend a party with them. They lift some chairs and, while they party, it turns out that one of them, Doq, is actually a member of the Q Continuum (as is one of the comic’s narrators, who wonders how Jean-Luc would look with a shaved head).

Status Report

Since Issue #5 ended with Picard saying “Eng-”, the fact this issue doesn’t start with him saying “-gage” is bizarre. It subverts expectations and beckons the question of what else in this issue might do so.

K’s joke that most of his brains are in his biceps is endearingly funny and it’s great to see Jean-Luc acknowledge the value of his cadet-level crewmates. This final issue also seems to be an apt point for them to be reintroduced.

Jean-Luc speaking defiantly

Picard telling his classmates, “If we’re going to be damned, let’s go out damn good,” syncs well with him saying in The Next Generation pilot “Encounter at Farpoint”, “If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are.

It’s also fantastic that each of the cadets has a part to play in defeating the Romulans and that a full two-page spread shows their vessel confronting the Romulan fleet. The outcome of the test negates these positives and is certainly predictable, given the sheer amount of times that potentially dangerous scenarios encountered at Starfleet Academy are shown to be illusory.

Spock is written well out of character. Even in general, the meaning of much of the dialogue is unclear and the tea that Boothby gives Picard would surely be more meaningful if it had been Earl Grey, not just generic tea. However, at least the character arc that Picard has undergone in this comic is emphasised here, having overcome his reluctance to engage at parties, and so is the importance of him having learned the phrase, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose.

Doq and Jean-Luc considering mistakes

The ending is almost completely illogical. It refers to Picard’s friend Doq as actually a member of the Q Continuum posing as a human. In reality, Issue #1 of this mini-series refers to Doq as El-Aurian, so his description here is just plain wrong, as well as highly unbelievable. What makes more sense is when this issue refers to one of the narrators (using dark brown dialogue boxes throughout the series) as Q too. However, this doesn’t excuse how annoying those comments have been — it merely explains who the narrator is, and the fact that it’s taken as many as six issues to clarify that relatively minor detail is inexcusable. Bonus points for having the “Q” narrator describe humans as “butterflies with their wings pinned,” echoing Q himself in Star Trek: Picard’s second season finale, “Farewell”. However, the comic unwisely and frustratingly teases a plot point that should really have been part of the story: the question of how Picard became bald.

This issue has three different covers: an A and B cover, in addition to a retail incentive cover. These are all irrelevant to the events of the story and the Retailer Incentive Cover, by Megan Huang, looks hardly anything like the interior art. Cover A, by Sweeney Boo, at least features the characters looking more like they do in the story, while Cover B, by Aaron Harvey, shows a beautiful scenic vista of a shuttlecraft — Thelin, a reference to a character from the 1970s animated Star Trek episode “Yesteryear” — at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Cover B and the Retail Incentive Cover
Rating: 0.5/5

Ultimately, this sixth and final issue is a truly awful ending for the Picard’s Academy mini-series, most of which has been enjoyable. Taking three issues to tell a story about an exam proves a gigantic waste of time. The pat ending fails terribly, as does nearly every other aspect of this issue. It’s a shame to see a fairly good series end with an issue as horrendous as this.

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