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Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Q


By Andy Frisk
Aug 12, 2009 - 14:47

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Taking place shortly after the events of Star Trek First Contact, Captain Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise E are en route to the Vastak System where Picard is scheduled to conduct delicate negotiations between two hostile alien races, the Pentaget and the G’ell. While on the way, Picard reflects upon how this most recent encounter with The Borg has “rekindled somewhat the memories of my time spent under The Borg’s control as Locutus.” His likewise disturbing sense of Déjà vu comes all to true when, upon entering the observation lounge, Picard encounters Q. Trek fans will remember that the very first ever encounter with The Borg was brought about by the actions of Q. This time though, Q has a different mission. Instead of laboring to get humans, through manipulation of the small sample size of The Enterprise’s crew, to admit and realize that their “arrogance” is unwarranted, Q is attempting to complete his understanding of humans. He feels he has failed to understand humanity before, “even on that most unfortunate occasion when I was forced into a moral human shell,” because “everyone knew it was me!” Q can’t “truly experience humanity without skewing the results...The presence of the observer affects the observed and all that.” So what is the solution to Q’s problem? Take over Picard, control his body. and live a day in the life of Starfleet’s flagship’s captain. Of course, Picard’s consciousness will be along for the ride, and be fully capable of communicating with Q, helping him if he so desires. Picard actually ends up delighting in having the “unexpected pleasure” of being a thorn in Q’s side for a change as Q desperately gropes about the duties of commanding a starship and negotiating peace talks. Q has vowed to not use any of his omnipotent powers to help himself on the "mission." Along the way Q makes a few discoveries about the capabilities of humans…

 

Captain Picard is at the command of the awesome Enterprise E, Lt. Commander Data is at the helm, Commander Riker is Number One, and all is right with the Star Trek world, at least as far as Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG from here on out) are concerned. Putting aside gushing feelings of nostalgic glee, Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Q, very artfully recreates the look, feel, artistic, and literary prowess of the Star Trek mythos’ best television series. Fans of the show, who absorbed episode after episode, will recognize TNG’s defining characteristics in this story. In fact, the nuances, language, speech patterns, and written intonations of each recreated characters’ voice is so well done, you can almost hear Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, John de Lancie, Levar Burton, and Brent Spiner’s voices speaking the dialogue of this issue as you read it.

 

Dialogue isn’t the only factor which helps recreate the glory of TNG. Casagrande’s art powerfully recreates the visages of the series’ actors. They are instantly recognizable, and their facial expressions are dead on recreations of the real life characters’ expressions. Casagrande also recreates the Enterprise E with great precision, particularly the highly colorful and advanced looking computer touch screens and displays that are a hallmark of the smooth and sleek design of TNG’s starship tech.

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Ultimately though, it is Scott and David Tipton’s story that recreates the literary feel of TNG’s many intelligent and well plotted episodes. TNG always relied first and foremost on story, character development, and though provoking moral, ethical, and introspective themes in order to create its vitality and validity. While the series was often not short on action, phaser bursts, or photon torpedo launches, often times the best and most powerful episodes didn’t contain one (well, maybe at most one) of the aforementioned sci-fi action hallmarks. The best stories were often told without firing a shot. This is the case with Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Q.

 

When Q takes control of Captain Picard in order to truly understand humanity, he’s faced with some tough situations. Lt. LaForge needs advice on how to handle an underperforming, but potential filled, team member. Many in a position of authority have faced this dilemma, and there are no easy answers. The fact that Q cannot give LaForge an answer or advice speaks to the ability of human leadership capability, as Picard would have some sound advice for LaForge. The negotiations between the Pentaget and G’ell are even more challenging and difficult to bring to a beneficial conclusion for both parties involved. Humans have been developing the art of diplomacy for centuries with a varied effectiveness, but it is the human ability to, at times, secure peace through diplomacy that is a triumph of the human endeavor. To be able to achieve diplomatic solutions and compromises without the omniscient abilities of someone like Q, is what makes Picard, and by extension, much of humanity, unique and resilient enough to make the most with what they have. The ability to seek out advice as Lt. LaForge does from a more experienced leader like Captain Picard is what bonds humans together, and helps us gain understanding amongst and about ourselves and each other. Q obviously will not admit that achievements of the human race demonstrate that although there are still barbarians among us, the best of us are aspiring to greater heights, but he learns this fact nonetheless.

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Yes, it’s often easy to wax philosophical when discussing Star Trek, and especially when discussing Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the insightful and philosophic episodes of the series, that Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Q emulates, that made the series, and the majority of TNG’s films so engaging. IDW does an excellent job of bringing together some talented writers and artists to recreate the magic of TNG. Let’s see some more of them…

Rating: 10 /10


Last Updated: May 15, 2017 - 12:13

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