Star Trek Discovery: Succession‘s fourth and final issue is here, and it’s a bloody showdown for the Emperor’s seat.
Succession is set in Discovery‘s Mirror Universe, filling in gaps that the show left open. Emperor Georgiou had been killed by her nephew, the new Emporer Alexander, who stole the position out from under Georgiou’s adopted daughter, Michael Burnham. Burnham had recruited allies to help her overthrow Alxendar, including a group of Klingons and Emperor Alexander’s right-hand woman, Cornwell.
The last issue ended with the group captured by Alexander and him about to kill them all, but the tables turn pretty quickly. His human restraints are no match for the Klingons, who overpower him.
It’s a blur of blood and bretrayal – Cornwell betrays Alexander, and then is betrayed by Burnham. She thought Burnham had no interest in the throne and would allow a council of advisors to rule, but that’s not going to happen. Burnham kills Cornwell and then her cousin before taking her ‘rightful’ place on the throne. Mirror Burnham may be as focused as our counterpart but she is definitely more ruthless.
Burnham promises L’rell and Voq that they will rule as co-governors on Qo’nos and that she wants peace. While Alexander wanted to kill everyone non-human, Burnham wants to rule over them. The Klingon are obviously skeptical, but agree to her terms and even attend Burnham’s coronation.
It’s there that the comic takes a surprising, and surprisingly gory turn. Alexander had created weapons that detected non-human life and destroyed it, and the weapon is now being used on the humans. The cyborg Airiam set the weapon to target humans and it destroys everyone, causing them to cough up blood while their flesh seemingly starts to burn off. The scene is gruesome and creepy, like it could have been from a zombie book instead of Star Trek. The artists clearly had fun depicting this massacre.
In the course of one issue, the role of Emporer changed hands four times! It’s a page-turner of an ending, one that ties up some lose ends like Airiam — she had briefly appeared in previous issues talking to Burnham, but seemingly had no purpose until now. The events do seem to unfold quickly, unlike other issues. We burn through a lot of death and betrayal, some of which could have used a little more time to breathe.
Succession comes to a close with most of our characters dying, but there’s still possibilities for more stories in the Mirror universe: L’rell and Voq are the only other survivors and don’t seem happy with Qo’nos still being ruled by the Emporer. It’s not hard to imagine a Klingon uprising on the horizon.
Star Trek Discovery: Succession #4 is now available from IDW Publishing.