Whilst the first two issues of new murder mystery focused comic Deep Space Nine – Too Long A Sacrifice have been enjoyable, they’ve kind of felt like they’ve been treading water, setting up the stakes of the central story, but not doing a huge amount to move things forward. Issue three finally feels like the place where things begin to move forward in much more important ways.
This issue sees Odo having to contend with Retlaw, the special investigator sent in by the Federation to assist him in getting to the bottom of these crimes. Retlaw definitely feels like a breath of fresh air, and kicks events into gear by being something of an antagonist for Odo to work around. This isn’t to say that he’s being a bad guy in any way, but anyone coming onto the station to take over one of his investigations will immediately be seen as an obstacle to Odo, and writers Scott and David Tipton seem to know this, and embrace it.
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The two investigators butt heads more than once, and seem to enjoy pushing each other’s buttons. Odo, for his part, resents having to defer to another investigator, and any suggestion that he’s incapable of solving the case will get his hackles up; as such he seems to take a lot of joy in reminding Retlaw that DS9 is his station, and doesn’t mind making him look like he’s on the back foot if he can. Retlaw, in comparison, makes it clear from the start that he has some issues with Odo after his home world, Betazed, fell to Dominion forces, resulting in him and his daughter having to flee their home.
Not only does this flashback help to establish why Retlaw is so invested in getting to the bottom of things, wanting to make sure that the Federation doesn’t lose any allies it desperately needs in the war, but it also gives him a reason for butting heads with Odo. It’s also great to see the fall of Betazed depicted here, as it was an event that was only briefly mentioned in the television series.
The interplay between the two investigators is one of the better aspects of the comic, and it shows that if the two of them are able to stop trying to get a rise out of the other and actually work together they make a good team. They manage to find a number of new leads by working together, and a number of the unanswered questions begin to finally make sense, though there is still a good way to go to solve the entire case.
Issue three ends with the two of them working towards these final answers, answers that could help to save the war effort, but it still manages to pack a lot of story into its pages, moving the mystery on more than the first two issues combined. With only one issue left to wrap everything up I was initially worried that things might feel rushed, but seeing how things have played out here I’m eager to see what the two of them can do in the final part of the story.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Too Long A Sacrifice #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.