Poor ‘Mirror Universe’ Jean Luc-Picard. Until now, it had felt like if it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.
The Captain of the ISS Enterprise-D and his crew have come over more like intergalactic Keystone Kops than conquering warmongers, lurching from crisis to crisis, and encountering one problem after another. Well, the law of averages appears to indicate that even Picard’s fortunes had to change at some point, and at the end of Star Trek: The Mirror War issue #4, it looked as though things were finally going his way, having seen his plans coming to fruition.
After launching an attack on the planet Faundora, with all of its advanced shipbuilding capabilities, we now see a jump in time of two years, to the point where Picard has now started amassing a fleet of vessels which are ready and able to beat the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, and begin the fight back to glory for the Terran Empire. Of course, this Picard is someone constantly ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as his ego continues to get the better of him.
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Seeing the current iteration of our beloved Picard appearing in the latest season of his own show, it shows up just what a stark contrast there is between the man of diplomacy, tact and introspection, and this bloodthirsty thug, who has such a propensity for shooting first, and thinking later. Victories seem to happen in spite – not because – of Picard, with his brutality only going so far in helping him reach his eventual goal of overthrowing the current Emperor.
Unlike the familiar Picard, this twisted version is actually not an especially interesting character, perhaps due to his lack of emotional depth and complexity. By far the standout of the series has been Data, who – after experiencing an epiphany of sorts – has become much more self-assured, and now has command of his own vessel, with his unlikely friendship with Barclay continuing to be a source of genuine fascination. The pair’s mutual respect and apparent affection has been one of the series’ high points.
Another character coming into her own is Deanna Troi, who has been painted as a sadistic dominatrix type, acting as an interrogator and enforcer, keeping the crew in line. Behind every great man, there has to be a great woman; Picard in the ‘Mirror Universe’ is not especially great, which makes it even more striking Troi seems to be the power behind the throne (or, at least, Captain’s chair), and it makes one wonder just what impact it might have if she were to act purely out of her own self-interest.
Issue #5 of The Mirror War has been an opportunity to reset the story somewhat, and regroup ready for the next phase. It can only be hoped that the apparent forward momentum of the previous instalment can be maintained, as there are still so many pieces in play here, with no clear indication of which direction things will ultimately take.
Star Trek: The Mirror War #5 is out now from IDW Publishing.