Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Dog of War #2 Review

Writer: Mike Chen

Art: Angel Hernandez

Colors: Nick Filardi

Letters: Neil Uyetake

Covers: Angel Hernandez & Nick Filardi; Jake Bartok; Andy Price; Erik Tamayo & DC Alonso

Publisher: IDW

Price: 4.99

Release Date: May 3rd, 2022

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Dog of War #2 Review.

The Dispatch

Quark’s dog Latinum is all the rage in STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE: THE DOG OF WAR #2. Whether it’s walks on the Promenade, trips to the holosuite, or adventures in post-apocalyptic wastelands, everyone wants to spend time with Latinum. The Borg device found with Latinum is popular, too. And they each explore the characters’ response to the war.

STAR TREK DEEP SPACE: THE DOG OF WAR #2 juggles multiple story and character arcs. The major secondary plot is Quark continuing to dogsit Latinum while waiting for the original buyer to take the dog back. Meanwhile, Bashir and O’Brien are immersing themselves in a new holosuite program: a violent post-apocalyptic wasteland. The main plot continues to track the recovered piece of Borg technology. Sisko, still convinced that his history with Borg and resulting trauma makes him the best person to evaluate the device, tests it in the holosuite against holographic Borg. At first Sisko’s control extends only to the drones. Then it spreads. He becomes aware of what’s going on in the holosuites, then the whole station, and then ships in the vicinity.

The strength of STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE: THE DOG OF WAR #2 is in how it treats characters who are fighting a war. This is obviously the case with the main story where Sisko, Dax, and Admiral Ross are evaluating the Borg device, hoping that it will solve the problem of poor coordination between the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan fleets. Sisko’s holosuite test of the Borg device carries real risk because the safety protocols are off. Conceivably the Borg could kill them. Sisko pushes the simulation to the last possible moment, putting not just his life in danger, but also Dax and O’Brien’s. All that matters is finding out if the device works. Sisko’s later conversation with Admiral Ross about the device’s performance reflects borderline desperation on Ross’s part. Given the way he describes the recent tactical situation, his attitude isn’t unwarranted. But it’s a nice look at leadership trying to cope behind the scenes.

The example of the war’s psychological impact comes from the secondary stories, though. Latinum’s impact on the station’s population, especially on the main characters, is almost palpable. But more interesting is O’Brien and Bashir’s holosuite excursion. The two of them fighting hopeless battles isn’t a new idea. It comes straight from the television series. But this is the first time that a writer has put into words why the pair do it. The alternative to these battle programs is to get lost in reminders of the real war, such as casualty reports. They’re in a war, but they’re not always fighting the war. Chen adds depth to O’Brien and Bashir’s relationship by connecting their activities to the stress and trauma of the war–something the television writers never did.

The Art & Letters

There are two pages in STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE: THE DOG OF WAR #2 that command particular attention. Both pages set relatively small vertical panels against a backdrop of the allied fleet. Chen almost certainly scripted this for each page, but Hernandez realizes it to great effect. One of the pages includes, in whole or in part, at least 39 Federation, Klingon, and Romulan ships. Depicting such a large fleet reinforces the underlying idea that coordinating all of them would be difficult, maybe impossible without this piece of Borg technology.

The Borg holosuite sequence is also particularly effective. Hernandez draws an ever increasing number of drones and with each panel they get closer to Sisko, Dax, and O’Brien. The scene is a kind of cyber/horror fusion that adds an underlying tension to Sisko’s use of the device–not just whether he can succeed in time, but whether using Borg technology is a sound idea to begin with. The danger and fear of the sequence is further enhanced by Filardi’s coloring. He captures that green color that became associated with the Borg over the years. And he brings back the red laser light effect for the drones and the Borg device.

Uyetake’s lettering is conservative throughout the issue. There is almost no emphasis in dialogue and only a few dog related sound effects. But there are several dialogue heavy pages, and Uyetake does a good job with placement, never getting in the way of characters or action and, most importantly, barely interfering with the two fleet backgrounds.

Final Thoughts

STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE: THE DOG OF WAR #2 is a classic example of not judging a book by its cover. The title and prominent inclusion of a very friendly dog suggests a more lighthearted series. And while there are lighthearted moments, this series is unique, complex, and surprisingly introspective.

9.5/10

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