Rich Handley Author and Editor

Star Trek Comics Weekly #39

An ongoing discussion of how Star Trek comics provide prequels, sequels, and tie-ins to the episodes and films…

39: Malibu Comics, 1994–1995

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a sea-change for the franchise, taking place as it did at the mouth of a stable wormhole instead of aboard a starship journeying through the cosmos. One addition it brought to Star Trek was the Maquis, a secessionist group of discontented Starfleet officers and Federation citizens who opposed Cardassian occupation of their home-worlds along a Demilitarized Zone established by the two governments. Introduced in Deep Space Nine‘s “The Maquis,” following the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Journey’s End,” the group were branded terrorists by Cardassia and the Federation alike—and whenever they showed up in an episode, the stakes were always high.

The Maquis weren’t traditional antagonists, as the audience could relate to their outrage at the loss of their homes, with the line blurred regarding whether the Federation or the Maquis were truly to blame for the ensuing violence. The group appeared in six episodes of Deep Space Nine, as well as The Next Generation‘s “Preemptive Strike,” and its members included not only Kasidy Yates and Michael Eddington, but also Ro Laren, Thomas Riker, and half the cast of Star Trek: Voyager—plus, Wesley Crusher’s time among the colonists led to his resignation from Starfleet.

The Maquis’ anti-Cardassian hatred was mirrored in the Alliance for Global Unity, a Bajoran extremist group featured in a story arc that played out in “The Homecoming,” “The Circle,” and “The Siege.” Both the Maquis and the Alliance (known colloquially as the Circle) were utilized in Malibu Comics’ Deep Space Nine spinoff, particularly in monthly issues #17–20 and the miniseries The Maquis: Soldier of Peace, providing tie-ins to a number of episodes ranging from The Original Series to Voyager.

In issue #17, by Laurie S. Sutton, Leonard Kirk, and Jack Snider (with a cover by Kirk and Terry Pallot), Major Kira is assigned to safeguard Sueriel, a half-Bajoran, half-Cardassian agent whom the Circle leaves brutally beaten. As Tora Ziyal would later learn following that character’s introduction on the TV show, Bajoran-Cardassian hybrids were rarely welcomed with open arms by either side of their heritage, and Sueriel’s experience was no different. Julian Bashir surgically alters Sueriel to look like a Janduurian (named after artist Jan Duursema, no doubt), after which Kira helps her start a new life free from both Bajoran and Cardassian bigotry.

In addition to the Circle-centric episodes, this comic ties in with the beautifully written “Duet,” as Kira experiences a disturbing nightmare of Aamin Marritza’s death following his impersonation of Gul Darhe’el. But it also connects amusingly to “The Trouble With Tribbles” and its sequels, for located on Deep Space Nine is Galactic Pets Unlimited, a division of Cyrano Jones Inc., which serves as a base of operations for double-agent Magret and the Circle. Sure enough, among the animals sold at this establishment are tribbles—sterile ones, of course.

Sutton also penned issue #18, accompanied by the same illustrator team, with art assists by Richard Emond and Larry Welch, in which Dax’s former fiancé Gwyn (a character original to the Malibu run) pays a visit. Gwyn has remained a non-joined Trill and works as a bounty hunter with a Klingon partner named Tev; his rejection of symbiosis had ended his relationship with Jadzia, leaving her heartbroken. It’s a quick read with few connections to onscreen Star Trek, though there is a subtle tie-in to The Next Generation‘s “Suddenly Human,” as the Talarian freighter Krakto is docked at the station.

This issue’s backup story provides the strongest tie-ins to televised Trek. Written by Mark A. Altman, with art by Pallot and Rob Davis, this short tale serves as a prologue to The Maquis, Soldier of Peace. Shortly before the events of Voyager‘s pilot “Caretaker,” a Starfleet team searches for Chakotay’s Maquis cell in the Demilitarized Zone.

The team finds Lieutenant Commander Kelloway, the chief engineer of the USS Grissom (a vessel mentioned in “The Most Toys,” and a successor to the same-named ship from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock), stuffed in a storage locker. Kelloway claims to have been abducted on Risa (“Captain’s Holiday”), but he’s actually a Maquis operative. After he tries to murder Gul Evek (“Playing God”), Admiral Nechayev (“Chain of Command”) assigns Kathryn Janeway to hunt down Chakotay, setting up Voyager‘s premiere.

The Risa subterfuge involves seduction by a woman from Rigel VII, home of the Kalars, featured in The Original Series‘ “The Cage” and more recently in Strange New Worlds‘ “Among the Lotus Eaters,” though it’s doubtful she actually exists since Kelloway’s story is a lie. No one questions the idea of a Rigel VII citizen vacationing on Risa, indicating that either the Kalars have become a lot more civilized since Christopher Pike’s days (a possibility, given how “Among the Lotus Eaters” ends), or else a non-native population has since settled on the planet.

Whether by design or by coincidence, a diverted vacation on Risa also plays into the plot of Altman’s The Maquis: Soldier of Peace miniseries. Bashir books a vacation to the pleasure planet, but en route he meets the beautiful Tessa Blake, an agent of Maquis cell Boliviar, who are working to free Chakotay’s team from a Cardassian prison camp led by Gul Dulcet, an old rival of Garak with a chip on his shoulder.

Blake abducts Julian for the mission (that is, he experiences Kelloway’s fabricated plight), but it turns out to be a trap, and the Cardassians capture both Bashir and the Maquis, subjecting both to forced labor. A Cardassian soldier helps Julian contact Garak, on the promise of a reward from the Obsidian Order, but Garak realizes Dulcet and Dukat have set a trap to capture him, using the doctor as bait.

The miniseries frames the premise of “Caretaker,” as Tessa’s brother Tom is in Chakotay’s Maquis cell. By story’s end, the comic confirms what readers already knew if they’d been watching Voyager: that the Cardassians never held Chakotay’s or Janeway’s crews to begin with. Blake reveals she betrayed the Maquis, having been misled into thinking Dulcet was holding Tom prisoner. The gul ultimately kills Tessa, then rigs an explosion at the prison, but the Defiant rescues everyone on the planet in time.

Near the start of the miniseries, the Maquis covertly travel aboard a freighter owned by the Tattella (a trading partner of the Cardassians), yet the aliens who operate the craft and help the Maquis infiltrate the prison are Yridians. “Preemptive Strike” established that the Maquis sometimes target Yridians due to their relationship with the Cardassians, so it seems odd that this cell would work with them, and it’s unclear why they’d use Tattella vessels instead of their own. However, this may be a subtle clue on Altman’s part, early in the story, that the Cardassians had set up the situation as a ruse—the Yridians may be leading the Maquis into a trap.

Soldier of Peace features a subtle tie-in to “Operation—Annihilate!”, as a science team from Levinius V, a planet invaded by that episode’s flying parasites, visits Deep Space Nine to tour the Gamma Quadrant. Other connections include a mission to a Zakdorn surplus depot in the Qualor Sector (“Unification”) and references to Enabran Tain (“The Wire”). What’s more, Dukat’s involvement stems from Garak having politically embarrassed him in two episodes: “Cardassians,” in which the tailor exposed Dukat’s plot against Kotan Pa’Dar, and “Profit and Loss,” in which he helped Cardassian dissidents escape prosecution.

In addition to the main story, Soldier of Peace also features two backup tales: issue #1’s light-hearted “Memoirs of an Invisible Ferengi,” by Chris Dows, Colin Clayton, Brian Michael Bendis, and Bruce McCorkindale; and issue #2’s more somber “A Tree Grows on Bajor,” by R. A. Jones, Leonard Kirk, and Jack Snider.

In the first, a Romulan crew has Quark stow their belongings while they enjoy his holosuites. Unable to resist valuable cargo, Quark opens a case and is rendered invisible. He, of course, immediately spies on Ops and Odo (and on Jadzia showering), but being unseen leads to his being injured by others unaware of his presence. The Romulans soon reveal they’d tricked him into field-testing a personal cloaking device, as they knew the Ferengi would be unable to resist a mysterious treasure. The device proves flawed, however, leaving Quark with diarrhea—which may well be the only time a character has ever been explicitly stated to experience that affliction in a Star Trek comic book.

The second backup sees Ben and Jake Sisko attending a tree-planting ceremony on Bajor. The proceedings remind Jake of his younger days, as depicted in “Emissary,” when his family lived aboard the USS Saratoga. Just before the Battle of Wolf 359, readers discover, his mother Jennifer had helped him plant a hylyptus tree in the Saratoga‘s arboretum, in order to teach him how precious life is. Now, watching a Bajoran monk plant another hylyptus brings Jake to tears. Despite its brevity, “A Tree Grows on Bajor” offers a touching spotlight on teen Sisko’s memories of Jennifer.

Monthly issues #19 and 20, from writer Dan Mishkin, contain no direct references to specific episodes, though both tales are well-told. The first sees Bashir yet again abducted while on vacation, this time by aliens desperate to save a dying child (you’d think Julian would stop taking shore leave), while the second involves the dislodged remains of an ancient Romulan vessel causing havoc after being stuck inside the wormhole for centuries. The latter offers a glimpse of events from before the era of James T. Kirk, but with the familiar trappings of The Original Series.

Be here next week as we begin wrapping up DC Comics’ monthly exploits for Kirk’s crew, then it’s back to Bajor we’ll go. The stories yet to be covered showcase how comics can be a great medium for providing prequels, sequels, and tie-ins to Star Trek‘s ongoing onscreen mission.

Looking for more information about Star Trek comics? Check out these resources:

Rich Handley has written, co-written, co-edited, or contributed to dozens of books, both fiction and non-fiction, about Planet of the Apes, Watchmen, Back to the Future, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, Stargate, Dark Shadows, The X-Files, Twin Peaks, Red Dwarf, Blade Runner, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, the Joker, classic monsters, and more. He has also been a magazine writer and editor for nearly three decades. Rich edited Eaglemoss’s Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection, and he currently writes articles for Titan’s Star Trek Explorer magazine, as well as books for an as-yet-unannounced role-playing game. Learn more about Rich and his work at

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