"Star Trek The Next Generation: Hive" #4 brings to a close the miniseries from the mind of Trek mainstay Brannon Braga, with writing assisted by Travis Fickett & Terry Matalas and art by Joe Corroney. Waging a war throughout history, the Enterprise crew is forced to consider the unthinkable in order to stop the Borg from conquering the galaxy in the future. They succeed, of course, but it's safe to say that the victory is pyrrhic.
This is a strong conclusion to a miniseries which has been on surprisingly good form throughout. There are some particularly great moments in the writing, with the team making full use of the comic form by giving a look at Picard's interior monologue -- something we could only ever infer on TV. Not everything is quite that well-handled, though, and in particular Lieutenant Archer's insubordinate flip-out feels like a tacked-on resolution (although perhaps her arc will be more apparent when the series is read in one sitting). Similarly, Seven's personal sacrifice (I'll keep the nature of it vague) doesn't feel like the natural end-point of her story, especially given the way she was used in this series.
Artistically, the book has improved in leaps and bounds as Corroney got to grips with the characters and material. It started off quite firmly decent, but by this issue it's firing on all cylinders, the initial stiffness has loosened up and some of the expressions are substantially more natural. Meanwhile, the character likenesses remain as good as they always were and the exterior shots are as filled with detail and action.
The story does have weaknesses in the plotting -- it's as technically and technologically byzantine as "Star Trek" ever was -- but it gets by because the pseudo-father/daughter relationship between Seven and Picard is well-developed, giving it a strong emotional core. However, certain threads, such as the species attacking the future Borg Empire in issue #1, don't even get a look in by this point in the story, which makes it feel dropped rather than resolved. Again, maybe it works better in one sitting, but spread over 6 months it's perhaps a little too complicated.
Still, for those of us for whom "Star Trek" means Picard and his crew, it's hard not to be enamoured with this story, which ultimately represents a great opportunity to spend time with the crew one more time. The scope and gravitas of events suggest that this might have even been the "next" TNG movie, had things not gone in a different direction for the franchise. Considered on those terms, it works, and despite Braga's obsession with all things Borg, I'd actually be very interested in seeing a TNG comic with him "showrunning" similar to the way this series was handled. IDW, make it happen!