Star Trek: Khan: Review

STK Cover.png

Published by: IDW

Released: October 16th 2013

Why do Klingons go from smooth foreheads to bumpy foreheads? Why did Han Solo use the parsec as a unit of time? Why didn't the eagles simply fly the ring to Mount Doom?

Why does the Into Darkness Khan look nothing Ricardo Montalban?

Being a genre fan can be hard sometimes. Creators are only human, after all, and sometimes inconsistencies and mistakes can be introduced which simply don't have a logical explanation.. Occasionally the answers are provided through official canonical explanations such as the genetically engineered Klingons in season four of Enterprise, more frequently the fans take it upon themselves to create their own solutions through fan fiction and forum discussions (tv.tropes has a wonderful page dedicated to just this). And then there are the times where answers are offered through officially licensed but not-entirely cannon spinoffs. Star Trek: Khan falls into the latter category. Although it doesn't seem like this to begin with. To begin with, we have a legal trial.

“My name is Khan and I reject the authority of this court.”

STK p1.png

Interesting opening, it's just a shame that in the next couple of panels the federation's top lawyer defers to Captain Kirk for the opening argument. And what does he do? He basically uses the opportunity to say ask why Khan doesn't look like an older gentleman with skin like rich Corinthian leather.

Khan answers and we quickly realise that the legal trial is a poorly implemented setup for a flashback to the 1970s and a young Noonian Singh.

The rest of the issue takes place in flashbacks and something tells me that the rest of the series will likely follow the same pattern of court trial introduction to justify licensing the actors' likenesses before jumping back into Khan's backstory. The problem with using Khan himself is the narrator is that he starts off from a perspective that he couldn't have been present for. That's not the only continuity flaw either since the entire concept of eugenics seems to get dismissed on page in favour of genetic manipulation. Given that this takes place before the time travel that caused Abram's Star Trek universe to break off from the older timelines it's an odd choice to change such a fundamental part of established history. Since this is part of a miniseries it's hard to say now whether this is going to be part of a larger storyline but I'd be disappointed if it was allowed to slip without further mention.

The writing is a mixed bag; before the flashbacks begin it feels forced and improbable with the characters feeling like they're just shoehorned into a situation to service a plot device. Once we make the jump, however, things improve greatly. Things move along quickly and while every single plot point is telegraphed pages ahead it is interesting enough to want to see how the rest of the tale unfolds.

STK p2.png

The art throughout is generally good but it just feels rushed. For the most part there are no backgrounds behind characters making everything feel flat, and there are never fewer than five panels on a page which not only makes the pacing seem hurried, but doesn't allow the artist any opportunity to wow the reader with a dramatic moment.

So it's not perfect and it falls prey to many of the problems that face licensed comics... but it's not bad either. Sure the setup is preposterous but if you can overlook that then you can start on an interesting journey that will hopefully give a little more depth to the Abram-verse interpretation of an iconic villain. Of course, if we could overlook things like that we wouldn't need to have continuity-wank in the first place. Three warp core breaches which may be retconned to four if they can fix the apparent plot holes.