With the obvious success of Star Trek: Into Darkness, a comic-book spin-off was almost inevitable. An original Star Trek character was brought back to be the villain of Into Darkness; this villain was of course, Khan. Now Khan is getting an origin story told through this comic series, but sometimes for villains it is better to keep an origin shrouded forever in mystery. Is this one of the rare cases where an origin story might enhance a character? Is it good?
Star Trek: Khan #1 (IDW Publishing)
The first indication that this comic might not be so good was the comic characters’ likeness to their cinematic counterparts. Being a ti-in to the movie, instead of drawing the Star Trek characters the way they have appeared for several years throughout IDW’s many Star Trek comics, the artist chose to portray the characters like their actors in the movies. And if Greg Land has taught us anything, it’s that drawing characters based off of real people makes the art looks terrible. And this book is no exception. All of the characters in this book are completely lifeless. The action looks fake, the blood is this weird shade of red that doesn’t work at all.
The story plays out in a contrived manner. This series wants to tell Khan’s origin story, that much is evident. I just can’t understand why they would ever want to introduce it the way this comic did. Instead of jumping right into the action of the origin, this comic dilly-dallys for a couple of pages. In order to tie in to the movie as much as possible the first three pages are Khan pleading innocent at court. This actually might have been a fine, even good scene had it been done right. Instead, these pages are jam-packed with references and characters from the movie. This does not lead to interesting comic storytelling. The writing is forced, awkward and just not very good.
The rest of this issue is well written for the most part. Although the origin story itself is completely unoriginal and predictable, it is told in a nice way. A good author can make you sympathize with anyone and this comic does a nice job in showing the reader how Khan wasn’t inherently bad; circumstances transformed him into the monster he is now. By the end of the comic we aren’t only following Khan through his early years, but actually rooting for him.
Although the ending isn’t a terribly effective cliffhanger it gives this series a number of different directions to take.
- Some fun moments
- Ending leaves a lot of potential story for the rest of the issue
- Art is lifeless and boring
- Contrived origin
Is It Good?
Take it or leave it. While it’s not the most fresh or sophisticated origin story it’s an entertaining read.