Star Trek: Khan #4 (Comics Review)

The wind-up has now begun. In October IDW started this new tie-in series to this year’s Star Trek: Into Darkness and its been an interesting ride of sorts. The first two issues were quite decent and I kind of did enjoy them to a fair degree, but the third issue wasn’t so good. It was sort of expected I suppose, since this is an origin series, and there is a lot of ground for writer Mike Johnson to cover here. That was indeed one of the problems with issue #3 since it pretty much moved through the entire story at a very fast clip.

The new issue does thing slightly different. It tells a more focused story, for starters, but the art is still a bit off, largely in terms of how the characters are drawn, their faces particularly. This is the penultimate issue of this mini-series, since issue #5 next month is the end and we will, hopefully, get to the beginning of the movie itself and see how things were brought to that state with Khan, or rather, John Harrison as he was known in the first half of the movie.

Star Trek - Khan 04A problem with tie-ins, particularly prequel tie-ins, is how the story feels so very predictable. With Star Trek: Khan this was most definitely the case. Mostly since I have read the origins of Khan before, in novel for no less. So this mini-series seems like a rehash and a re-adaptation, if that makes sense. Still, like I said, the first two issues were kind of enjoyable, because of how changed everything is, and that is part of the novelty of the series. And of course, the first three issues were all about things I had kind of seen before, except through a different lens.

The new issue goes into unknown territory and goes into that part of the new continuity where we see the first meeting between Khan and Admiral Marcus. As expected, there is a lot of manipulation on Marcus’ part, more so since Khan has been put through induced amnesia and so Marcus is pretty much exploiting him and his skills and abilities. Right up until that moment, almost the first half of the comic, things are going very well and I’m quite interested in them. It was all completely new and that was why I was hooked. I mean, it was all the kind of stuff that I wanted to know when I saw the movie.

But then, that point was also when I started to lose interest in the comic. The pace picked up phenomenally and I was struggling to keep up, given how fast everything was moving. It all became rather perfunctory, rather than something to get emotionally invested in. No surprise then that that’s when I just gave up on the issue. I knew exactly how things would happen and I just couldn’t care.

It kind of sucks to be in a situation like that because this is a comic that I did want to enjoy and like. Its just kind of disappointing I suppose. The thing about Khan is that such a small mini-series is just not enough to really explain his origins and his backstory and his motivations. What he needs is something much more longer. Perhaps a 10-issue mini-series would have been better. It would have been much better paced then, and it would have really helped Johnson to explain everything while still keeping things ticking along. Khan is a really fascinating character and this length just doesn’t do him justice.

With the way that the issue ends, things are set up for the beginning of Khan’s vengeance against Marcus and the Starfleet, and for all the events that we saw in the movie itself, with Khan’s terrorism and murders.

Where the art is concerned, things are very off in the first half. The characters just don’t match up with how they’ve been portrayed before (Khan) or who they are supposed to be (Marcus). Given how well the covers have been done, its surprising that the internal artwork is not. I only knew who the characters were because of the dialogue. Just by looking at the comic, you can’t tell anything, and that’s perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of this particular issue. Other than the pencils, the colours and inks were all on point and I have no complaint against any of them.

Where the issue really fails is in convincing me that Khan is a proper villain. Perhaps the next issue will change things around, but I’m not holding my breath for the moment.

Rating: 6/10

More Khan: #1, #2, #3.

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Posted on January 9, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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