Review: Star Trek: KHAN #1
“Shall we begin?” Don’t miss this all-new mini-series event overseen by Star Trek Into Darkness writer/producer Roberto Orci! Witness the shocking origin of Khan Noonien Singh from his earliest years through his rise to power during the epic Eugenics Wars! Behold the events that led to his escape from Earth aboard the Botany Bay! Learn the truth behind his re-awakening by Admiral Marcus and Section 31! It’s the origin of Star Trek‘s greatest villain, only from IDW!
The origins of Star Trek Into Darkness’ big villain is explored in a new 5 issue miniseries from IDW kicking off this week. Star Trek: Khan #1 is written by Mike Johnson with one of the film’s writers, Roberto Orci, serving as a story consultant. David Messina handles pencils and inks for the present day pages while Claudia Balboni tackles it for the flashback sequences. Claudia ScarletGothica handles colors while Neil Uyetake provides lettering. Benedict Cumberbatch breathed new life into Khan, but does the comic book series do the villain justice?
The story opens in a Federation courtroom The Federation is claiming jurisdiction on Khan’s case due to the major loss of civilian life and massive amounts of destruction caused during his attacks. Due to some finagling from the lead prosecutor, Captain Kirk and Spock have been allowed onto the prosecution as adjunct counsel. Khan is brought out and asked how he pleads. Of course he does the whole “I don’t recognize the legitimacy of this court” spiel, but he pleads innocent. Kirk opens things up with a question. He pulls up a hologram of the 20th Century tyrant known as Khan Noonien Singh. The Khan standing before them looks nothing like the hologram Khan. So who is the person standing trial? From there we get a flashback of 1970s earth as orphans from New Delhi are abducted and put into a super soldier program. The man behind the program pitches to some potential investors that the future of warfare is advanced soldiers. He wants to do some genetic manipulation. One kid stands out among the group in his savagery and his thirst for knowledge. Young, New Delhi orphan Noonien Singh is the man’s star pupil. When you give a savage young boy genetic enhancements and a computer, how do you expect him to stay under control? What will Noonien Singh and his fellow super soldiers do next?
Johnson writes an interesting yet slightly predictable issue. The courtroom scene is only a few pages and the main story is the flashback featuring the program that turned Khan into what we know him as. Khan in the courtroom doesn’t really address Kirk’s question about why he doesn’t look like the Khan the holograms show and instead starts telling the story about a young Noonien Singh. If we’re to believe that young Indian boy became the pasty white Benedict Cumberbatch, there’s no hints to that fact. It’s a little odd and takes you out of the story in places. I’m sure there are twists and turns along the way, but we’re left wondering what’s really going on. The art is solid all the way through. The transition between the present and past are handled well and the artist shifts aren’t dramatically noticeable. Messina and Balboni present some solid character work and really bring out the emotion of the characters for the most part.
Bottom Line: The first entry in the Khan miniseries plays it safe. We get a fairly accurate origin story to the original series with a few twists and turns to make it fit with the Abrams’ universe. The first issue raises more questions than answer, but it leaves you satisfied enough to want to come back and find out more. 3/5