Review: Star Trek: Khan #4
The Eugenics Wars are over… but the next chapter in the life of Khan Noonien Singh has just begun! Only in this all-new mini-eries are the secrets of Khan’s revival in the future by Admiral Marcus and the agents of Section 31 finally revealed! Don’t miss this exclusive tie-in to the blockbuster Star Trek Into Darkness, overseen by the film’s writer/producer Roberto Orci!
The penultimate installment of IDW’s Khan miniseries hits this week. We’ve been learning about Khan’s past, but now we’ll see how he found himself a weapon of Admiral Marcus (as seen in Star Trek Into Darkness). The story is written by Mike Johnson with Roberto Orci serving as a story consultant. David Messina handles pencils, Giorgia Sposito provides inks, and Claudis ScarletGothica handles colors. Luca Lamberti provides pencils and inks for the flashback sequences. Neil Uyetake rounds out the cast with lettering. The first three issues have been an interesting journey, but how are things shaping up since things are about to end?
This issue breaks from the formula from the previous issues. We don’t see a single panel of Khan telling his story in the Federation courtroom about how he became who he is. This one opens as “John Harrison” wakes up in Admiral Marcus’ secret space station. Marcus tells John that he is a soldier who was injured during a particularly dangerous mission on Kronos. That led to John’s amnesia. As we know, John is not John and is actually Khan. Marcus is trying to use Khan’s skills and knowledge to put himself in a better position for the Klingon war he’s been trying to start. It turns out Marcus may have given Khan a surgery or two to turn him from the powerful Indian ruler to Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s a point that’s danced around, but it’s laid out for us to connect the dots. When John figures out a way to pull off the mission Marcus said he failed, his memories start to come back. That means trouble for Marcus, but what happens between Khan’s revival and the beginning of Into Darkness?
Johnson writes an issue that offers up something new and fresh, but it’s done in an odd way. The complete break from the previous three issue’s formula makes things feel a little odd, but it does follow fairly well from last month’s conclusion. The problem is that it’s a quick affair that starts to connect things to the movie, but it seemingly brushes over the main thing that this issue has been showing- Khan goes from a young man from India to the very British Benedict Cumberbatch. Marcus had something done to Khan and built this amnesia story, but he goes on to reveal he doesn’t care if Khan gets his memories back and he actually expects him to. To change him physically makes no sense as it’s presented on the page. Hopefully we get a better idea of what went on in the finale. The art for the issue is great though. Messina’s pencils, Sposito’s inks, and Lamberti’s flashback panels show some impressive outer space settings and some great character work. The likenesses to the movie characters are some of the best for the series so far. There is some well-choreographed action and some impressive space-scapes. The space scenery is enhanced wonderfully by ScarletGothica’s colors. Everything looks very bright and stunning. There’s even the patented Abrams’ lens flare.
Bottom Line: Khan has an interesting premise, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. Things that seem important are brushed over and explanations for some the biggest things fans were left wondering after the film don’t seem to be forthcoming. If you really loved Into Darkness and want a primer guide about the character, this is still worth checking out. Hopefully the finale presents the things we’ve been waiting for. 2/5