mercredi 16 juillet 2014

Graphic Novel Review - Star Trek: Khan

Beyond what some consider to be an unfortunate (and hopefully unintended) parody of Wrath of Khan, many fans main problem with the last Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, was the way that Khan himself was handled. Having a very British actor play an Indian character who had been played by a Mexican in the Original Series brought outcries of whitewashing, regardless of how talented an actor Benedict Cumberbatch may be. Using such a legendary character was always going to be dangerous and how much of a pay-off the decision was is still up for debate amongst Star Trek fans (though for the majority of non-Star Trek fans I have spoken to the problem is nonexistent and most love the film). For those who were bothered by the plotholes and inconsistencies, though, the graphic novel Star Trek: Khan may provide some closure.

Set in the period of time covered by the last five minutes or so of Star Trek Into Darkness, the Khan graphic novel uses the trial of Khan Noonien Singh as a framing device to allow Khan himself to tell his story. In doing so, we are afforded a view of the legendary Eugenics Wars, the flight of the Botany Bay and the awakening of Khan in this new timeline. As such, we are provided with some answers and closure to what happened in the movie.

First of all, the graphic novel provides what I felt was a great justification for the recasting of Khan, one that I wish had made it into the movie. We discover in the future sections that when Khan was found, Section 31 and Admiral Marcus decided to change his physical form and wipe his memory, thus creating John Harrison. With this explanation, we see how the producers and director were able to say that Cumberbatch was playing John Harrison - at this point in time, he actually believes that is who he is. I cannot help but think that if this had been alluded to or even used in the movie, it would have softened some of the outcry from the fans. Having Harrison discover who he is at the same time we do would have made for a much more interesting character, IMHO. As such, the graphic novel makes up for one of the most glaring plotholes in the movie, for this fan, anyway.

The Eugenics War section was great, though nowhere near as satisfying as the treatment afforded to the era by Greg Cox' fantastic Eugenics Wars duology. It was still good to see the way that the world changed, watch the rise of the different genetically engineered superhumans and receive an explanation for how "simple" humans were able to force Khan and his people to run away aboard the Botany Bay.

In terms of the artwork, I found it to be hit and miss. Most of the portrayals of Khan (in both the Ricardo Montalban and the Cumberbatch form), and Kirk and Spock were fine, but at time the characters came across as flat and emotionless. The starships were well rendered, especially the Botany Bay, and it was nice to see the use of the classic Khan clothing from "Space Seed". Still, overall the artwork left me unimpressed.

Overall, Star Trek: Khan is a well written graphic novel that manages to lay to rest some of the more glaring plotholes in Into Darkness. The story and dialogue were well done, but the artwork left me cold. I gave Star Trek: Khan 3 magical personal transporters out of 5.

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