Review: Star Trek: Discovery #2

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
January 24th, 2018

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Star Trek: Discovery #2
Comics
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The new series is back on the television, and after a two-month wait, the tie-in comic is back in the shops. IDW’s Star Trek: Discovery embraces the visuals of the new series and out contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look at the comic to see how it compares.

The first part of The Light of Kahless came out at the end of November last year, and quickly it became apparent that the story would revolve around T’Kuvma, the Klingon leader whose dream to unite the Klingon Empire brought the Discovery into conflict in the first episode of the TV series.

It was a bold move to tell a Klingon only based story, and one about a character whose fate the audience already knows, assuming that is that the people reading this are also the people watching the series. The first issue proved to be intriguing but can they keep that momentum flowing?

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 Synopsis

T’Kuvma is sent away from his family home where his sister is working in secret on a ruined old starship with the dream of restoring the Empire to its former glory under the banner of House Girjah.

In the monastery on Boreth, T’Kuvma quickly proves himself to be an excellent student and one touched by the Klingon faith. During the first trial, in the Caves of No’Mat, in the cauldron of Tak’La Pokh, T’Kuvma stands above his fellow students and has a vision that some monks believe to be the guiding light of Kahless himself.

As the year's pass, T’Kuvma allows himself to follow the teachings until he is unexpectedly called back home.

Credit: IDW Publishing

Analysis

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The first thing that hits you about this comic is the style of the artwork. From the cover onwards the look of the comic screams Klingon. Whether or not you like the newly designed Klingons, you can’t escape that see in these pages. Each character, each ship and all of the surroundings have the same plated, ridge effect and are doused in the murky brown and reds that give the Klingon’s their warrior-like appearance.  HR Giger profoundly inspires the background design work with some of the images appearing more like LV-426 from Alien than Go’Nos, the Klingon homeworld.

The landscape is harsh which reflects the lifestyle of the Klingons, and this is to be expected. As a reader, you never feel comfortable in the surroundings. Unfortunately, some of the panels have issues with character/background interaction. It is at times as if the characters are on a green screen with an image projected behind them. The separation between foreground and background looks so bad at times that it brings the reader out of the story. The problem would appear to be one of color, where the characters have been rendered in solid blocks of color that stand out too much from the faded, painted background. This is not always an issue, but it is a recurring one throughout, the worst being when T’Kuvma tours his old ship.

As far as the story goes, it’s an enjoyable read. The harsh Klingon training and meditation is nothing new to the Star Trek Universe, Worf seemed to harp on about this in every other episode of Next Generation, and entire chapters were given over to it in Deep Space Nine, but it helps to build the character, and the reader begins to see how the young boy from issue 1 grows into the leader from the TV series. The narrative doesn't get interesting until T’Kuvma returns home and re-enters his House. The politics of Klingon life are much more interesting than training montages.

So much of this issue still has the feel of laying the groundwork for the story that is to come. The writers, Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson, are putting in place all of the elements needed to make T’Kuvma rise against the other Klingon Houses and start the civil war hinted at in the first episode of ST: Discovery.

Credit: IDW Publishing

It is an engaging story let down by the inconsistent art and the harsh Klingon aesthetic which can become too much after a whole issue. The most significant complaint about this comic, as a concept, is deciding to launch the tie-in series with a historical Klingon story. With the TV show back on the air, the wealth of strong characters to play with is impressive, and it is a shame that the comic focuses on T’Kuvma who, as I have already stated, has a sealed fate. The cartoon has the potential to go to so many places, spin off in many directions, and that journey might be exciting, but at the moment, two issues in, the narrative seems a labored point that most fans of Star Trek would already understand and accept: Klingon life is hard.

A satisfying read but ultimately it doesn’t make a large enough mark on a comic schedule that’s full of Star Trek titles. And it doesn’t help that it’s been nearly two months since the previous issue. There should have been a much more significant impact for the most current iteration of Star Trek.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson, but he does remember to write more about comics on his website comiccutdown.com

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