Tag Archives: Star Trek

Star Trek: Khan – Issue #1

StarTrekKhan_01Yes, I love Star Trek, so when I heard that IDW was running a comic series on the origins of Khan, I knew I had to read it. I went to the comic store, but they had already sold out of the first issue. Thankfully, they got more in and I was able to purchase a copy.

The story begins with a Federation trial where Khan is facing charges. Kirk asks him to come clean and give a truthful account of his origins. He agrees, and thus begins the tale.

The first issue traces Khan’s childhood as an orphan in India. He is rounded up with other orphans and subjected to genetic experimentation designed to create a perfect soldier. In addition to the genetic modifications, he is also subjected to psychological conditioning designed to stifle fear and compassion. The issue ends with Khan leading the eugenic soldiers in an uprising against their genetic creator and about to enter the world.

OK, so as a pseudo-trekkie, I admit that I am somewhat biased. That said; I really enjoyed the first installment. I found the writing to be solid, the artwork is very good, and the story is consistent with the Star Trek films. Also, I am fascinated with villains, and Khan is one of the greats, right up there with Iago and Raskolnikov. If you like comics and Star Trek, then this is a must-read for you; if not, you should probably avoid it at all costs.

Cheers!

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William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope

ShakespeareStarWarsIn a star-crossed galaxy far, far away…

I first heard about this book from the managing director of the Montford Park Players, a local Shakespeare troupe. Being a Star Wars geek and a Shakespeare nerd, I figured I had to read it. So I purchased a copy and bumped it to the top of the reading list.

Basically, the book is the telling of Star Wars as if written by William Shakespeare. Overall, I felt Ian Doescher did a pretty good job writing this. Let’s face it–it was a Herculean undertaking. To take the writing style of the greatest wordsmith the English language has known and attempt to apply that to what is arguably one of the most iconic films ever was ambitious, to say the least. Bearing that in mind, there were things that worked well for me and things that didn’t.

The thing that worked least for me, and I must confess actually became annoying by the end of the book, was the Chorus, which provides a commentary to fill in the action scenes that would otherwise be more challenging to pull off using dialog. I understand why Doescher chose to employ this technique, but honestly, I found it unnecessary. Anyone who picks up this book is going to be familiar with the Star Wars saga and will not need a Chorus to fill the gaps in the dialog. To make matters worse, it made the book read more like an ancient Greek drama rather than a Shakespearean play. Every time the Chorus chimed in, I felt like I was reading Aeschylus or Euripides.

Doescher gets it right on the structure of the book, though. He divides it into five acts, consistent with a Shakespeare play, and the breaks between the acts occur at logical points in the story. Additionally, the scenes work well too. I got the impression that he spent some time mapping out the structure and that effort definitely paid off.

There are parts of this book where the wordplay is great, particularly during some of the more iconic scenes. I literally laughed at loud at the image of Darth Vader speaking: “I find thy lack of faith disturbing” (p. 60). I also found Leia’s early confrontational words to Vader to be brilliant, and actually read that passage several times because I found it so amusing.

Darth Vader, only thou couldst be so bold.
When first my ship was under siege, I knew
‘Twas thee who had this peaceful vessel sack’d.
Th’ Imperi’l Senate shall not stand for this.
For when they hear thou hast attack’d a ship
On diplomatic mission–

Doescher also sneaks in a reference to Star Trek, which I thought was noble. I know there are purists on both sides who favor one over the other, but personally, I’ve always loved both Star Wars and Star Trek.

To march to the detention block’s unwise!
To make our way to danger folly ’tis!
To there present ourselves is passing mad!
To boldly go where none hath gone is wild!

I suspect that this book is the first of a trilogy, since the original Star Wars saga was a trilogy and it seems that half of the books published these days are parts of a series. And verily, the last lines of the book do imply that another installment will follow hot upon the heels.

There let our heroes rest free from attack,
Till darkness rise and Empire striketh back.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #8

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss8I just finished reading issue #8, the last in the series. Not surprising, the finale was also a setup for another series.

For me, there was nothing in this last issue that was mind-bending. It didn’t suck, it was just kind of OK. That left me feeling ever so slightly disappointed. I think it is because the first half of the series was very strong, but the later half was not as interesting. I felt like the writers and artists wanted to do more, and likely could have, but that they were limited by having to squeeze everything into eight issues. My guess is that was what the publisher offered them.

So the big question is: Would I read a follow-up series? Yes, I think I would. While there were some things that were just OK, overall, I enjoyed it and I think that if given additional issues to flesh out the story a little more that it could become something awesome. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #7

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss7_VarWhen I picked up this issue, the folks at the comic book store told me it was a variant cover. Since I don’t consider myself a comic collector, all that meant to me was it was more expensive than the other issues I had picked up, but since I was buying a small stack of comics they gave it to me for half price, which was nice. Anyway, the image displayed here is the variant cover.

I found this issue to be much better than the previous one. The dialog is much more fluid and the story moves along well. There are also shifts in the color schemes associated with the different locations that the characters were in, and that worked very well for me.

There is a great quote on page 3. The Doctor and his companions are aboard the Borg cube and commenting on the Borg’s apparent calm and disinterest in them. The Doctor states: “That calm comes at the price of their free will. The collective suppresses the individual identities of the drones.” I couldn’t help thinking about the tendency of people to sacrifice their freedom to be included in a group, whether it is a religious group, a political party, or a social group. I think it is something that most humans desire, to belong to something bigger than their individual selves. But giving up who you are for acceptance into a group is a dangerous path and one that I have consciously avoided throughout most of my life.

The issue ends with the Doctor and his companions, along with the Enterprise away team, aboard the cybermen’s vessel. The stage is set for the final confrontation. The next issue is the series’ conclusion. I will be posting soon.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #6

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss6I just read through issue number 6 in the series and I have to say it was my least favorite so far. That said, it serves the purpose of driving the story forward.

In this installment, the Doctor and the crew of the enterprise meet with the Borg emissaries to discuss plans for defeating the Cybermen. The writing was a little cliched, especially where Riker gets angry that the Borg emissary Conduit was once a person that Riker knew. It just seemed forced somehow, whereas the earlier installments were much more fluid. Still, the events in this issue are necessary to move the plot forward, so I can overlook some minor flaws.

The one thing that I did find interesting about this issue was the explanation of how the Cybermen overcame the Borg. Essentially, it was a cyber attack on the Borg’s internal network. The Cybermen hacked the Borg’s network and were then able to destroy them. I see the same threat to countries now that we have come to rely upon computers and networks to run our society. A successful cyber attack would be devastating to an advanced society’s infrastructure.

Even though this issue was not as interesting as the previous ones, I am still enjoying the series as a whole. Look for my review of issue #7 soon.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation2 – Issue #5

StarTrekDrWho_AssimIss5The other day I noticed that a local comic store, Comic Envy, relocated to a bigger store. So yesterday I decided to go in there and inquire about when the X-Files comic is coming out (it will be in June, by the way). Of course, once I was in there, I HAD to buy some comics. My purchase included issues 5 through 8 of the Star Trek/Doctor Who series.

I read the first four as part of a volume that I picked up at a comic expo (click here to read my review on that volume). The basic story line is that the Cybermen joined forces with the Borg, but then turned on the Borg in an attempt to assimilate them. Volume 1 leaves off with the Doctor trying to convince Picard to help the Borg defeat the Cybermen.

In issue #5, Picard is adamant about not wanting to assist the Borg, which is understandable. Despite all the logical arguments, he refuses to help, wishing only that the Borg is destroyed. It is not until the Doctor takes the captain on a trip into the future aboard the TARDIS that Picard finally realizes what is at stake.

There is a great line at the end of the issue as the Doctor is still trying to convince Picard. The Doctor states: “We should help our enemies because it’s what makes us better than them.” (p. 22) I totally related to that line. For so many years, I held on to resentments for wrongs inflicted upon me by those I deemed my enemies. It wasn’t until I forgave them and began to wish only the best for them that I was able to move on and find contentment. The ability to help those who have hurt you is a true spiritual value.

The last thing I would like to say about this comic is that I think the artwork is great. The colors are vivid and the characters very life-like. I am looking forward to reading the next three issues. My thoughts on those will be posted soon.

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Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 Vol. 1

I recently attended the Asheville Comic Expo with my youngest daughter, appropriately dressed in my Captain Kirk costume. While roaming around, I came across a booth that had a plethora of sci-fi items. It was there that I found the Star Trek/Doctor Who graphic novel. I had heard about this and figured I needed to grab a copy. It seems I was not the only one who felt this way, since three other copies were sold in the time I was at the table.

The basic premise of the novel is that the Doctor arrives on the holodeck of the Enterprise in the TARDIS. As the Next Gen crew and the Doctor try to figure out why this happened, it is discovered that the Borg has joined forces with the Cybermen. The Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise begin planning how to face this new and formidable alliance.

I really loved the illustrations in this book. The artwork is very good, even though the characters seemed a little stiff in several panels, but overall, very good. The facial details make up for the occasional stiffness. There is also one part where there is a flashback to the Original Series that features Kirk and company. What works exceptionally well here is that not only do the characters change, but the style of the artwork changes. The panels actually take on a more basic style that is in keeping with the imagery associated with the Original Series. There is even an appearance from the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, which was a nice touch.

In classic graphic novel style, the book leaves you hanging with the promise of “To Be Continued.” I’m actually OK with that, because now I have something to look forward to. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when the next installment is released. It’s possible that I may now end up as one of those guys who troll the comic book stores. I guess I’d better start saving for a trip to Comic-Con.

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