Monday, February 7, 2011

Issue Two: ...The Only Good Klingon...


Ok, so picking up directly after Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, Admiral Kirk is once again assigned asCaptain of the Enterprise. Starfleet dispatches Enterprise and company to the Klingon Neutral Zone where there have been several Klingon hit and run attacks.  The Enterprise itself is attacked and barely avoids being destroyed.  During the heat of battle an odd signal is sent from one of the Klingon Battle cruisers. The signal turns out to be a wormhole flux signature.  Kirk and company investigate further by modifying a shuttle and a few space suits to enter the wormhole and discover what the Klingons are up to.  Kirk and company are astonished to find within a huge Klingon battle station.

Chapter II: ...The Only Good Klingon...takes up the story with Lt. Saavik piloting a shuttlecraft through the wormhole to distract the Klingons while Admiral Kirk and Ensign Bryce give the battlestation a closer look.
Elsewhere, aboard the Enterprise Scotty is struggling to bring the damaged engines and weapons back online so that the Enterprise can defend itself against another attack.
Lt. Saavik leads a squad of Klingons on a merry chase through the wormhole.  Kirk and Bryce enter the station through an airlock as one of the enemy ships deploys to go after Saavik. Kirk wonders how the Klingons are getting away with their aggressions against Starfleet since the Organian Peace Treaty has been in effect for some sixteen years (Watch the original Star Trek tv series episode "Errand of Mercy" to learn how the Organian Peace Treaty came about!).
Once on the Klingon station Kirk and Bryce go about finding out how to collapse the wormhole or make it unstable so that the Klingons can't hide or attack from it anymore.
Meanwhile, Captain Koloth of the Klingons begins to suspect that there's something extremely odd about his crewman Konom.  Konom worries that his aversion to violence and war and that whole thing has been discovered. Koloth dispatches a few of his officers to follow Konom and monitor his activities.
It doesn't take long for Konom to stumble on to Kirk and Bryce.  A phaser fight breaks out during which Konom tries to explain to Kirk that "there is something wrong with me!", that he abhores the Klingon way of violence and barbarism and that in fact, he is the one who sent the signal out to alert Kirk and company of the hidden wormhole. Konom is eventually wounded by phaser fire.
Meanwhile, Lt. Saavik has ditched her shuttle and became a prisoner of the Klingons. She makes a bold escape and manages to hook back up with Kirk's party. They plant some explosives on the device making the wormhole stable and then use the Klingons transporter to get back to the Enterprise.
McCoy goes into surgery on Konom while Kirk prepares to face off with the Klingons-but, as they usually do-the Klingons have other plans-like blowing themselves and their exposed battle station to smithereens instead of facing defeat at Kirk's hands.
Meanwhile Konom pulls through surgery and Ensign Bryce is left to stand at his bedside and wonder what to do with her hatred of Klingons now that she's discovered one that goes against her stereotyping.
The issue ends with the Klingon Emperor Kahless IV declaring war on the federation for the "savage agressive acts" of James T. Kirk.


Issue two ratchets up the action/adventure nicely. The plot is solid but fairly Star Trek standard.  Evil Klingons doing evil, underhanded things while Admiral Kirk and crew works against time and the odds to foil their plans. However, DC Star Trek knew and understand their core fans-and what things to do to really please them.  I'm talking about the small (and sometimes not so small) character moments-where the penciled characters acted, reacted, and interacted with their environments and with each other like their television counterparts.
This issue, as I've said, had it's lion's share of action scenes but I would like to point out all of the little things-character moments and such that made this title such a favorite of mine.

Beginning with supporting players and working our way up we see...

that Ensign Bearclaw is holding a hard grudge against the Klingons and ensign Bryce for what happened to his father on the Gallant.  It's easy to make 2nd string Star Trek characters into nothing more than redshirts who fail to die quickly, but writer Mike W. Barr has avoided that trap. With every panel he starts adding dimensions to his 2nd line characters.

Bryce ends up with a lot of page time in the first two issues. Most of that is her actions as an inexperienced officer. To the left here is a panel from a discussion between her and Kirk after she's frozen at a critical junction.  Its standard fare but it gives an opportunity to see how Kirk relates impersonally to his crew and it also shows that not everyone aboard the Enterprise is a super experienced, nearly indestructible and virtually unfallable.(Incidentally, the time Kirk mentions in the above panel was shown in the Original Series episode "Obsession").

...Konom is a very strange Klingon, indeed! He hates needless violence, the "glories" of war, and barbarism for barbarisms sake.  Back when this series started I remember being dubious about Konom but I was willing to give him a chance.

Then, there were the main cast's character moments sprinkled through issue 2...  The Panel below hearkens back to the climax of Star Trek II when Mr. Spock mind melds with an unconscious Dr. McCoy and simply says, "Remember!"  Remember what, McCoy muses. Will we ever find out? How tantalizing! :)
 This next panel also features Dr. McCoy having an exchange with Mr. Sulu about Mr. Spock. When this issue was released Star Trek III was still months away and McCoys comment was very poignant. 

Finally, we have a moment where Sulu voices the thoughts of many fans (me being one of them) at the time: GIVE SULU A FREAKIN' STARSHIP TO COMMAND! That would have been so cool on screen as a television series.

Well, that wraps up issue 2 of  DC's Star Trek! Come back next post for Chapter III: Errand of War!