In Review: Star Trek: Khan #3

The cover: A threesome for you to try to collect this month. The Regular cover is by Paul Shipper and it’s a good bust shot of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan against a terrific night sky with the launching of the infamous Botany Bay to his right. This is an exceptional likeness of the actor and the coloring is great. The Subscription cover is the photo cover featuring a scene from the climax of Into Darkness with Khan running down the street. A terrific picture and even though I dislike this movie, this is the cover I purchased. The Retailer Incentive cover is by Andrew Currie with colors by Zac Atkinson. This illustration features Khan in his black, long sleeved shirt and behind him is a highly detailed schematic of the Botany Bay in blue. I like the diagram more than the figure. Overall grades: Regular A, Subscription A+, and the RI C+

The story: Mike Johnson’s story, with story consultant Roberto Orci, again opens in the “present’ as Khan continues the story of his life in front of Spock, Kirk, and Starfleet. With the turn of a page we’re transported to May 7, 1996, as Khan and his fellow genetic superiors have overtaken the world. Kahn rules India and states he has “eliminated poverty and sickness within my borders. The concept of need was archaic as rubbing two sticks to make a fire.” But this new golden age will not last. Nuclear war has made a wasteland of North America, while other brothers and sisters put their countries into debt or expand too quickly. Don’t even ask what’s going on in East Asia. Infighting seems destined but the greatest threat to the new rulers of Earth is unseen and soon the Botany Bay is being constructed. An enjoyable story that explains why Khan and his company went into space, but I still want to know why Khan’s image doesn’t match that of Starfleet’s records (Why Benedict and not Ricardo?). Trek fans will enjoy this, though they’ll see the ending easily, and new readers should like the mix of alternate history and action. Overall grade: A-

The art: The one page in the present is drawn and inked by Star Trek drawing god David Messina, Pages 2 – 11 of the flashback are penciled by Claudia Balboni and inked by Marina Castelvetro (under the supervision of Balboni), and Pages 12 – 22 are penciled by Luca Lamberti. I’ve always been a fan of Messina’s art, so having just a page from in makes me happy, but using his art as introduction to the story is a slick way to get him back to Trek! Balboni and Castelvetro do an epic job on Khan, showing him in his prime as a ruler. Page 2 is a terrific establishment shot of the him and the look on his face is perfection. I love the continued use of the map of Earth on Pages 4 and 5, and I also like the antagonist who arrives on Page 9. Lamberti gets the action pages, which are done smoothly, and the reveal of the threat looks fantastic! My favorite panel would have to be the top of Page 18: not Star Trek-y, but perfect for this tale. All four artists have created a work that doesn’t jar the reader with radical changes in style, so all are to be congratulated for making this reading experience seamless. Overall grade: A

The colors: A talent to watch is definitely Claudia ScarletGothica, with an assist from Valentina Cuomo. I’ve always enjoyed her work, and this issue continues to show her skills. I love the lighting technique and shading on Page 1, and how Khan is always framed in crimson, I loved the pastels of the crowd atop Page 3, and though it’s not a difficult job, the coloring of the map on 4 and 5 is just old-school cool. The bottom of Page 15 was wonderfully dramatic, and color sealed the deal on this panel. Both colorists are superb! Overall grade: A+

The letters: A lot of dialogue and narration with a few surprise sounds from Neil Uyetake are perfect. Overall grade: A

The final line: I’m enjoying the story and loving the visuals. This is want you want in every comic! Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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