DC Comics Star Trek #2 (The Only Good Klingon…) is the second half of the series-starting two-parter, and as such it serves to conclude our introduction to this imagining of the Enterprise’s crew and the new cast of characters who are also along for the ride, as well as confirm fact that the Klingons are back and bad as ever.
(I’m blogging each and every issue of the DC Comics Star Trek run that debuted in 1984. Why would anyone want to do that? I explain all here in an introduction to this project that includes very first post in this series.)
When we last left Kirk & co., the Admiral and newly introduced Ensign Bryce were circling a wormhole-situated Klingon battlestation protected by nothing more than what look to be a mix between the containment suits Chekhov and his captain wore in The Wrath of Khan, and the thruster suit introduced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
It’s hard to express how odd it reads to have Kirk suggest they storm through a wormhole not in a shuttlecraft (even though there’s one nearby), but in suits that probably wouldn’t hold up well should things get at all bumpy. This is another artifact of the writing team and artists getting their feet wet in the Star Trek universe by using technology lifted from the most recent films (and stuff that was probably visually interesting to layout and draw). Still, it’s jarring and weird.
Also borrowed from the movie franchise are some generous helpings of recycled dialogue, with Scotty once again referring to ‘the mains’ in multiple panels, and McCoy having a pensive moment in the turbolift where he muses on what Spock might have meant when he told him to ‘remember,’ just before dying in Wrath of Khan.
The latter is particularly interesting, given that McCoy was A) unconscious at the time this happened, and B) that sequence was snuck into the movie at the last minute to set up the return of Spock in Star Trek III, which is something that exists entirely outside the universe of this comic book series.
More intriguing is Sulu’s internal monologue about how pissed off he is that Starfleet keeps passing him over for a command of his own. It was a valid complaint for the character, and it would be eventually addressed by giving him the center seat of the U.S.S. Excelsior in the sixth cinematic franchise entry. I’m curious to see what DC decides to do with Sulu now that this seed has been planted.
Where’s The Heart?
The story itself is fairly basic. Kirk and Bryce storm the battlestation, kill a bunch of Klingons, and then have Saavik let her shuttle be captured so she can introduce some type of bomb that disables it.
They also encounter a ‘Klingon with a conscience’ named Konom and end up bringing him back with them to the Enterprise, just before they receive a transmission from the Klingon Emperor that he has declared war on the Federation due to Kirk’s perceived act of aggression (in reality, the base commander’s decision to self-destruct).
Overall, it’s a bit humdrum, unless you enjoy the space battle between Saavik’s shuttle and some generic, distinctly non-Klingon fighter craft, or are intrigued by Bearclaw’s continued inner hate dialogue about Bryce’s dead dad. Glaringly absent is any real emotional parsing of the death of Spock, who was Kirk’s (and probably McCoy’s) best friend. It’s very much Starfleet business as usual, and I can’t help reading this issue like a missed opportunity to really delve into the personal grief being suffered by the members of the crew who were closest to him.
It would have made for more interesting pages than the bland shuttle fight or phaser combat inside the station, but it’s also probably indicative of how a publisher like DC approached intellectual property like Star Trek in that era. The emphasis so far seems not on further developing characters that were already familiar to the reader, but rather putting them in new situations that could be easily wrapped up in an issue or two, to keep things churning forward.
A postscript on the final page promises the return of the Organians in Issue #3, who haven’t been seen since way back in the original series days, and again read like a relic of the writing team’s decision to mine the past to make the present seem familiar for long-time fans. Still, the series has to start somewhere, right?
Best Retro Ad From This Issue
This was a tough call. On the one hand, we’ve got this amazingly ’80s message from ‘Dave Jackson, Expert Gamesman’ bragging about his devotion to both arcade games and arcade-based board games.
But then there’s also his mysterious classified ad for something called the ‘VIDEO-MITT.’ Remember to specific right or left hand when ordering.
And finally, the Zorcom Spaceship, which I think is made of cardboard, but also comes with the option of an ‘Adventure Cassette’ filled with ‘Awsom (sic) Voices — Lasers — Battles and Beasts.’