As part of his valiant efforts to keep the Trek community informed, Anthony has
foolishly graciously invited me to contribute reviews of Star Trek comics to the Trek Movie Report. What was he thinking?
We’ll get started by catching up with IDW Publishing‘s second mini-series, Star Trek: Klingons — Blood Will Tell. The first two issues of this five-issue mini-series are already in comic shops. Blood Will Tell is scripted by brothers Scott Tipton and David Tipton. Interior artwork is by David Messina. Cover art is provided by Messina and Joe Corroney.
Issue #1 introduces the reader to Kahnrah, a member of the Klingon High Council, who must decide if he should follow Chancellor Gorkon’s lead and accept help from the Federation in the wake of the Praxis disaster (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). Discussing the matter with his granddaughter, K’Ahlynn, he reminds her of their QuchHa’ ancestry and their family history, beginning with the death of cousin Kagh at the hands of Starfleet and the incident at Organia (TOS: Errand of Mercy). Kor and his first officer, Kahlor, another kinsman, assume control of a mudball named Organia, where they find a population of sheep and a man named Baroner. Kor is intrigued by the angry young man and appoints him as his liasion. Baroner and his friend, a Vulcan trader, turn out to be troublesome Starfleet officers. When a Federation fleet arrives, Kor doesn’t get the glorious battle he wanted, just a distasteful peace treaty and grudging respect for a Starfleet captain. Following the incident, the High Council decides that guile may succeed where force of arms has failed.
Kahnrah and K’Ahlynn continue their discussion in issue #2. Klingon guile and human distrust are the subtext for the tale of distant cousin Gralmek, small in stature and strength, who volunteers for surgery and covert placement as Arne Darvin, assistant to Nilz Baris, a Federation administrator on Station K-7 responsible for development of Sherman’s Planet (TOS: The Trouble With Tribbles). Unfortunately for Gralmek, visiting Captain Koloth and his crew, and the Klingon age of espionage, fuzzy vermin are formidable adversaries. Gralmek’s service is rewarded with discommendation, but his story suggests that Klingons and humans may have something in common.
For their first venture into the Star Trek universe, the brothers Tipton have come up with a terrific angle — examining classic encounters between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire from the Klingon perspective. This approach has its dangers. Klingons are arguably the most popular of all Trek characters. There are more Klingons per capita than any other alien race currently visiting Earth. Ok, I made that up, but how many other alien species have an educational institution on Earth, dedicated to studying and teaching their language? Staff from the Klingon Language Institute provided an English translation of the Klingon issue #1 for provincial Earthers like myself.
The framing device of a grandfather and granddaughter discussing Klingon history is a nice touch. We see it in both of the issues published so far and I imagine it will be used throughout. This is the same sort of family interplay that I enjoyed between Ben and Jake Sisko. By the way, Sisko makes a cameo appearance in #2, an event chronicled in DS9 episode Trials and Tribble-ations.
David Messina brings a sharp-edged stroke to interior and cover artwork which is appropriate for Klingon tales. The black background adds a suitably dark frame for the interior art panels. Joe Corroney provides photorealistic covers for issues #1 and #2, featuring Kor and Koloth, two of the most memorable Klingon commanders, and a couple of familiar Earthers. Corroney’s cover art for #1 was used for a poster and a postcard distributed to comic shops by IDW. Messina, Corroney and the Tiptons are a fine team for a very entertaining series that shouldn’t be missed. My only complaints? Not enough K’Ahlynn and multiple covers.
Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. Multiple covers make his life miserable. He also reads the occasional Star Trek novel and wonders why they don’t have any pictures. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.