TrekInk: Early Review – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan #1

kahn A generation after its release in 1982, the enterprising folks at IDW are giving us a comic book adaptation of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The first of three issues will be arriving in comic shops this week. Find out if it was worth the wait in TrekMovie’s exclusive early review.


StarTrek II: The Wrath of Khan (Comic Adaptation) #1
[written by Andy Schmidt, with art by Chee Yang Ong and color by Moose Baumann.]

Wrath of Khan is arguably the most memorable Star Trek film. Most of the previous Star Trek movie adaptations were developed while the films were in production. Comic writers and artists didn’t have the final film to work from. Andy Schmidt put his life on the line, taking on the job of trimming the story to fit into three issues. I’m happy to say that we can put the pitchforks and torches back in the garage. They won’t be needed for this issue. I was going to screen the film before reviewing Issue #1, but reading the comic is just like watching the film. Good thing too. I tossed out my VCR a few years ago, but never replaced my VHS copy of Star Trek II.

The story opens with Saavik in command, the Kobayashi Maru in peril, and proceeds with comfortably familiar scenes of Kirk feeling old and McCoy trying to shake him out of the doldrums. When Chekov and Captain Terrell arrive on what they think is Ceti Alpha 6, the story and the art kicks into high gear. Dr. Carol Marcus begs Kirk for help from Regula One, and Spock says what we all know to be true, that Kirk belongs in command.

Artist Chee Yang Ong works with a dark, brooding style. His closeups of the main characters show all their warts and wrinkles. If you look closely at the details, you’ll see that uniform insignia come and go, or change color from gold to silver and back. I tend to overlook the little details when reading a comic. The story unfolds smoothly, the art matches the story, so overall, everything feels right. I like Chee’s work. He’s done a good job with a large number of very familiar characters. Only Scotty suffers a bit.

Khan calmly apprises Chekov and his captain of their current location.

In both the script and the art, Schmidt and Chee have demonstrated that they can preserve the pace and the humor of the film. The first time I saw TWOK, was also the first time I realized the crew of the Enterprise was getting old. That was almost thirty years ago. Curiously, Chee’s Enterprise crew look as old as I remember them, but still full of life. There are two more issues to come before we can really make a comparison to past movie adaptations, but I’m thinking I might not need to replace my copy of TWOK.

With Saavik at the helm, and McCoy by his side, Kirk has nothing to worry about.

Chee Yang Ong, hails from Malaysia, and has been making a name for himself drawing horror and crime comics for IDW, Image and Boom! Studios. Chee provides covers for all three issues of this series. Issue #1 Cover A feature his lifelike portraits of Kirk and Spock.

Cover B reproduces the B movie poster artwork by Bob Peak. A commercial artist credited with a huge impact on the evolution of modern movie posters, Peak had a long association with Star Trek, creating posters for the first six films, several TV Guide covers, and probably more. He passed away in 1992. Peak’s artwork features an iconic image of Khan staring down the universe while Kirk trembles in his boots.

Cover A: Chee Yang Ong, Cover B: Photo Cover (based on Bob Peak poster)

The retailer incentive cover is one of three interlocking covers by David Deitrick. He also created covers for FASA Star Trek rulebooks back in the 1980’s. Deitrick’s cover for issue #1 features an armed tribble. Wait… is that Kirk wearing William Shatner’s 1982 hairpiece? It was an honest mistake.

Cover RI: David Deitrick

Star Trek The Wrath of Khan Issue #1 will be in comic stores on this Wednesday (for more see the TrekMovie preview) Issue #2 is scheduled for June 17 and the concluding issue will be available in July.

You can pre-order all thee at TFAW





(June 17)


TWOK comic tidbits:

  • Andy Schmidt, an IDW editor by day, also teaches about the Comics Experience.
  • Star Trek comics flashback: UK artist J. B. Higgins paid homage to Bob Peak’s TWOK poster for the cover of Marvel’s 1982 Star Trek Winter Special.


Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics. And yes, he knows that the IDW pages are incomplete. Blame it on IDW for publishing Star Trek comics faster than he can read them.

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The art looks very good, harking back to the days of the Key Comics art – but much better. A companion to the movie.

C’mon, it’s “Khan.” How many years have you had to figure out the right spelling of this?

#2 –

dude it must be nice to be perfect like you and never make mistakes.

The cover picture of Kahn (he he) looks like the chick that was on ‘Who’s the Boss’ and now a judge on Law and Order SVU…

It’d be cool to read, but might as well watch the movie no? Does this comic add anything?

#3 –

Really, there’s very little in the way of excuses for that spelling error, especially when you’re reviewing the comic book and the proper spelling of the name is right on the frakking cover. It doesn’t take perfection to get it right, as you allude to; just a little common sense and minimal reading skills.

5. –
“very little in the way of excuses…”

Except being human – which is my point. Too many folks are quick to point out others’ faults but are happy to ignore their own. lighten up…

The cover artwork by David Deitrick takes the over lighted Enterprise-A from Star Trek 5. Eww!

Seeing those comic covers makes me want to get a Shat-perm. (an no, that’s not where someone shats on my head either!!!) I think that perm that Shat had back in the 90’s was hilarious!

I do like Chee Yang Ong’s artwork very much.

hopefully we’ll see stuff expanded on – like the torture scenes etc

This looks good. I may buy it.

I’ll buy it just for the awsome artist’s renditions of that curly TJ Hooker style toupee.

Adaptations like this that add nothing of interest are pointless in my view. I have the DVD. If I wanted a “still” version, I’d just look at my Photostory book of the film ( see )

I wonder if Chee ever watched the movie. Not a huge fan of his style. Consistency is the key when doing a Trek comic. It’s all about the little details. Most film adaptations suffer some because the artist doesn’t get enough reference to draw a scene properly. This film has been out for 27 years, and Chee still managed to put Sulu in the navigators chair! That would be like drawing a Superman comic and giving Jimmy Olsen a signal bowtie!

Mark, you tossed out your VHS copy of Star Trek II, and you’ve never picked it up on DVD or Blu-ray? You’re going to read this comic adaptation instead of watching the movie? I think you need your Trek blog license revoked.

#10. Eww, expanded torture scenes? No way. Long enough as is, thank you very much.

It has to be said (and I know it’s unlikely) but a comicbook adaptation would allow for some adaption of the extra material in the novelisation!

#16: No kidding, that was my first thought when Mark admitted to not owning TWOK on DVD. I think it’s required by law to own Star Trek II on DVD.

no one every said trek fan’s were nitpicky aye?

I still don’t know, what we need this comic adaption for….we’ve got the movie and we ‘ve got the photonovel. Is there anything new in this comic?

#3… Judith Light? aw man,…great. Now I’m picturing her in all the Khan scenes.

“I tossed out my VCR a few years ago, but never replaced my VHS copy of Star Trek II.”

You mean you dont even have Wrath of Khan on DVD?

#23 Thanks. Now I’m imagining Tony Danza in role of Kirk. “Yo, Angela, I’m laughing at the superior intellect.”

Would have been nice if they would have done Space Seed first ?!

I’m not buying any of the Blu-Ray Star Trek movies 1-6 until they get a better treatment. I want TWOK Directors Cut, and TMP Directrs Cut, the longer version of Star Trek 6 like it is on DVD.

27. Dan – June 8, 2009


Same here dude,

CBS/Paramount are getting greedy just like Lucasfilm !!

Normally, I don’t buy comics adaptations of movies. I’d rather go see the movie again. But I’ve always wondered what a comic version of The Wrath of Khan (my favorite Trek film and possibly my favorite movie) would look like. Just looking at the art, it reminds me of seeing the movie with a packed house. My friend, Tom, another fan of Trek, was there, too. I still remember him whispeing to me “Check out Chekov” while everyone else was talking.

Ah, memories.

#14 – I still have my copy of the TWOK photostory book lying around; its really a shame that the publishers cheaped out on that one and went black & white after the beautiful color editions for ST:TMP and some of the old shows. Man, the things we did to get our Trek fix before VHS (and later DVD) became affordable.

As to the comic, considering that this adaptation is almost 30 years late to the party, I would expect a more ambitious presentation, maybe incorporating some of the events from Space Seed into the narrative as flashbacks. Instead it just seems like a verbatim retread of certain scenes from the movie and that seems somewhat pointless.

I also really don’t care for the artwork. Kirk in particular looks pretty bad on some of the panels I’ve seen, with a really big nose and other oddly proportioned facial features; Saavik looks positively scary in some of the panels. The books also seem to get way too many of the little visual details wrong (Sulu in the wrong chair, Birds of Prey on the viewscreen during the Kobyashi Maru, and that’s just on one page). It’s one thing for that to happen on a book that is being produced concurrently with a movie, but for a film that’s been around for so long and where lots of reference materials are readily available, it’s just inexcusable. It’ll be a pass on this one for me.

Chee’s artwork makes a good first impression on me, but I didn’t recognize Dietrich’s cover. I miss the solid saturated colors of his old FASA work.

bob peak died before doing the STVI poster. The poster was done in his style for continuity

Spock looks kinda asian in the front cover

#3 and #23… Judith Light as Khan – very funny. Hope J.J. doesn’t pull a Ron Moore and cast Judith Light as Khan in a sequel. Love Katie Sackhoff as Starbuck, but Khan as a woman would be so wrong!

I don’t want to pick on anyone’s artwork, but the Deitrick cover looks like someone has merged Shatner with Walter Koenig in a bizarre transporter accident.

STAR TREK II.V: The Wrath of Kirkov

im abit surprised by the sheer level of apathy towards TWOK comics from posters here…..i think its GREAT that theres finally a TWOK adaptation to slot inbetween Marvels TMP adaptation and DCs III – VI….years ago i used to get so annoyed that there wasnt one for Trek II (lol sad i know)…think there were rumours of DC doing one around the time of Trek VI to complete the set but obviously it didnt come to anything (plus i think there were rumours of a B&W ‘unoffical’ version being avaiable in China or something??)..and now…27 years later…its finally here!! and all i hear is…’i have the dvd so whats the point??’….man dosnt anyone else feel the sheer SATISFACTION of finally owning this?

im also shocked at there being no adaptation for the new movie (maybe due to keeping the plot/sets/uniforms etc under wraps?)

#17 – lol i meant hopefully we’ll see stuff that was done off screen expanded on (like in the novel)….im not especially desperate to see cartoons of people being tortured to death!

can we pull a Lucas, and have the ceti eel in me shoot first?????

as for the covers – think i’ll plump for cover ‘A’ – its more in line with the covers for the other movie adaptations (none of which had the movie posters on)

#6 – “Too many folks are quick to point out others’ faults but are happy to ignore their own.”

Boy, Spectrum, you said a mouthful. And, unfortunately, for a site that is supposed to be supported by Trek fans, it often happens far too vehemently if not even viciously.

Keep on being a voice of reason, tolerance and civility, sir.

As for the comic, I’m not much of a collector, but this does appear to be a fine adaptation of the “Star Trek” film which, IMHO, remains the greatest one ever made.

36. screaming satellite

It could just be that the comic is too late in coming to catch much interest. Twenty-seven years is quite a long time to wait for a comic book. I must admit that I am not a fan of Trekcomics myself; the only one I have is the Countdown TPB. I’ve only read that once, and I haven’t felt the urge to read it again.

I don’t think people here are being overly critical. It is a good point to ask if the comic adds anything beyond what’s in the film. Does it add the part where Savik is half-Romulan? Or clarify that Scotty’s nephew is the dead cadet he brings to the bridge? If it is simply a rehashing of the movie, is it really worth it? The novelizations where usually a good read because they added plenty of back-story and flushed out the characters. Due to space constraints though it is more difficult to do this in a comic. As others have said, I think I will pass, Trek completist that I am.

^41. Meyer never put the Saavik half-Romulan thing in any cut of the movie and there’s nothing about it in Nimoy’s films with the character. It’s one of those assumed but unproven things, like Uhura’s first name was until the 2009 movie. The Scotty’s nephew stuff is in the TV and Director’s Edition DVD cuts of the film.

When I saw the price they wanted for this comic I stopped for a moment then yelled, “CONNNNNN!”

the half Romulan thing was in the novelization of the film, so not really made up, just not “confirmed” in the film. Likely no longer with us thanks to the destruction of Vulcan and the new timeline…

42 – while the half-Romulan revelation didn’t make it into either the theatrical or extended cuts of the film, the scene was filmed and has made the fan-circuit for years. I saw it on video at a mini-con in the mid-nineties that looked to have been taken from an extended preview of the film taken to cons and press tours.

Someone has tried to edit the excised clip back in to the final version of the scene to show how it might have played, and can be found at:


“im abit surprised by the sheer level of apathy towards TWOK comics from posters here…..”

Most of us have memorized this film word-for-word, and scene-by-scene, including the ABC extended version, and the other ‘found’ footage. We know the darn ending, and the comic is created by people who didn’t grow up with the film. The pages we’ve been shown are very much a run/pause/run/pause of the DVD, and not much else.

I have to admit being a little irked at seeing BOP’s in the KM test scene.

Isn’t it bad enough that we see too many of them after TSFS?

I always hated seeing Klingons in a cloakable ship painted “like a giant bird of prey”…

“If you look closely at the details, you’ll see that uniform insignia come and go, or change color from gold to silver and back. I tend to overlook the little details when reading a comic.”

I think that’s more than little details…that’s just not understanding how the characters look. Terrible review.