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.
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.
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
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.