Modern Star Trek Comics

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Star Trek: Burden of Knowledge
Written by Scott and David Tipton
Art by Federica Menfredi
Colors by Andrea Priorini and Arianna Florean

Since my jump back into collecting comic issues last year, some of the books I've been interested in are IDW's Star Trek titles. Scott Tipton (better known by me for Comics 101) on the cover was an additional enticement to check it out.

Burden of Knowledge is a four-issue miniseries that came out in 2010.

The writing in this is generally very strong, it echoes the tone and characters of the original series beautifully, without quoting directly. The art is a little shakier. The half-cartoony style is sometimes elevated by the computer coloring, and sometimes severely undermined by it. There are some beautiful panels, which look like the actors without feeling the need to be photo-realistic, and there are some badly misshapen faces.

The plot of Burden of Knowledge is quite enjoyable: a series of linked encounters with aliens with very different ideas of science and culture, often playing with the idea of what it means to be part of the Federation. There are a few instances of overly obvious dialogue choices, but on one level that's part of the charm of a piece meant to harken back to The Original Series.

Star Trek: Khan: Ruling in Hell
Written by Scott and David Tipton
Art and Color by Fabio Mantovani

The other recent miniseries I picked up is Khan:Ruling in Hell. Based loosely, I assume, on Greg Cox's novel of the same name, these four issues chronicle the time Khan and his people spend on Ceti Alpha V between the events of Space Seed and The Wrath of Khan.

The art is quite nice here, lovely colors and strong choices. The only major flaw in the art is not entirely their fault: the dress of straps thing that the women in Khan's group wore in the Original Series didn't exactly look comfortable on film, but drawn flat it looks either ridiculous or non-existent.

Again the dialogue is particularly strong, especially for Khan. The story is compelling and tragic, and kept me interested even though I knew perfectly well what was going to happen to them. Khan's one-sided relationship with the absent Kirk is devastating in issue two, and the strife that pits his people against each other keeps the drama high through issues three and four. It's a beautiful piece overall.

I enjoyed both of these miniseries, the first is more lighthearted, but the second is definitely stronger.

Both Burden of Knowledge and Khan:Ruling in Hell are available as slim graphic novel collections.

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