Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (IDW) #1-3

So like I said in an earlier post, the Star Trek comics universe was bereft of an adaptation of The Wrath of Khan when it came out in 1982 because at that point, Marvel’s series had been canceled at the end of 1981 and DC’s first series wouldn’t premiere until the end of 1983. DC would wind up adapting the remaining original crew movies and interweave their comics continuity into them like Marvel did with Star Wars (at least up until the second Trek series premiered), but never went back and fixed that issue.

Enter IDW in 2009, who released an adaptation of the best of the original crew movies as a three-issue, bi-weekly miniseries written by Andy Schmidt and featuring art by Chee Yang Ong. I found the first two issues at my LCS while coming through the back issue bins looking for issues from the DC series. But the third issue wasn’t available and none of it was on the DVD, so I bit the bullet and filled in the gap via Comixology. I wanted to make sure that I went through the entire original crew movie-era continuity, so while this came out more than two decades after TWOK, I felt I needed to slot it in.

It was … well, it wasn’t as necessary as I thought.

I think I might be the problem here, though. I have seen TWOK so many times that I know all of the movie’s various beats, and I also had the pleasure of reading the novelization (and discussing it on episode 112 of Pop Culture Affidavit), which was not only a superb adaptation of the film but further developed some of the characters and fleshed out other aspects of the story. I know it might be a lot to expect from IDW’s adaptation, but it falls very short in this regard and I was kind of disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an inaccurate representation of the film–all of the key moments are there and the artwork is on model–but for something that is so well-beloved, it seems less of a “We finally get to do this” production and more of a “Let’s get this out of the way” project. Perhaps if the series had been given an issue or two more, it would have been better. Moments in the film that had a little more time take only a couple of panels and feel as if they’re not given any room to breathe, and even though some of the biggest action pieces looked good on the comics page, they still lack a little bit of the film’s drama because of the way the comic seems to be saying, “Here’s this scene, here’s this scene, remember this scene?” as if we’re taking a tour of TWOK instead of reading it.

I mentioned the novelization, and as I write this, I kind of think that full adaptations of all of the original crew movies’ novelizations would be great, especially since they add so much more to the movies and in some cases (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) actually improve upon what’s on the screen. Granted, this is one of those pie-in-the-sky fan wishes that would never see the light of day because the audience for it is probably me and three other people on the Two True Freaks Internet Radio Network. Despite that, I think there’s some potential for a graphic novel adaptation of those books.

Anyway, as for this series, it might be worth picking up in a cheap bin, especially for completist’s sake, but I left disappointed and wanting to re-watch the film.

Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?

Donate the physical books … and I label the digital book as a skip unless you’re a completist.

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