Just DL’d the latest STAR TREK issue from IDW. Yes, the Klingons are back in the action now and this first part doesn’t bode well for our Enterprise compatriots. We knew Section 31 (or, rogue agents, of said group), were playing the Romulans and Klingons, with an agenda we’re still waiting on to be revealed. We knew the Klingon fleet was coming (under Commander Kor), with the intent to destroy the Federation. We knew, also, that the Klingons had kept Nero and his crew, in the Rura Penthe prison, for 25 years, as they tried to wrest the secrets of the Borg-enhanced Narada from them. We knew that red matter and some Khanlike torpedoes were going to come into play at some point… Are any of these aspects illuminated in this ‘opening’ 1st of 4-part tale? Some.
Our story so far… ‘After the events of STAR TREK: Into Darkness, the USS Enterprise embarks on a new five-year mission of exploration. Meanwhile, the remnants of Starfleet’s black-ops division Section 31 have been laying the groundwork for a war between the Romulan and Klingon empires, hoping that the conflict between the two enemies will tip the balance of power in the galaxy in the Federation’s favor…’
And-so, begins issue 25, on the planet Khitomer, with the Klingons working to build a new colony. Yes, these Klingons have no helmets, or-shirts, for that matter, as they labor-on, under clear skies. Their work is nearing completion. Suddenly, those skies are marred by incoming fire. The Romulans have attacked, laying waste to the surface, as well as, the Klingon’s warships. But, they’re not done; they expand the radius of destruction, to prove their Romulan superiority, and they obliterate everything.
At space station K-11, the Enterprise is undergoing last-minute preparations and crew rotations, almost-ready to disembark for its unprecedented 5-yr. mission. The mood is light in the mess-hall, as we find Kirk, Sulu and Chekov sitting together; the captain has a surprise for the former, having Sulu cover his eyes. Captain Kirk has added a new member to the crew: Yuki Sulu. The helmsman is surprised, alright, if-not, perturbed by his little sister’s arrival on the ship (as a member of engineering), and by Chekov’s immediate feelings for her. (This can’t turn out well, huh? We know Chekov’s history with women, or-do we..?) Nevertheless, despite, both Yuki and Kirk’s arguments, ‘Hiki’ remains unsettled as the Enterprise begins to depart.
Captain Kirk is just about to order the ship into warp, when Uhura picks up a distress call (at least, the Klingon equivalent; they’re requesting vengeance), coming from Khitomer. Now, you gotta hand it to Kirk, he knows Adm. Marcus has stirred-up the hornets nest with his actions, so he believes this is a perfect opportunity to extend an olive branch to the beleaguered Klingons. Spock, isn’t so optimistic; he warns Kirk to stay away. Not a chance. Kirk hightails it to Khitomer. Meanwhile, the Romulans are conversing with (I’m assuming) the Section 31 operative; they’re thanking [her] for the weapons used to crush the Klingon colony. (The torpedoes we saw in the hangar-bay, a few issues back?) The Romulans are planning the Klingon Empires fall and wondering how the spoils will be divided in the aftermath. The operative says to be patient, all will be revealed later…
The Enterprise arrives at Khitomer, finding debris and devastation. There’s no sign of who could’ve perpetrated the destruction of three Klingon warbirds and the colony on the planet’s surface. Kirk insists on leading a landing party (again, brushing-off Spock’s counsel and warnings), consisting of Bones, Carol Marcus and others. They find no life-signs and no evidence as to who would provoke the Klingons in such a way. However, they do find trouble. Just as Spock predicted, the Klingons arrive and, in large numbers.
Kirk is in the process of ordering a beam-up, Carol Marcus is about to divulge the readings she’s found and the Enterprise crew are finding that the amassing Klingon ships, are eerily similar to the Narada, when the Klingons beam down and begin kicking ass! The landing party is stuck, transmissions are jammed and the Klingons aren’t waiting for ‘talk’; they begin a full-out attack. They pummel the crew, on-both the surface and in orbit. The Enterprise takes heavy damage from the weapons the Klingons fire at them. They’re outnumbered and out-gunned and, their hands are tied; if they fight back even in self-defense, it will be viewed as an act of war. Spock is about to leave Kirk behind, to report to Starfleet, when they’re hailed by Commander Kor, himself. Kor (with brown eyes?) is convinced that Kirk has come to Khitomer to start a war. He welcomes that war, as well. We’re left with the image of Kirk laying on the deck of Kor’s bridge, beaten, unconscious, possibly dead and, Kor, holding the ripped Starfleet insignia from Kirk’s uniform in his hands …
So, yeah…we’re still following the Khan story, (i.e. The Search For Spock/Voyage Home) in ways. Kirk is despised by the Klingons and his name is synonymous with war and destruction, guilty of crimes against the empire; (remember, Kirk had dealings with Kor during the ‘Countdown to Darkness’ storyline, also). Those actions (on Phaedus), Kirk’s incursion on Qo’nos to capture Khan, in concert with Adm. Marcus and Capt. April’s provocation, have made Kirk a marked and hated man. And, just as Spock forewarned, the Klingons don’t believe Kirk’s story of aid and peace. Yeah, we see that Nero’s incarceration on Rura Penthe yielded fruit, after all, as these new Klingon ships are very formidable; (that said, we still have the warning a few-issues, ago, that these ships are prototypes, untested). They seemed pretty tough to me, though, bringing the shiny, newly-rechristened Enterprise to her knees. And these Klingons are badass, too, in my opinion. They are grittier, ruthless and cunning; brutal warriors, who aren’t daunted by any foe. A scarred and intimidating Klingon shows no mercy, throwing Carol Marcus around like a ragdoll and kicking Kirk’s ass on the surface; (showing no kindness to Bones and the others, either, I’m sure) “Pray, the Klingons don’t take prisoners”, as ‘our’ Kirk would say.
All told, I enjoyed this beginning-issue. I hope that ALL of the questions are answered in this 4-story arc, though. This whole Section 31 aspect has me boggled. What IS its true purpose, here. Who IS this operative, who’s always lurking in the shadows. Is she on Kirk’s side or, is she his enemy, ready to give him up? The fallout from Marcus and April’s machinations aren’t finished being told, I think, either. I long to find out more. I want IDW to tell this backstory, so bad! But, I guess, we’ll have to wait…eh?
I liked the artwork in this issue. The likenesses of the crew are damn-good, as well as, the panels of the interior/exteriors-(complete with lens-flares) of the Enterprise. The Klingons and Romulans are true to what we’ve seen, so far, too, with the Romulan tattoos and the Klingon jewelry adorning their head ridges. The space battle scenes are kickass, as are the renderings of the Khitomer attack and its destruction. I give it high marks and, gave it five-stars on the IDW rating-page, at the end. It was an excellent issue and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see what happens, next-month…
‘Til then, enjoy. I’m reading Una McCormack’s go, at STAR TREK: The Fall ‘The Crimson Shadow’, (book two, in this 5-part series). See ya, ‘out there…’
Eric G1 🐊