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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 September 2014
The five issue mini-series `Khan' from IDW's Star Trek comic book series is collected as Star Trek: Khan (Star Trek (IDW)). This story takes place during Khan's trial before a court of the United Federation of Planets, following the events of the film Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free], or at least, is not seen in the film, though its result is. Kirk and Spock are in court as part of the prosecution team. The main story, told in flashback and narrated by Khan, takes all but 9 of the pages. The first three issues tells of Khan's life in the 20th century, from his kidnapping as a child off the street of an Indian city to be used in a secret genetic experiment to build super-soldiers, to his assuming the leadership of his group, their infiltration of the various governments of Earth, and their coup, which gave the various teams of supersoldiers control of Earth in 1992. There were seven new states, each ruled by the super-soldier elite, but in different ways. Khan's Asian empire was, of course, a very benign and popular dictatorship, while the others were flawed in different ways, leading to either civil war or revolution, until only his empire remained. Seeing the way the wind was blowing, he had invested in new technology and built a space ship, at a site near the former Botany Bay, which gave its name to the ship. He and his remaining team-mates launched themselves into deep space, away from the ruined Earth, where, in issue #4, he is found by Admiral Marcus's Section 31. The last two issues are his adventures with Section 31 - how he came to be "John Harrison", what turned Praxis - the moon of Kronos - into rubble, as visible in the film, and his actions that opened the film's scenes on Earth.

This is not actually a particularly good story as such - as interesting as it might be - due to its lack of depth. The story merely narrates what happened, though it narrates it very well, and the creative team has taken everything we knew from the original series and has constructed a reasonably believable world from it. But, it is just a series of (very interesting) episodes. However, what saves it, is, at the very end, Spock and Kirk are discussing the above narrative, and Kirk observes that we only have Khan's word for what happened, and that basically he has written the history the way he wants it to be written, with himself as the hero. This is Khan's story, written by Khan himself: "This is the story what I wrote". It also goes some way to explaining why the map of the world under the supermen's control looks like the map from "Risk".

So, given the above twist, this actually becomes a good story, and it has excellent artwork to support it. It fills in the background to much of the history of the `old' timeline, (establishing the world that saw "First Contact", and fills in much of the immediate background to "Into Darkness", including why Khan, who looks like Ricardo Montalban when he launches the Botany Bay, looks like Benedict Cumberbatch in the new film.

THE SPOILER ZONE
THE SPOILER ZONE
THE SPOILER ZONE

Issue #1 opens with Khan's trial before a court of the United Federation of Planets, following the events of the film Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]. Kirk and Spock are in court as part of the prosecution team. The main story, told in flashback and narrated by Khan, takes all but the first 3 of the pages. This issue tells of Khan's life in the 20th century, from his kidnapping as a child off the street of an Indian city to be used in a secret genetic experiment to build super-soldiers, to his assuming the leadership of his group, his development into a super-human, and his eventual takeover of the secret base. We also see a little of the background to the organisation running the experiment.

Issue #2 sees the supermen taking over the secret installations scattered around the world, setting up their own internal hierarchy, and developing a plan to take over the various governments of the world. The supermen begin to infiltrate the highest echelons of the various governments, until one day in 1992, they take control, in a series of more or less bloodless coups, depending on which of the seven group's territories is involved. Khan takes the name "Khan" one he has taken control of his empire.

Issue #3 sees Khan's own empire flourishing (according to his own narration, that is), while the other supermen-controlled states al begin to experience problems; either civil war between the ruling elites, or rebellion from the human masses. Eventually, war breaks out between some of the states, and Khan prepares a space ship - the Botany Bay, as a contingency plan. Finally, the humans develop a bio-weapon that targets the supermen, and it is time to go...

Issue #4 opens with Section 31 agent John Harrison waking up in hospital on the secret base orbiting Jupiter, and Admiral Marcus waiting at his bedside. Apparently, he was injured on is last mission, and has been in a coma, and is suffering from memory loss... He gets back to work, developing the personal transport device, amongst other things, and finally goes on a mission to destroy Praxis, the industrial moon of Kronos. During the story, he experiences memory flashes of another life, and by the end, he remembers who he really is...

Issue #5 sees John Harrison/Khan busy trying to locate his missing crew, confronting Admiral Marcus, discovering what has happened to him while in Section 31's hands, and setting up his plan for revenge which begin to bear fruit in the film Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]. We also see the end of his trial, which is set after the film, or at least, is not seen in the film.
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This is a collection of five stories first published as a collection in May 2014. The stories are five chapters of a linked story which features Khan, the long-time enemy of Captain Kirk and the Federation. The story is told of both before and after the Star Trek: Into Darkness movie, so tells Khan’s story of his development into the man he is, the Eugenics Wars and his trial by the Federation for his actions under Section 31 led by Admiral Marcus. The trial attempts to get Khan to tell the truth about who he is, and what he has done.

This is a great story; brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed, both in word and art. The artwork is really evocative, with action scenes, memory scenes, narration and recall scenes all differentiated perfectly, creating a seamless read (and vision) for the reader.

The story itself is fantastic; Khan’s character is extremely well portrayed, as are the other characters with whom he interacts in this narrated story. This is an absolute winner of a graphic novel.
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on 25 October 2015
SPOILER ALERT.

This series was initially published in five issues so be aware that it is quite short. The illustration is great, the story is engrossing, but there were a couple of annoying glitches. The main one being that the story line attempts to reconcile Khan's appearance with his heritage, with a load of tripe about genetic manipulation. Firstly, I don't know why the writers decided to try and explain this issue, when in this day and age, you'd think race shouldn't be an issue. It was completely unnecessary, distracted the reader from the real story and reduced the impact of the true emotional issues. Personally I find it a bit of an error of judgement on the writer's part. As Star Trek fans should know, Khan is named after his creator, he wasn't given an Indian name because he is ethnically Indian. Why not just leave it at that? Anyone who didn't already know this about Khan would probably take it in their stride that this guy, (from just a little bit further in our own future, by the way,) might have a name that doesn't reflect his ethnicity. Why did they have to go and self consciously try to explain it and then end up with a less plausible story as a result. I'm sure most people don't have a problem with someones face not matching their name. Sure Hollywood has been accused of whitewashing many parts, but would the comic writers have followed that story line if the actor chosen to portray Khan had been, for instance, African American, would they have been as compelled to explain the apparent contradiction? Or are white actors the only ones who happen to be fair game? Actors get parts because they are professional and show up on time, just like any other job. they get the part because of their skill in portraying strong emotion. They shouldn't get the part because they are a particular colour. Anyone who is squeamish about race on film should watch Cloud Atlas, which proves it doesn't matter how a character's appearance is written, what matters the most is how powerfully they tell the story. I can hardly bear to imagine a comic series written to explain the inconsistencies of race in that movie. Put in that perspective, the 'Khan' comic's writers seem even more pathetically apologetic. This approach has also precluded the fact that there are plenty of ethnic Indian people with blue, green or grey eyes and a variety of skin tones. Hell, I'm part Indian and I'm as pale as you can get. No-one complains. Maybe someone should have told the writers about Ricardo Montalban being Mexican.
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on 13 October 2014
Took me 20 minutes to read the whole collection. Reads like a synopsis of what should have been a substantial story. Certainly filled in the gaps that the movie left out, but it should have been a meatier plot. Quite disappointing.
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on 2 August 2014
Fills in the blanks between Khan being found and the events in Star Trek into Darkness.
A good buy if you are curious about how Khan ended up looking different and hating Admiral Marcus.
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on 24 August 2014
This is a well conceived back history of Khan, well worth a read. Be warned that this is very Khan heavy there is very little Enterprise crew involvement
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on 15 November 2014
An interesting back story on how Khan rose to power and how he ended up with Section 31 in Star Trek Into Darkness. Recommended to any fan of Star Trek!
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on 2 April 2015
Finally we know the truth about Khan!
Well written and pictured graphic novel!
I'd give it 10 stars if I could.
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on 11 September 2014
Great novel , loved it
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