Star Trek Vol. #02 - Kaikan ni Shinkou -

Anime/Manga Reviews

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  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 213
  • ISBN: 978-1-4278-0620-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Star Trek

Star Trek Vol. #02 - Kaikan ni Shinkou

By Andrew Kent     January 08, 2008
Release Date: November 30, 2007

Star Trek Vol.#02 - Kaikan ni Shinkou

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Art by: EJ Su, Bettina Kurkoski, Nam Kim, Don Hudson, Steven Cummings / Story by Wil Wheaton, Christine Boylan, Mike Wellman, Diane Duane, Paul Benjamin Short story by Geoff Trowbridge
Translated by:
Adapted by:

What They Say
Manga-style art and Star Trek tales collide again in this next volume of the voyages of the U.S.S. Enterprise, commanded by Captain James T. Kirk. Once again ten artists and writers from across the artistic spectrum deliver up brand new tales of universal betterment featuring the classic Star Trek line up.

Kirk is put on trial for crimes he has yet to discover; Uhura demonstrates the true power of communication; Bones gets to the core of Vulcan emotion; Scotty has to extract dilithium crystals from a mine in the middle of a war zone; and an alien delegation uses the Enterprise as a vessel of deception!

The Review
I’ve spent a great deal of time, a great deal indeed, watching Star Trek. Practically every true geek has. But I’m from a newer generation, and cut my teeth on season after season of Next Generation, and that affects my feelings for the original. To its credit, I find Star Trek: The Manga very, very like the original TV series. To its detriment, I find Star Trek: The Manga very, very like the original TV series...

The stories are a very mixed bag, with a fairly standard Prime Directive slash Kirk Meets Alien Girl story in Cura Te Ipsum (by Wil Wheaton!), a thinly-veiled morality piece in The Trial, a surprisingly good Uhura-centric story in Communication Breakdown, a Bones romance in Scaean Gate, and what I can only assume is the most out-of-character pack of Vulcans in existence in the execrable Forging Alliances. The first four stories, individually and collectively, do an excellent job of evoking the feel of the TV series. Cura is a bit wordy in the setup, but picks up with some good action, even if the story does conform to the conventional “two pre-space alien factions fighting” model. The Trial could have been painful to read, but the humor involved in the impenetrable legal mumbo-jumbo is well-played. I don’t really know why I like Communication Breakdown – I don’t really like Uhura as a character, it’s obvious that it’s continuing from another story that I’m not familiar with, and the technobabble is a complete crock. But I do, and it seems to come together quite well, with an unexpected twist that kept me interested.

Scaean Gate is a good example of the strengths and weaknesses of the whole volume. It’s a good “alien royalty escort” story, it kept me guessing, I didn’t have any problems with it. At the same time... the art is good at staying “on model”, if you will, but those models aren’t necessarily all that attractive, and to put it bluntly, both Bones and his potential paramour are pretty homely, especially by manga standards.

Forging Alliances... let’s pretend this one wasn’t even in there. Terrible storytelling. I simply can’t reconcile the violent and angry Vulcans in here with everything else I’ve seen in Star Trek. Maybe there was something in the original season that justifies what they’re doing there, but it’s nothing I ever heard about.

There’s also a short story from the upcoming ST:TNG anthology, The Sky’s The Limit. Never did get much into ST prose, so I’m not a good judge here, but it’s not bad. I was jonesing pretty hard for some Picard after having struggled through that last story. There’s also a few four-panel comics at the end, not really manga style, but I chuckled nevertheless. There’s a two-page spread at the beginning with the various artists’ and authors’ information, but it’s a little hard to read, with thin white text on starry black background. I can see why they went that way visually, I just have trouble reading it!

Overall, for an anthology, there’s a fairly consistent level of production quality (though I suspect that’s due to the source material, as it were.) The Trial was definitely the most visually attractive, a little stylized, but with great page layouts that made what would have otherwise been talking-head-hell visually interesting. In all other respects, the production was of professional quality.

In the end, this book has a lot for fans of the original series, and is entertaining enough that it’s got at least some appeal even to people with only a casual acquaintance with the original crew. I still think, though, that I’m not the target audience of this book – or rather, can we get one with TNG or DS9 characters?


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