Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan #2
December 12, 2011
This comic has done far worse than kill us. It hurt us... and it wishes to go on hurting us.
(Linkara stands on the spaceship Comicron-1. He is communicating with Iron Liz via communicator)
Iron Liz: (on communicator) Oookay, get to engineering or you blow up the ship. I hope you plan on getting us off the ship before you do that.
Linkara: That was always the intention. Linkara out. (closes communicator and turns to Pollo) Pollo, see if you can remotely access the security controls.
Pollo: I will try.
(Linkara starts to feel uncomfortable and exhales)
Linkara: This is probably not the best time, but... since we are stuck here and everything, do you ever... resent me?
Pollo: I do not understand the question.
Linkara: It's just... (sighs) Do you ever wonder if you'll end up like Mechakara? You know, hating humanity and hating me?
Pollo: No, I never wonder that. Do you?
Linkara: (sighs) Yeah. I do.
Pollo: I admit, that is not the answer I was expecting.
Linkara: I'm sorry, Pollo. It's just in my nature to worry about these things. Look, if you've ever felt that I've mistreated you or any other machines...
Pollo: You have not. You have given me a credible freedom. I can come and go as I please, and I am a paid producer for your show. In return, you have repaired me, offered up grace, and even volunteered to instruct for me a new hobby. I have been and always shall be your friend.
Linkara: Thank you.
Pollo: This will take some time. I suggest you continue your review while I work.
Linkara: Is there a camera here?
Pollo: There are cameras everywhere on this ship.
(Linkara looks around and then looks toward the camera)
Linkara: Oh. So, uh, where did we leave off on "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Comic"?
(Shots of the comic are shown)
Linkara (v/o): Khan, a genetically engineered tyrant from the past, is now in the future and has sworn vengeance on Admiral James T. Kirk for exiling him fifteen years in the past, thus granting him a dark future.
(Linkara holds up his index finger, about to make a point of something, but stops himself as he tries to figure out)
Linkara: ...Let me start over.
Linkara (v/o): Star Trek II is the story of Khan, a genetically engineered tyrant who wants revenge against Admiral Kirk for sentencing him to exile on a planet that quickly became a desert wasteland. Chance allowed him to take control of a Starfleet vessel, the Reliant, and now attempts to steal something called "The Genesis". Meanwhile, Admiral Kirk is starting to feel age get the best of him, especially now that he's supervising a group of trainees aboard the Enterprise. However, after learning that something is wrong with the scientists working on Genesis, he has assumed command of the ship and is now on his way to investigate.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up comic of review for today) "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan #2" and continue.
(AT4W title sequence plays, followed by title card, which has "Battle In the Mutara Nebula" from Star Trek II playing in the background; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Once again, the cover for this one resembles a movie poster, but a really good one, with the contrasting heads of Kirk and Khan separated by a beam of light that could be interpreted as the Genesis Effect. Plus, the lens flare resembles a sun rising over a world, something that happened in the movie. The one failure, though, is the drawing of the Enterprise, which looks like a cheap toy version of it, what with the massive pylons and lack of details.
(Cut to footage of the movie)
Linkara (v/o): Once again, we're cutting scenes from the movie; two, this time. The first is one of Khan's followers, Joachim, suggesting that now that they have a ship and that Khan has defeated Kirk by escaping his exile, that there's no reason to go looking for revenge. Khan's response, however?
Khan: (channeling "Moby-Dick") He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him. I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up.
Linkara: Why in heaven's name would you cut that? Hell, why would you cut ANY scene from this movie?! This thing (holds up comic) already costs four bucks! Just make the comics longer and get everything in there!
Linkara (v/o): Instead, we cut out a scene that establishes that Khan's followers aren't just mindless goons and shows why Khan is going after Kirk instead of just being happy that he can finally take a shower after fifteen years. Oh, yeah, and the "Moby-Dick" quote.
Linkara: Why even bother adapting this twenty years later if you're just gonna half-ass it?!
Linkara (v/o): And I mean it: They're really half-assing it, as we see in these opening panels. The second scene they cut was minor but helped move a few details along. Spock doesn't know what Genesis is, so Kirk brings Spock and McCoy to his quarters so he can shared classified information with them. Because, hey, he's Jim Kirk; he saved the universe three times before breakfast. What's Starfleet gonna do, decomission his ship or something?
(Cut to a similar, but not at all identical, panel in the comic)
Linkara (v/o): But anyway, they're half-assing it because, these three panels? THEY'RE STILL SHOTS FROM THE MOVIE! THEY COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO REDRAW THE EXPLANATION OF GENESIS! For those of you who haven't seen the movie, I'll explain it to calm myself down: Genesis is a terraforming device. You shoot it at a lifeless planet, and it reformats the planet into something capable of supporting life. The reason why Genesis is so dangerous, however, is because you can use this on a planet that already has life, and it will wipe out all life in favor of the new life it's creating.
Computer voice: When we consider the cosmic problems of population and food supply, the usefulness of this project becomes clear.
Linkara: Wait, population and food supply are "cosmic problems"? You have interstellar flight! I think you can find some new planets to settle down on and grow corn!
Linkara (v/o): When McCoy learns about how Genesis can be used as a weapon, he's naturally horrified by the implications.
McCoy: According to myth, the Earth was created in six days. Now watch out! Here comes Genesis! We can do it in six minutes!
Linkara: That's right! (Match Game music plays in the background) Six minutes!
(The phrase "Create New Worlds in ONLY SIX MINUTES!" pop up)
Linkara: Now, how much would you expect to pay for a Genesis like this? (the following numbers pop up...) $499? $599? WRONG! This Genesis is available to you for (the following pops up and flashes...) $59.95! Plus shipping and handling. Call in the next twenty minutes and we'll include our instructional guide...
(Another phrase pops up, which Linkara speaks...)
Linkara: ..."So You Want To Commit Genocide" ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Linkara (v/o): Before the conversation can get any more heated, they're interrupted by Saavik, who reports that the Reliant is approaching. ("Surprise Attack" from the movie is heard playing at this point) And with that music, we come to a larger problem than just the missing scenes. From a story perspective, losing a lot of scenes or condensing them down hurts the story, but if someone was approaching this without having seen the movie, they wouldn't notice. But now we have this scene: the first encounter between the Reliant and the Enterprise is, in my opinion, one of the best battle scenes in any medium. The tension rises as we watch, the audience knowing that Khan has control of the Reliant and is going to launch a surprise attack.
(Cut to a clip of the movie featuring the Reliant)
Linkara (v/o): The Reliant looks positively sinister in these shots, with red lights giving it a monstrous visage, while the Enterprise utilizes primarily white lights and a bright blue on their deflector dish. We see Khan's confidence and glee that he's taking his revenge, while the Enterprise crew is confused by the lack of communication from the ship. The tension rises to a boiling point, along with the fantastic music, before the Reliant launches its attack, nearly crippling the Enterprise!
(Suddenly, the music stops abruptly to a record scratch as the screen cuts to black)
Linkara (v/o): But the comic doesn't have those elements.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Instead, we just have dialogue from the movie, but crammed into a few panels, so the pacing between lines is rushed! There's no music to help excite the audience, there are no external shots of the ships to show the coming menace of the Reliant, and because this scene is so butchered by the comic version, I have no qualms making fun of it.
Joachim: They're requesting communications. And their shields are still down.
Khan: Of course! We are one big happy family.
Linkara: (as Khan) Uncle Khan is coming to murder you!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, by the way... FLEET! "One big happy FLEET"! Condensing lines is one thing, but if you can go out to a store and buy the DVD of the movie, you have no excuse for why you get dialogue wrong!
Khan: Ah, Kirk, my old friend. Are you familiar with an old Klingon proverb that says revenge is a dish... best served cold.
Linkara: Fifteen years in exile, and what's the first thing Khan feels the need to do when he gets back on a ship? Look up Klingon sayings.
Khan: It is very cold in space...
Linkara: (as Khan) So make sure to put on a jacket, because dinner's at seven... in space...
Kirk: This is damned peculiar.
Linkara: (as Kirk) Why would Khan feel the need to point out that it's cold in space? It has nothing to do with what he's talking about.
Linkara (v/o): Khan quickly raises the Reliant's shields and locks phasers on them, opening fire with... uh, that's a torpedo. Also, huge, misshapen pylons on the Enterprise. Anyway, the ship is rocked with explosions along its stardrive section and on the bridge.
Kirk: Scotty! The warp core alarm!
Scotty: Aye, sir! She's sprung a leak!
Linkara: (as Scotty) We're taking on water– Oh, wait...
Linkara (v/o): And we see, along with these explosions, there is the sound of "DEET DEET DEET".
Linkara: In space, no one can hear you DEET DEET DEET.
Linkara (v/o): The ship is heavily damaged and they're running only on auxiliary power. They can still fire phasers, but they don't have enough power against their shields. The Reliant signals the Enterprise and orders their surrender. Kirk considers for a moment, then relents. The screen is turned on, revealing Khan.
Khan: You still remember me, Admiral. I have deprived your ship of power and when I swing around I intend to deprive you of your life.
Kirk: If it's me you want–
Khan: I wanted to know who it was first. Who beat you.
Linkara: (as Kirk) Khan, don't walk over my lines.
Linkara (v/o): Kirk offers to beam himself aboard to spare his crew, but Khan offers a counter-proposal: he'll agree to it if Kirk also sends over all data that he has on Genesis. Kirk, making the most ridiculous confused face ever in a comic, asks...
Kirk: Genesis? What's that?
Linkara: (imitating said confused face, in Goliath's voice) Duuhhhhh, I don't know what Genesis is, Davey.
Linkara (v/o): Khan doesn't buy the act and gives him sixty seconds to bring up the data. Kirk whispers his instructions to his crew. They bring up the data on Reliant's command codes. Each starship is equipped with a prefix code that prevents an enemy from hacking into their computer. As such, they'll use the prefix code to order Reliant to lower its shields. And it works, with their shields dropping and giving the Enterprise the opening they need to fight back. The ship opens fire... At least, I assume it does, because all we see in this two-page spread of the Reliant is part of it exploding, despite no phaser fire! But hey, at least we have that big distracting lens flare right there. Seriously, we had that non-phaser fire from the Reliant earlier, and now we get not one but two shots of Reliant just exploding without any phaser beams! Was the artist completely incapable of drawing a straight line?! Khan wants to continue the fight, but now they don't have the power. Joachim convinces him that the Enterprise can wait. Back on the bridge, the crew is ecstatic.
Saavik: Sir, you did it.
Kirk: I did nothing.
Linkara: (as Kirk) Except, of course, kick ass, because that's what I do. I'm James T. Kirk. The T stands for "Totally kicked your ass".
Linkara (v/o): Kirk says they need to find out how badly they've been hurt, and we see Scotty arrive on the bridge with the body of his nephew.
Linkara: Okay, Star Trek II is a perfect movie, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have some moments here and there that make you tilt your head. This is one of them.
Linkara (v/o): Why the hell did Scotty carry his nephew to the bridge?! He didn't think taking him to sick bay would have been more productive?!
Linkara: Or maybe he just thought that Kirk was so awesome that he could heal the sick and injured, too. (as Kirk) I'm James T. Kirk, and I can totally kick the asses of third-degree burns.
Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, Kirk's powers of badass do not extend to Jesus-level powers, and Preston is taken to sick bay, where he quickly dies.
Scotty: He stayed at his post. When the trainees a'ran.
Preston: Is the word given, Admiral?
Kirk: The word is given.
Linkara: (as Kirk) And bird is the word.
Linkara (v/o): The Enterprise arrives at Regula I, but there's no answer to hails. Kirk, McCoy and Saavik beam down and detect life signs, discovering Chekov and Tyrell shoved into storage containers. They explain what happened, about Khan putting creatures in their minds to control them and that Khan had been at Regula I before going to fight the Enterprise. Khan marooned the crew of the Reliant on Ceti Alpha Five... Man, at least 300 people stuck in that little cargo container? That's gonna get cozy. ...tortured the scientists for information on Genesis without success. Even the data banks were cleaned out of information, and Dr. Marcus wasn't there.
Joachim: He's completely mad, Admiral. He blames you for the death of his wife.
Kirk: I know what he blames me for.
Linkara: (as Kirk) I actually saw the movie. This thing hasn't even mentioned his dead wife until now.
Linkara (v/o): Khan rushed his search because wanted to intercept the Enterprise, so he didn't have time to look at the transporter room. The transporter is still on and has coordinates set deep under the surface of Regula, which is supposed to be completely devoid of life. Kirk, remembering the Genesis briefing, realizes that stage 2 of the development of Genesis was going to happen underground. He contacts the Enterprise and Spock gives this cryptic statement...
Spock: Admiral, if we go by the book, like Lieutenant Saavik, hours would seem like days.
Linkara: (as Kirk, looking up in thought) So you're saying, stop letting Saavik talk. Yes, I understand.
Linkara (v/o): Spock reports that they won't have main power restored for another six days, and auxiliary power has failed, too, but might be restored in two days. As such, they don't even have the power to beam themselves back up. We see that Khan and the Reliant are listening in on the conversation, meaning they know how badly damaged the Enterprise is. Kirk orders that if they don't hear from him in an hour, that they get the hell out of there and warn Starfleet. In the meantime, the group decides to beam down into Regula I. Now, since this transporter is still working, I'd probably leave someone behind to monitor it and have a way out, and potentially back to the Enterprise, but it's a minor plot hole, if anything. The five beam down and arrive in a storage room where they find a large container, which they assume stores Genesis. However, in a surprising turn from the movie, it turns out that Dr. David Marcus is inside and leaps out.
Linkara: Yeah, the truth is, it was all just an elaborate prank, and this is just one big surprise birthday party for Kirk!
Linkara (v/o): David leaps at Kirk in anger, thinking he was the one who did all this, but of course, Kirk manages to easily knock the guy on his ass and demands to know where Carol is. However, when Carol runs in, Kirk realizes who David is. If you haven't seen the movie, I'll just spoil it for you now: David is Kirk's son, and when he was born, Carol asked Kirk not to be a part of their lives because she wanted him to follow in her footsteps and not his. Kind of a dick move, but Kirk's a class act and accepted, though clearly he didn't realize how much time had passed. Actually, it's kind of surprising; this is the only son of Kirk we ever see in the entirety of the franchise. Kirk must be the most infertile man in Starfleet, considering how much he gets around, yet it's only this one time that he has a kid? By the by, these panels really show the problems with the artwork. When the artist can actually work facial details, they're not bad at all, actually managing to capture the likenesses pretty well. But then there are panels like this, where they don't have many details, leading to this weird Crash Test Dummies face.
Linkara: (as Kirk, imitating said Crash Test Dummies face) I don't know what emotion I'm conveying, but I'm conveying it as hard as I can.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, it turns out Tyrell and Chekov are still under Khan's sway and they pull phasers. Khan, having monitored all of this, has the coordinates for Genesis and beams it up. With Genesis in his hands, Khan orders Tyrell to kill Kirk. However, he manages to regain control of himself long enough to turn his phaser on himself and... uh, well, he just falls over dead instead of vaporizing like in the movie. Don't know why they felt the need to change that. Chekov collapses in pain, and the brain parasite apparently decided it was time to get the hell out of there.
David: For God's sakes, what is it?
Linkara: (scoffs) Clearly, it's a Yeerk from "Animorphs". (softly) I am such a nerd.
Linkara (v/o): Kirk's answer, however, is that it's deep-fried. He picks up Tyrell's communicator and, with the weight of recent events finally coming down on him, coupled with Khan now having Genesis, lets it all out.
Kirk: Khan, you blood sucker! You're going to have to do your own dirty work from now on. Do you hear me? Do you?
Linkara: (as Khan) Actually, Admiral, no, I don't. The reception's pretty crappy down there. How many bars do you have?
Khan: Kirk. You're still alive, old friend.
Kirk: Still. Old. Friend. You've managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target.
Linkara: (as Khan) Hey, give me a break; I'm fifteen years out of practice. The fact that I'm killing anybody is pretty impressive.
(Editor's note: "I know I'm not reading what's actually written. The original line is better.")
Khan: I've done far worse than kill you... I've hurt you. And I wish to go on... hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me... as you left her. Marooned for eternity in the center of a dead planet. Buried alive. Buried alive.
Linkara (v/o): (excitedly) Oh, and here it is, the moment we've all been waiting for: the "KHAN!" scream! I mean, they've got to give it a double-page spread to contain the awesome of the yell and–
(But to his surprise and consternation, Kirk's legendary reaction is very much... downplayed here)
Linkara (v/o): Wait, what the hell?! It's... It's one panel! One... tiny... little panel in the corner of the page!! With normal-sized fonts for the scream, only one exclamation point, and he's not even holding the word longer! YOU HAVE GOTTA BE FREAKING KIDDING ME!! They gave more panel space for Kirk calling Khan a blood sucker! Is this some kind of joke?!?
Linkara: (enraged) The most memorable scene in the movie! The thing that everybody thinks of when it comes to this movie! The EPIC yell of rage and frustration, so powerful and so forceful and so loud that we see and hear it ECHO across Regula I... AND IT'S ONE TINY PANEL?!?!?! (points to comic) FAIL!! YOU... FAIL!! HOW DO YOU SCREW THIS UP?!?!
Linkara (v/o): And in another case of completely missing the point, the creators decided to rearrange some scenes here. What was supposed to happen was that Kirk was supposed to talk quietly with Carol Marcus about everything and have his lowest point in the movie as part of his character arc, and then Carol reinvigorates him, and we learn how he beat the Kobayashi Maru scenario. Instead, we have the Kobayashi Maru explanation HERE for no real reason! It's one hundred minutes later, and Saavik can't get in touch with the Enterprise, making them believe that either the Enterprise has been destroyed by the Reliant or is long gone in attempting to get away. Saavik asks how Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru, especially in light of the hopelessness of their situation.
McCoy: Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet to ever beat the "no-win scenario."
Kirk: (to David) I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.
David: He cheated.
Kirk: I changed the conditions of the test.
Linkara: I'm surprised we don't hear that excuse more often in video games. "I didn't turn on no clipping, I changed the conditions of the game. I don't have god mode turned on; I altered the difficulty curve for the enemies."
Kirk: I don't like to lose.
Linkara (v/o): Of course, the comic also fails to note that Starfleet was genuinely impressed by this, and he was awarded a commendation for original thinking, but that's neither here nor there. Saavik points out that he's never faced the possibility of death, of not winning. But instead of carrying on the conversation as it should have happened naturally, we instead have him and Carol Marcus suggesting that everyone else go away so they can talk. And thus, the emotional core is now completely screwed up, as him talking about how he overcame the no-win situation was supposed to help liven spirits. Instead, we now have Kirk and Carol's heart-to-heart about David and what's bothering Kirk.
Kirk: There's a man out there I haven't seen in fifteen years. He's trying to kill me. You show me a son who'd be happy to help. My son... My life that could have been, but wasn't. What am I feeling? Old. Worn out.
Linkara: (as Kirk) It's all the time these days, Carol. The kids these days and their rap music and their Internets and their hair. They won't stay off my lawn.
Linkara (v/o): Carol takes him to the Genesis cave to help him feel young, and we behold the Genesis cave, full of life and plants, and it'd look really impressive if we could actually see any of it, but unfortunately, someone turned up the lens flare waaaaaay too high! Look, the lens flare of the sun in the first issue actually looked kind of nice. This is ridiculous! And so, issue 2 ends with Kirk calling the Enterprise.
Kirk: Kirk to Spock. It's been two hours.
Spock: Right on time. We'll beam you up.
Kirk: Mister Saavik, you of all people should know Regulation 46-A. "If transmissions are being monitored during battle–"
Saavik: "–no uncoded messages on an open channel."
Kirk: I don't like to lose.
Linkara: And you look like a grouchy sore loser from the way this is put together.
Linkara (v/o): Okay, like the 2009 J.J. Abrams Star Trek film, this adaptation focuses on the line, "I don't like to lose," forgetting that there was ANOTHER line associated with it!
(Cut to a clip of the movie showing Kirk saying said line...)
Kirk: I don't believe in a no-win scenario.
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): If you look at Kirk in the original series, he's pretty damn impressive, able to out-think, out-fight, or just through sheer logic, take out his opponents. He believes there's always a solution to a problem, always another way out. With the Kobayashi Maru scenario, his solution was that if the situation is designed for you to fail, then the way to win is to go outside the rules, to do what's necessary to get through.
(The above clip of Kirk in the movie is shown again)
Linkara (v/o): In the film, his "I don't like to lose" was a bit smug, but also reassuring to show people that he had a plan all along and a way out.
(Back again to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Here, though, the scene's reorganized, and the lack of the line "I don't believe in a no-win scenario", he comes across as a jerk that refuses to just take a defeat. His facial expression makes him look angry about not wanting to lose, and his admission of cheating on the test just reinforces him as a petty man! With the discussion of the Kobayashi Maru moved to an earlier point, instead of starting on the emotional rise to overcome threat, reinvigorated by the sight of new life and a reinforcement of his life philosophy, we get him feeling a little better because he sees a lens flare in the distance, and that he's not gonna let that (sarcastically whiny voice) meanie-face Khan win their game!
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks! Every change made just makes the story weaker and completely misses the point of it all! Still... (tosses comic aside) we've got one more issue to go and some of the most important parts of the story to come.
Pollo: It's no use. I cannot get through to the security controls on the door.
Linkara: Well, I was afraid of that.
Nimue: Information: The intruder is attempting to make contact with you. It wishes to speak through me.
Linkara: Convey the message.
Nimue: And I quote: "Release control of the ship or I will vent the ship's atmosphere."
Linkara: Nice try, but I still have teleportation control. We can get off this ship easily.
Nimue: And that will give me more time to free the controls.
Pollo: I do not require atmosphere to function. I will deal with you alone if I have to.
Linkara: And now I present an ultimatum with a little more weight behind it: Either you surrender yourself and this ship, or I will engage the auto destruct sequence and destroy you along with it. (no response) Well?
Nimue: The intruder appears to be considering its options.
(Suddenly, the room shakes violently, almost throwing Linkara off his feet)
Linkara: What the hell was that?!
Nimue: Power is fluctuating throughout Comicron 1. Internal sensors, teleportation and weapons are offline.
(The room shakes again, and then Linkara's communicator beeps; he answers it)
Iron Liz: (on communicator) Linkara, I don't know what Mechakara is doing, but he's created an imbalance in the engines! Power's out all over the place!
Nimue: Information: The intruder is attempting to interrupt security lockouts by causing damage to the ship. I am programmed to disregard security protocols when the safety of the ship is in danger.
(The room shakes again, more violently than before, and an alarm is heard sounding)
Linkara: SHUT OFF THAT DAMN NOISE! (into communicator) Liz, report!
Iron Liz: One of the primary power couplings is ruptured! There's a radiation leak in the distribution section!
Linkara: Nimue, engage auto destruct sequence!
Nimue: Unable to comply. With engine imbalance in process, it is not possible to set off proper mixture for complete destruct.
(Suddenly, the door beind Linkara and Pollo opens and they see before them on the floor a Cybermat)
Linkara: Ha! Security sentry has arrived! Pollo, get down to the engine room, correct that imbalance however way you can. If you don't, the ship will fall into the atmosphere and it will probably kill a lot of people when it crashes.
Linkara: Cybermat, you're with me! (he and Pollo leave)
TO BE CONTINUED
(End credits roll)
Why did it take them an additional 100 minutes to try calling the Enterprise?
Also changed in the adaptation? Kirk says Saavik should know the regulations better, but in the comic she's only MENTIONED the regulations once, but never directly quoted any specific one until now.
This is what you get when you change some lines but leave others intact.
(Stinger: A clip of the movie is shown)
Kirk: Right, let's go. Saavik?
McCoy: Go? Where are we going?
Kirk: Where they went.
McCoy: Suppose they went nowhere.
Kirk: Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all.