Posted by: Graeme McMillan on April 29, 2007
These are the following things that I think about when someone says the word “Klingon” to me:
* Funny foreheads.
* Michael Dorn manages to make a career out of frowning.
* All of those very dull episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine where they talked about Klingon culture and things were very dark and they talk about “honor” a lot.
* Please stop saying the word “Klingon”.
This is something that I don’t think about when someone says the word “Klingon” to me:
* The need for a five-issue miniseries about Klingons published by IDW, especially a miniseries that has a Klingon-language variant of the first issue.
Do you see how that works? My lack of massive Star Trek fanboyishness (I know enough to think that Deep Space Nine in the best of the series, but not enough to stay away from the Voyager reruns on Spike, which Kate is now addicted to) and my disinterest in the Klingons at the best of times leaves me pretty much outside of the target market for this series, and yet somehow it managed to disappoint me nonetheless. Part of the problem is, I think, the scattered nature of this first issue – We’re given a fairly generic framing sequence where Klingons outside of any given timeframe talk about some mysterious decision that they need to make, complete with potted (and confusing) history of the entire Klingon race before we flash back to, oddly enough, a recap of the original series episode “Errand of Mercy” from the point of view of the Klingons. And throughout the whole thing, I was thinking, Who is this book actually for?
The history of the Klingon race sequence – less than a page in total – seems to be written for insiders with unexplained references to human genetic science that somehow split the Klingons into two species and a plot of genetic superiority, and the rest of the issue is a recap of a Star Trek episode that fans will be familiar with, without much spin or insight… Those scenes only really work for those who are familiar with the original series, because for those like me who had to google the details because we guessed that it was probably from the TV show, it’s an obviously incomplete storytelling experience; you can tell that something’s missing, and what’s missing is something that probably comes from knowledge of the episode in question. Which is probably very nice for the already existant fanbase, but isn’t it lazy to write so directly to the fanbase and exclusionary to everyone else?
(Artwise, the book is blocky, but in a good way – The figurework is good, but there’s something offputtingly perfect about the images of spaceships that suggests use of 3D-modelling software, and breaks the feel of the story somehow…)
I don’t know why I’m surprised that this is all about the fanbase; it does have a Klingon language variant, after all. Okay for what it is.