20 February 2011

"Star Trek: Klingons: Blood Will Tell" by Scott & David Tipton

Star Trek: Klingons: Blood Will Tell
Written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton
Art by David Messina
Art Assist by Elena Casagrande
Colors by Ilaria Traversi
Letters by Neil Uyetake and Robbie Robbins
Original Series Edits by Dan Taylor and Chris Ryall
Collection Edited by Justin Eisinger
Collection Design by Chris Mowry
Date of Publication: 27 November 2007
Date Read: 20 February 2010
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Late last night I was awake enough that I wanted something to read, but too tired to begin something that didn't have pretty pictures so I decided to finally read this.  You may recall the disappointment I expressed in the Spock: Reflections mini-series by the same creative team.  I'm similarly disappointed with Klingons: Blood Will Tell.

Once again, I find myself staring at a Star Trek story that's little more than an excuse to rehash old episodes and movies.  This is the Klingon side of their interactions with the Federation throughout the course of the original series, all framed within the context of being flashbacks and recitations told by a Klingon High Council Member, Kahnrah.  Even in that part of the story, the Tiptons resort to mining previously produced stories rather than crafting something original.  That "present day" part of all this is set during Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, after the mining moon Praxis has exploded.  The plot point was inspired by Chernobyl, so even if you don't know what a Klingon is, you should be able to piece together what an ecological disaster of that scale would do to an empire.  Many of them want to either seize new territory or die trying, but some are willing to consider a more peaceful approach.  The rest of the High Council has apparently already voted on the matter, but Kahnrah has time to go home and revisit old stories with his granddaughter before casting his deciding vote.  One wonders whether the rest of the council all voted immediately and stared Kahnrah and the clock.

Largely, though, this story is little more than an excuse to present "expanded" material for some of the episodes of the original series.  We see what the Klingons were doing before, during and after the events shown on our TV screen.  Just as with Spock: Reflections, I feel that this is little more than professional fan fiction.  Nothing shown here really means anything.  It's imagined cutting room floor stuff.  There's no allegorical value here, no originality.  One imagines the Tipton brothers as kids, playing with their Star Trek action figures and taking the time to write down all the "cool" things they wish someone had shown them "for real."  And now they're being paid to show us.

The saving grace, once again, is the art by David Messina.  The guy knows how to create a landscape (or at least, recreate, as his writers rarely afford him the chance to show us something new), has a great sense of scale and wonderful attention to detail.  The likenesses are almost all captured perfectly, with the notable exception of William Schallert whom I suspect withheld permission to use his appearance.  I may have found little literary value in revisiting old episodes I've already seen, but at least they looked great.

I have only read a few IDW Star Trek publications; the two by the Tiptons, and the prequel to the 2009 movie.  I'm still waiting to find something actually original and interesting.

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