Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Star Trek: The Manga

So what to say about Star Trek The Manga. Well, if you hate Manga then you will probably still hate these. If you like Manga, then you will probably still hate these. If you like Manga and also like Star Trek, then you may enjoy these.


I actually found a lot to like in these books. For one, many of the plots are very original and interesting. I found the writing to be excellent and some of the artwork extraordinary. The "set" consists of 4 books, 3 TOS and 1 TNG. Each book has 4-5 stories, each one with a different writer and artist. So they are almost like mini Manga compilations.

Book One: Shinsei Shinsei (2006)

    Side Effects - Right away I was hooked on this story (Chris Dows). The Enterprise stumbles upon a disabled ship in which the inhabitants are either dead or in suspended animation. They find that some have reanimated, and one female seems to be incredibly powerful. These people had been subjects in some sort of genetic engineering experiment and this one particular subject has become far more advanced the the others. The battle with her culminates in a shocking revelation about her future. I may have actually gasped at this. Great Manga artwork in this one (Makoto Nakatsuka)

    Anything But Alone - Another good story (Joshua Ortega). Typical setup of: the away team goes to a planet and Kirk flirts with a woman. The woman is not what she seems, in fact the entire planet is not what it seems. How this world was created, is quite amazing.

    Til Death - Not a fan of the art. It reminds me of everything from MTV's Liquid Television. I'm not really one to complain, Koko the Gorilla can draw better than me. But anyway, the plot starts off with a wedding and ends up with a male vs female fight to death.

    Oban - A cute little worm thing that ends up being anything but a cute little worm thing. I always enjoy these "Trouble with Tribbles" type of story lines.

    Orphans - Excellent. They use one thing that I have never really seen in Star Trek, Mechs. Picture Robotech. The Enterprise is suddenly attacked by Mechs being controlled by children. The Enterprise takes one prisoner and Kirk soon takes him under his wing.


Book Two: Kakan ni Shinkou (2007)

   Cura Ti Ipsum - Lot of death in this one. First an explosion on the Enterprise kills a bunch of crew members, then after beaming to a planet and getting attacked, a phaser issue causes an explosion that kills a bunch of inhabitants. This thrusts Kirk into the center of a war between two factions ... and of course he meets a woman. Story by Wil Wheaton!

    The Trial - I'm still not sure I understand this one. Kirk gets abducted and put on trial by a race of aliens... for seemingly no reason. I'm sure there is some deep meaning to this story, but I'm a simple moron and don't get it.

    Communication Breakdown - This takes place just after the Enterprise encounter with Nomad. Uhura is just getting her memory back. The crew beam down to a planet and it looks like a relatively nice civilization. Uhura however senses that something is wrong ... but nobody will believe her. Loved this story (Christine Boylan).

    Scaean Gate - A Bones love story ... it's rarely done. Bones and a stuck up Queen form an unlikely bond. But, is it too good to be true? Is it?? Well! IS IT??? Anyway, the art was really nice in this one (Don Hudson). It was not Manga style, but more of something you would see in older comics. The depictions of Spock, Kirk and Bones are pretty spot on.

    Forging Alliances - Kirk, Bones and Spock go to Vulcan and meet up with Sarek. They are about to have a weird Vulcan ceremony. For an advanced race, they sure have some bizarre arcane ceremonies. Well, suddenly everyone starts acting weird and Spock turns into a loudmouth jerk. Things get complicated when a feral Vulcan boy shows up.
 
Book Three: Uchu (2008)

    Art of War - Another story by Wil Wheaton! It's a great one too. It jumps between a Strafleet trial for Kirk and a Klingon trial for Commander Kring. Both charged with questionable actions in the same incident, but each trial takes a very different course.

    Bandi - Another great "Tribbles" type of episode. Funny thing is that this story was written by David Gerrold, the writer of "Trouble with Tribbles". This one involves a cute little bear that has incredible powers. I really enjoyed this one; very fun and very funny. Again, another great job by artist Don Hudson.

    The Humanitarian -Spock has temporary command of the ship and everything seems to go wrong. He finds himself dealing with numerous tragedy's and the surprising effect that it has on his own emotions. Well done.

    Inalienable Rights - Not very groundbreaking, but certainly right in line with TOS episodes. The crew encounter a planet in which the government keep the population oppressed. This includes all of the intellectuals. Kirk "befriends" a female scientist and he tries to convince the government that it would be more productive to work as one.... that's sort of the plot... I think.

Book 4: TNG Boukenshin
    Changeling - Another story by David Gerrold. The art is by EJ Su who does a few stories in this series and I do like his style. Although overall, I have decided that it is impossible for anyone to draw Picard without him looking like the Perdue chicken guy. This story was fun...but weird as hell. In order to teach Wesley Crusher a lesson, the crew plays a joke on him. They trick him into thinking that he is turning into a woman, a black guy, and a Klingon.

    Sensation - A contagion is running rampant on the ship and only Dr. Crusher and Troi can save the day. Could this be linked to the archeological dig on the planet below? Of course it fucking is.

    The Picardian Knot - Another Don Hudson masterpiece. The story starts off great. Picard has a weird encounter with Sarek and soon loses his emotions. Then they encounter the Romulans and Picard is way off his game. Matters are complicated when a mysterious Romulan artifact is found on board. What the artifact really is may ... ugh ... shock you.

    Loyalty - This one takes place soon after Picard is saved from the Borg. He is still recovering from the whole Locutus thing. Meanwhile Riker must defend Picards honor at a Starfleet tribunal. This could be a career ender for Riker.

Overall, I liked this series of Manga's. The stories far exceeded my expectations. I must admit however that TNG does not make for a good Manga. It's much too cerebral and dialogue driven. TOS is perfect because it's...well, lets face it, sort of dumb.

4 comments:

So Awkward said...

I've never heard of these, but I kinda don't like manga. Have you read any of John Byrne's Star Trek Visisons (I think it's called)? It's a comic book, but he uses photos and screencaps from TOS episodes. It's... interesting, but not all together successful. They're also way overpriced. But, his montages are extremely well done.

Mugato said...

I have seen those in the Comic Store, never got one but they look really nice. My next phase of this blog is going to be me reading every comic ever, so I will have to get those at some point. This may be my worst idea yet.

So Awkward said...

There's some decent stuff out there. DC's old TOS series was good, and the Gold Key comics are so weird they're worth checking out.

Mugato said...

I'm on Comic #20 of Gold Key now! To my surprise, I'm actually enjoying them.