My problem from last issue? You know the one where they decide to accidentally legitimize whitewashing Khan’s character by trying to answer the question “Why does Khan suddenly look like Benedict Cumberbatch”? Well, I still have that problem.
For those of you who missed last issue, I’ll break it down for you. The series focuses on Khan’s trial, and the first question that is asked is “Why did you use to look like Ricardo Montalban?” and not “Admit your guilt to killing hundreds of people?” which is fairly worrying from a representational stand point.
If it occurs to you that they never thought to explain why DeForest Kelley looks like Karl Urban now, then this question that fuels the entirety of the plot of ‘Star Trek: Khan’ should strike you as particularly problematic.
Essentially, the same problem I had with the last comic is the same issue I have with this one. When you replace a character that was a person of color with someone who is demonstrably not, trying to legitimize the reason why he looks this way when you don’t feel it necessary to explain why Chris Pine is about 10x more attractive than William Shatner is just like saying “so, instead of recognizing what we did by casting Benedict Cumberbatch, we’re just going to pretend like there is a perfectly good reason for it.”
Which, I hope you folks don’t mind me saying, isn’t a very good reason.
I realize that some of you would like me to focus on something else, but I truly have hard time wrapping my mind around why this would be acceptable as a storyline at all. Then, it occurs to me, it was acceptable because ‘Star Trek’ fans honestly want to know how Khan came to power. And that is what this story is about: Khan’s rise to power.
Though, honestly, I think what ‘Star Trek’ fans want more than a five episode arc that sort of gives us a vague overview of what we already knew is far more in depth plot where there are other characters that aren’t “random genetically engineered overlord #3”. And if you’re wondering, yes, that is basically the plot of this issue. It’s vague story about how he and some other augments vaguely took over the world through their vague superhuman intelligences.
We do in this issue, however, get some insight into Khan’s character, which is to say that despite the despotic and violent way he took over the world, he honestly felt that it was for the greater good. But, I think we all sort of knew that was the case with him anyway. He was cocky, for sure, and made cold decisions that didn’t seem moral to the audience, but I think we’ve always understood that Khan’s actions always made sense to him, and he never perceived them as evil.
The comic, then, plays into that thought process rather nicely.
Still, my question remains. Why do they need to explain the change in skin color if they are just talking about Khan’s back story? They could easily do that without wandering into the territory of legitimizing the whitewashing of a famous character.
All in all, the story feels a bit thin, and doesn’t seem to add much more detail than what fans have already guessed. Really, it just feels pointless and unneeded. That being said, we’re only two issues in. I may be eating my words in short order.