This review has spoilers, so if you haven’t read the issue or want to know the reason Khan has been whitewashed, then you may want to move on to the next comic book review.
The dreaded moment I’ve long knew was coming has arrived. We finally get an explanation for the whitewashing of Khan. Sadly, it’s unsatisfactory at best, and this is largely because I feel like brainwashing Khan, even if it was only successful for a little bit is underestimating the the intellect and super-intelligence of Khan.
So, if you’ve been keeping up, the story is about why Khan doesn’t look like Ricardo Montalban, and it’s because Admiral Marcus apparently gave him plastic surgery to alter his appearance and brainwashed him into thinking he was John Harrison, an operative for the Federation. Then Khan invents things that put this timeline way ahead of where it should, further altering the timeline, and soon discovers that he’s actually been Khan Noonien Singh this whole time. His trigger? Apparently, destroying a moon… which sort of goes against the whole benevolent dictator they were trying to sell us on for the last three issues, but whatever. I guess there weren’t that many Klingons on it, and we’ll forget about the devastating effects losing a moon would have on a planet with any sort of stable ecosystem.
Supposedly, the genius in Admiral Marcus’ plan was to know that Khan was smarter than them, and that he will discover his true identity (which seems even worse than hiding it, because not only will he return to who he was, but now he is going to be whole lot more pissed off). But that’s okay, because Marcus has a contingency plan… which from the movie I can assume is taking the rest of his people hostage, which is more like teasing the already rattling rattle snake, but whatever. We never said he was smart.
All in all, I’m still not impressed. I don’t see why Marcus wouldn’t awake a less dangerous augment, nor do I see any purpose in changing Khan’s appearance. After all, in the episode “Space Seed”, where Khan was introduced, he wasn’t even recognized by some of the most intelligent people on the ship. He wasn’t even recognized by the ship historian! And that, right there, is the real crux of this legitimizing whitewashing fail. Canonically, barely anyone would even remember Khan’s face, yet Marcus felt it necessary to change it.
There is only one more issue, though it honestly feels like this could very well have been the conclusion. I have no idea what else they need to tell, but I’ll be there for the conclusion of ‘Star Trek: Khan’. See you then.
STAR TREK: KHAN #4
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Dave Messina
Cover: Paul Shipper