Villordsutch reviews Star Trek: Hell’s Mirror…
Khan once again returns to the Star Trek Universe, though here we’re not palmed off with a Benedict Cumberbatch “John Harrison” Khan – this the real deal! Except here the seasoned comic book scribe (J.M. DeMatteis) has rather rudely plopped him in an alternate universe. A universe in which – we the Terran’s – aren’t found on many Christmas Card lists.
Hell’s Mirror finds Khan in the Mirror Universe, still here with the Eugenics Wars as his raison d’être, our enhanced leader now sees the galaxy in need of guidance. However, with the Terran Empire somewhat terrifying as in cuts across the Alpha Quadrant, Khan considers this the chance to bring peace to the quadrant.
With a mere dozen of his cloned family surviving and with the aid of a defected Mr Spock, Khan has already built up a sizable rebel force to take on the Empire. However, when the tyrant Kirk turns upon the crew of the Enterprise, Khan Noonian Singh sees the strength of their rebellion grow; though Mr Spock’s counsel suggests otherwise.
If we’re brutally honest here, IDW could have churned out a ‘run-of-the-mill’ Khan comic, and the fanbase would have simply bought it; we love Khan. However, they haven’t done that. Instead, both DeMatteis and IDW have given us a fantastic, slightly-skewed Khan tale which witnesses our Anti-Hero step up and become the leader he should have been, minus the mass-murder of millions. Though there are brief flashes of the Khan we know, simmering below the surface, this genetic warrior is now more a trained leader than a tiger ready to pounce.
All of this is a brilliant read, however, it’s not all “Khan” that steals this show, though seeing him carrying the origin of the UFP flag into battle is genius. There’s Kirks betrayal of the Enterprise which is gob-smackingly shocking, and when Spock delivers a line of advice to Khan, which I can’t repeat here due to spoilers, you know that he [Khan] really should have been paying attention.
Matthew Dow Smith and Candice Han deliver both art and colours respectively, with Candice’s washed tone’s looking excellent on the page. Matthews artwork is strong throughout, though my one constant bugbears – with a few artists – also appears to haunt these pages too, as a few of our main characters lose definition in their faces occasionally. Also, an extra special mention has to be given to George Caltsoudas’s alternative cover, which is poster-worthy.