Star Trek Discovery is a sequel to a prequel, and a prequel to The Original Series, much like the comic book from IDW, the comic acts as a sequel to Battle of the Binary Stars and a prequel to The Vulcan Hello. Issue one was Star Trek Discovery’s first entry in the comic book world and provided the origin for T’Kuvma who in the series pilot, united the Klingon houses to wage war against the Federation. T’Kuvma was charismatic and righteous in his views and inspires those around him to stand up, embrace their Klingon nature and follow the calling of Kahless. While T’Kuvma was successful in launching a bloody war, he was slayed by Commander Burnham by the end of the pilot and leaving a power vacuum that would be filled by his appointed successor, Voq.
Voq is struggling to understand why he was chosen by T’Kuvma, he’s an outsider and from a family of none. L’Rell tells Voq the story of T’Kuvma which dominates the first issue as a young T’Kuvma comes from a Klingon house in decline but hoping to use an old and ruined ancestral ship to change the course of destiny. T’Kuvma’s and his sister J’Ula vow to rebuild this ship but T’Kuvma is sent away to Boreth, a Klingon monastery to begin his pilgrimage.
Issue 2 takes us right into the middle of T’Kuvma’s training on Boreth as he tries to endure burning lava pits and naked treks through the snow blizzards, testing his endurance and devotion to the teachings of Kahless. I loved this aspect of the comic as Boreth has only been seen in one episode over the five decades when Worf makes the pilgrimage in ‘Rightful Heir’. Much of that episode showed this warrior race sitting around a fire pit praying and waiting for Kahless to reveal himself. Klingon culture and their physical acts of honour and endurance in Trek is often spoken about more than shown. ‘The Light of Kahless’ shows us Klingon’s acting out feats of endurance and making the reader wonder how they could walk naked through the snow or sit among burning lava. It adds to the Star Trek universe wonderfully and gives us a visual insight that’s been missing.
Mike Jonhson who has written several Star Trek comics such as Nero, Star Trek 09 adaptation and Countdown to Darkness returns to write this issue with Kirsten Beyer, a writer on Discovery and wrote the Voyager relaunch novel. In Issue one, some of the writing was jarring with words like piss and ass being used, which made the young Klingon interactions in the issue feel more like frat boys than aliens. Johnson and Beyer manage in half an issue to turn T’Kuvma from a young Klingon, into someone who will inspire those around him to rise up, his manifest destiny truly begins here. However, one criticism is that Boreth arc is over so quickly before a return to Qo’noS to deal with a family wedding. The Boreth pilgrimage has been the highlight of the series so far and I would love to have seen more world building and seeing T’Kuvma take on more trials that will continue to build him up. Yet with four issues, time is paramount in building up a young Klingon boy to a man who begins a mass war, some franchises spend three whole movies to get that far.
Tony Shasteen’s art and J.D. Mettler’s colouring continue to shine in this series. While Shasteen’s art is at times not the most detailed, it creates a dream like image, as if we are seeing these stories unfold in Voq’s mind as L’rell recounts the tale of T’Kuvma. The sarcophagus ship, one of the most detailed designs in the series itself, looks fantastic here, the attention to detail is impressive and translates the high end Discovery production values to comic form. Mettler’s colouring is striking as we see the Boreth fire pits and snowy peaks and the use of greys, blues and greens continue in how we see the Klingon’s, too often they’ve been reduced to simple browns and darker colours, it adds to a truly alien society and design that at times could be missing in previous Star Trek comics.
We are now two issues deep in the story of T’Kuvma as he marches towards war and the in only a short time we now have an exciting backstory to a character we only met for ninety minutes in the Discovery pilot and perhaps more importantly, we have added something new and fresh to the Klingon heritage with the well known Boreth being fleshed out and giving us an insight into the endurance tests that many well known Klingon’s would’ve taken on but we never saw.