One issue that ‘The Light of the Kahless’ has had to deal with is that we already know the ending. The Star Trek: Discovery spinoff tells the story of Klingon T’Kuvma, who unites the Klingon empires before being killed by Michael Burnham at the beginning of the show. So while this four-issue arc could fill in some details, it all had to lead back to one place.
And it did.
No twist endings or surprises in Issue #4 of ‘The Light of the Kahless’, just what we’d come to expect. In present day, L’rell recounts T’Kuvma’s storied past as a way to motivate Voq. As framing devices go, it’s not my favourite, but fortunately there’s not much of it.
In the past, T’Kumva travels the galaxy liberating slaves and killing slavemasters in a few particularly gory panels. T’Kumva manages to amass many followers with this method, but it pisses off the other noble houses. In Issue #3, I remarked that the story of T’Kumva’s sister J’ula could have been in Game of Thrones. Issues #4 basically is Game of Thrones: T’Kumva is Daenerys Targaryen circa season three. He’s the breaker of chains, and that takes him from being a leader of a dead house with just a few devout followers to someone that millions of Klingon rally behind. No dragons, though.
The noble houses meet at Qo’nos to discuss their T’kumva problem when the man himself arrives, with his millions of followers. (Another Targaryen power move). J’ula tries to make amends for her behaviour and say she believes in T’Kumva, but he has no interest in family reunions. He only wants to let everyone know he’s going to find the light of the Kahless and unite the empire.
That’s the big question still hovering over the story: how will T’Kumva find the beacon, that so many Klingons had tried and failed to find?
Well, he didn’t. The light was him all along, and he used a beacon he had made to trick everyone into thinking it was the real light of the Kahless. It’s not a surprising ending, “T’Kumva, you ARE the light!” is something I think most of us saw coming from a mile away.
That takes us back to the initial problem with this series: we all knew how it was going to end. Focusing the story just on how T’Kumva got to where Discovery began really limited what could be done with the characters. While it gives more backstory to the Klingons and really helps flesh out a few characters, it’s still constrained. It would be interesting to see if more books explore the Klingon empire, pre-Discovery, and bring us new characters with open endings. It’s a rich world they’ve created; it’s just a shame there wasn’t more room to play in it.