After 40 years of innumerable Star Trek plots, including any number of licensed tie-in novels and comics that have provided new adventures, sequels and prequels to the aired episodes and movies, what makes this mini-series so fresh is that they are parallel adventures to the popular and well-known Klingon TOS episodes. The benefit of hindsight, and the contributions other, later Star Trek productions have made to the Klingon mythos, add to the drama.
Kor, Koloth, Krell, Mara (with Kang not far behind), oh my!
Issue #1 saw Klingon Commander Kor's seizure of a seemingly backwater planet, with Kirk and Spock as mere minor disguised players, but TOS fans who know "Errand of Mercy" well know that the power of the Organians will soon put a spanner in Kor's plans. An unexpected highlight is a cameo appearance, in flashback of Dr Phlox, of "Star Trek: Enterprise", as the results of that series' "Affliction" and "Divergence" Klingon episodes are recapped. This issue is also available in a Klingon language edition, complete with its script.
In Issue #2, a bumpy-headed Klingon is turned into Arne Darvin, Klingon spy - his bony bits are filed off while he's strapped naked to a slab! Ouch! Meanwhile, we discover how Koloth feels about the tribble debacle on Space Station K-7. It's the other side of "The Trouble With Tribbles" and is just as entertaining. In another heartwarming cameo, a gold-shirted Starfleeter, who closely resembles Ben Sisko of DS9 ("Trials and Tribble-ations"), happens to be wandering a corridor on some unmentioned mission.
I read Issue #3 recently. The cover (one of at least four variations) I selected is stunning and features Krell, of "A Private Little War", meeting a Mugatu. Krell is armed with a deadly Klingon knife we know only too well from its lethal use in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock". Inside, he must fend off more Mugatu, and work with the native humanoid populace and arm them with new technology and weaponry, only to be thwarted time and again by James T Kirk who is (mostly "off-screen" and) evening up the odds with a rival group of natives. Again, it's the story of the episode from the Klingon point of view.
The artwork is interesting, but works extremely well. Sometimes quite stylized, and with Klingon physiques that take on superhero proportions, it moves at a frenetic pace and complements the text well. Each of the issues offer unique perspectives on the well-known episodes.
Issue #4 promises to be just as entertaining. The cover features Mara, Kang's wife, of "Day of the Dove" fame. And we know, from DS9, that Mara's future first born son will one day be slain by the mysterious Albino, and that Kang has mutual respect for people such as Curzon, a previous host of DS9's Trill science officer, Jadzia Dax ("Blood Oath"), and the future Captain Sulu (of Voyager's "Flashback"). It will be interesting to see what the story will entail.
Bookending each issue, a female Klingon named K'Ahlynn studies with her grandfather. This story arc appears to link with a "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" plot thread in the final issue (#5), as it seems to feature Gorkon from that movie.
And as I said in several recent posts, my only qualms concern the multiple covers for each issue from IDW. In the heyday of "The Next Generation", when ratings and tie-in sales were at maximum, the lines could support multiple covers. But my local shops aren't ordering enough copies to get a fair selection of the alternatives - recently, not even a choice - and that causes anxiety to: the anal collectors, who want a matched set of a certain cover style; and the completists, who want all four, or six or whatever, cover variations for each issue.