Star Trek: Manifest Destiny #2  ST_ManifestDestiny_02-pr-page-001
Publisher: Ted Adams
Writer: Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott
Artist: Angel Hernandez
Colourist: Doug Garbark & Adam Guzowski
Letterer: Andworld Design
Covers By: Angel Hernandez, Tony Shasteen (Subscription Cover) J.K Woodward (RI Cover)
Editor: Sarah Gaydos

Release Date: 04/05/16

Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers!

Overview
After taking a prisoner of his own, McCoy makes a deal with Sho’tokh’s lieutenant Divash to give his prisoner up if Divash gives her word she won’t harm him and the rest of the away team. Divash is as good as her word and slays a fellow Klingon who questions her decision, after getting an earful from McCoy, Divash tells him that she’s not finished yet and needs their help to kill her captain. Meanwhile…

After  being attacked by a fierce Klingon sect led by their formidable commander Sho’tokh, the security team of the Enterprise (led by Kirk and Spock) head out to confront them on the hull of the ship itself. With both sides taking heavy and brutal losses, Sho’tokh orders his ship to fire on the Enterprise (and ground forces on both sides) which makes a hole in the hull, big enough to take his forces inside the ship and toward the bridge of the Enterprise where a frantic Chekov has the conn.

After another tense skirmish in which Chekov narrowly escapes, Sho’tokh and his warriors take the Enterprise bridge and tell their waiting warbird that they are about to ‘let the slaughter begin’.

Seething at these events, Kirk stalks toward the bridge to take his ship back by force, until Spock stops him. Spock says that it wouldn’t be logical to storm the bridge, that they know the Enterprise better than anyone and should use that knowledge to their advantage.

The Story
“Today we are not explorers – were soldiers”. A powerful line and one that pretty much sums up this action packed instalment perfectly.

The battle scenes taking place on the hull of the Enterprise were stunningly realised, with shots being fired chaotically all over the pages by both sides – it really does feel like a warzone!

I’m still really enjoying the creative choice to have Bones be the focal point of the planet scenes as he has been criminally underused in the rebooted continuity so far.

I’m intrigued by the Klingon lieutenant Divash. She is ruthless enough to watch a comrade impale himself on his own blade but filled with a deep sense of honour, enough to turn against her comrade who wanted to hurt the away team, just because she gave them her word they wouldn’t be harmed. She’s another great creation and I’m looking forward to seeing where the creative team go after this twist.

Speaking of Sho’tokh, he is still as deliciously written (“Starfleet, so fragile”) as he was in issue #1 and is more than a match for Kirk and I can’t wait to see the inevitable battle between these two strong leaders in future issues.

I can’t wait to see the reasoning behind Sho’tokh’s attack, as ruthless as he his, he is not foolish in any way. It took a lot of planning to lure the Enterprise and take the ship so quickly and as Kirk said, it wasn’t just any Federation ship, but the flagship herself. I can’t wait to see the reasoning behind his terrible actions.

It’s also good to see the Enterprise’s lieutenant Kai getting some love. He really is proving to be one of Kirk’s best officers in battle. His bravery during the Klingon attack and his reminding of the security officers to “Do the job because that’s why we wear red” sums up his character perfectly. Along with Zahra, Kai is a great creation and I’m pleased that they both are not being forgotten about during big events like this.

As with last month, the cliff-hanger is a great one and I really cannot wait to see the inevitable battle in the halls of the Enterprise itself between the Starfleet and Klingon forces.

Yes the focus is on action in this issue but writers Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott are not scrimping on story, we have intense action, plot twists, and some of the best Klingon villains we’ve had in years – n any medium. Simply put Star Trek: Manifest Destiny reads like a perfect extension of the rebooted film series, it really does feel like the next big screen Star Trek epic.

The Art
The art for issue #2 was of an even higher standard than issue #1 with the battle on the OUTSIDE of the Enterprise being the highlight! Angel Hernandez’s likenesses continue to impress and his facial work with Sho’tokh in particular brilliantly rendered.

The colouring by Doug Garbark & Adam Guzowski was great with everything from the space battles to the alien planet all looking perfectly distinct and consistent.

Favourite Panel: Where do I start?! I loved the panel of Kirk and Spock rallying the troops and the sequence of Kai turning off the magnetic locks on his boots to turn the tide in battle was very well realised.

But for me, my favourite panel was the one with the Klingon warbird reigning fire down on the Enterprise hull, killing Starfleet officers and Klingon warriors alike. It was amazingly drawn and helped reinforce the ruthlessness of Sho’tokh and the lengths he is willing to go.

The Covers
This issue ships with three covers.

A standard cover by interior artist Angel Hernandez, a subscription cover by Tony Shasteen and a retailer incentive cover by J.K Woodward

Angel Hernandez’s standard cover is set during this issues stunning sequence of the Klingon’s attack on the Enterprise. It shows Kirk and Spock in space suits running along the top of the ship as the Klingon ship in the background fires down on them and the Enterprise from above. It’s a great action shot of a brilliant interior sequence and readers get instantly the story being told inside.

The subscription cover by Tony Shasteen continues the series’ trend of updating the old movie posters to fit with the new movie universe crew. It’s a fantastic idea and this month’s tribute (as this is issue #2 of Manifest Destiny) is to the original Bob Peak poster from the classic Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. It depicts Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan (or Cumberkhan) prominently with the rebooted universe’s (Pine, Quinto and Saldana) Kirk, Spock and Uhura in old movie style admiral uniforms! As with last month, Shasteen has really out did himself and given us a real treat of a cover. It’s also coloured beautifully. The fact that this cover (or the idea behind it) was not used as a poster for Star Trek Into Darkness was certainly a wasted opportunity, as I’m sure anyone who’s seen the film would agree!

The RI cover this month is by the incredibly talented J.K Woodward. The stunningly painted image depicts Chekov, Klingon helmet in hand surrounded by enemy Klingons. It’s a fantastic cover and the detail is incredible, Chekov really does look like he’s been caught red handed! It’s really good to see Chekov on a cover solo and could the image be a sign of things to come next issue? Amazing piece and is probably my favourite of the three covers for issue #2.

Overall
Issue #2 of Manifest Destiny continues the high standards of the series opener with a great action packed story being told within. A story is only as good as its villain and Johnson and Parrott have created a doozy of one in Sho’tokh.

The art is great, the artist and colourists are working perfectly in tandem here, and you really feel like you are ‘watching’ an action packed Star Trek blockbuster.

We really are having treats in abundance in this anniversary year, and that is what Star Trek: Manifest Destiny is to Star Trek fans: a gift. A gift I can’t wait to open again next issue.

LLAP

Caleb
@CalebBeldom