Comics have become quite expensive
in Australia as of late, probably due to the financial crisis that
is effecting everything from printing costs and the affordability to
the end user.
Comics such as Marvel’s Avengers or DC’s Justice League of America
have a price tag of $2.99USD which depending on conversion and
shipping costs, roughly translates to around $6.00AUD. Although the
comics are considerably well written and contains some wonderful
art, most readers will easily finish the book in under 10 minutes.
Thankfully, this is where the Manga genre comes into the picture that is
generally a 200 page comic with a few different stories in the book.
TOKYOPOP is responsible for some of
the best Western Manga available with Star Trek the Manga: Uchu one
of their latest releases in Australia, in conjunction with Madman.
The most noticeable difference with Manga compared to Western comics
is the artwork which features that classic anime or Manga style and
the art is generally black and white.
Star Trek the Manga: Uchu is
based in the original Star Trek universe and features four stories
of our favourite Starship captain, James T. Kirk and his number one,
Mr. Spock. Although many of the actors who appeared in the original
series are past their prime, although William Shatner is still
wooing people in Boston Legal, it’s impossible that we’ll see these
actors reprising their original roles which is where the world of
comics and books come into play.
The first story in this book is the
Art of War which is written by former Star Trek actor, Wil Wheaton
who played the annoying Wesley Crusher in Star Trek the Next
Generation. Thankfully Wheaton is a Star Trek and comic fan which is
where his talents comes into play.
He truly captures the spirit of the
original Star Trek series in Art of War which Kirk and a Klingon
captain reluctantly join forces to solve the predicament they have
landed themselves in.
Artist Ej Su captures all the characters perfectly and when you see
Captain Kirk, you actually see a young William Shatner. His mastery
of the pen truly recreates the action of the Star Trek universe.
next story is written by David Gerrold with artwork by Dan Hudson
that is a tongue and cheek story about an alien species known as the
Bandi that actually look like big teddy bears. Unfortunately these
creatures are quite powerful with their emotions that effects the
crew in a variety of ways and once again threatens the U.S.S.
Enterprise. This story Bandi is quite reminiscent of the Trouble with Tribbles which was also written by David Gerrold. It’s a classic
light hearted and comedic Star Trek story that works extremely well in the
Following the story Bandi is the Humanitarian
which is written by Luis Reyes with artwork by Nate Watson and has
Mr. Spock in charge of the Enterprise as he attempts to evacuate a
planet. Unfortunately when something goes awry, he needs to make the
difficult and emotionless decision that often portrays him more
human than Vulcan.
The last story is Inalienable Rights which is
written by Nathanial Bowden with artwork by Heidi Arnhold. This
story involves the U.S.S. Enterprise visiting a new world who has
finally developed warp drive technology, similar to Star Trek First
Contact, however when Kirk encounters Jeena, an alien with a hidden
agenda, things may not be so dry cut. Kirk once again beds another
female alien! Although not the best story in
this book, Heidi’s artwork is pure Manga.
In conclusion, Star Trek the Manga –
Uchu features your classic Star Trek characters that not only pays
homage to Gene Roddenberry’s vision, it also works perfectly
well with the Manga genre. At almost 200 pages and with a
recommended retail of $15.95, this Manga book is definitely worth
the admission price alone and can be found at all good book stores
or comic and collectible stores.