Thursday, March 26, 2009

Star Trek 839: Giri

839. Giri

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #20, DC Comics, November 1985

CREATORS: Wenonah Woods (writer, usually credited as Laurie S. Sutton), Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran (artists)

STARDATE: 8298.7 (follows #18)

PLOT: Sulu's R&R comes when he visits his mother's side of the family for a wedding between two warring clans who have turned an ancient feud into a business rivalry. The business: Building giant cyber-suits to help build Starfleet's ships. The bride: Sulu's cousin and former lover. The groom: A guy from the other family, ending the feud for honor but not love. The father-in-law: Trying to kill the father of the bride with industrial accidents, poisoned potables and katanas. Sulu stops every attempt, of course, which culminates in a huge mecha battle in space. Despite one man's thirst for revenge, the wedding does occur and Sulu leaves heartbroken.

CONTINUITY: None.

DIVERGENCES: Mech-like cyber-suits isn't a very Trek-like idea.

PANEL OF THE DAY - You've heard of Japanese miniaturization.
REVIEW: Dude, that's your COUSIN! Otherwise... While this is an exciting issue, with lots of fighting with imaginative weapons and in interesting locations, it is filled with clichés about Japan. Sulu visits a space station that takes its cues from feudal Japan (right down to entire temples inside it), except that they manufacture mechs. The wedding banquet has poison sake and bad sushi. They shout "Banzai!" Sulu uses martial arts, a katana, even chopsticks to drop the bad guy. And everybody dresses like they came out of a Kurosawa film. I was half expecting Godzilla to make an appearance. Sorry to come down on an ish with so many nice visuals and whizzbang action for my favorite TOS character, but while using Japan this way might have been exotic back in 1985, we know far too much about the country now for it to seem like anything but a stereotype checklist. Now I feel bad for dissing a comic that features Sulu kicking ass with mecha. I might reverse this entire review in an hour or two.

1 comment:

Jeffrey said...

I was an exchange student in Japan when this came out, and I bought a copy in a book store in Nagasaki. Yeah, it was weird. It would be like Europeans wearing medieval clothes. Wait. They did that in the Gold Key and Marvel run. Never mind.