John Byrne returns to IDW’s Star Trek for the last time until early 2009 with the second (and final) part of "The Hollow Crown", and the question on everyone’s mind is whether he’ll be able to hold our attention until the conclusion of this storyline. How does this all play out? See our review below plus a preview of upcoming Byrne Trek books.
A new dynasty… and Kirk
With the completion of the middle segment of his Romulans series begun in his contribution to the Alien Spotlight series back in February, this next segment of the story comes to a close, but leaves a lot of plot threads hanging as the timeline begins to move toward the end of the Original Series timeline. Of course, just as a significant amount of time passed in the first issue, a fair bit of time passes in this issue of the story.
The story picks up with Gaius, the son of the commander shown in the Alien Spotlight issue, on board a Klingon vessel where they promptly attack and destroy a Federation cargo using their cloak, and after Kloor congratulates him on a job well done, Gaius betrays his discomfort with the relationship between his mother and the Praetor by telling Kloor not to call him a "princeling." As with the last issue, Byrne captures the mixed emotions of a young man caught between his father’s death, his mother’s apparent betrayal, and the Praetor’s politcal machinations.
The art in this issue picks up exactly where the last left off, and the way that the two stories jump forward in time as pages changes suggests that the two issues could be stuck together and they’d simply feel like one longer single issue. Looking more closely at the art, Byrne presents even more of the capital city of Romulus than he was able to in the first two issues, showing us skylines, buildings, and even the harshness of some of the weather. The images in this issue are split fairly evenly between starship shots, external shots of Romulus, and harsh building interiors, giving us a very rounded view of the Romulans and their homes.
Through all of this, Leonard O’Grady continues to bring out the best from Byrne’s artwork, taking "simple" black and white drawings and turning them into images that look similar to those that we would expect to see on screen in one of the television shows. Combining this with a limited selection of comic style sound effects by Neil Uyetake doing the lettering gives us a very straight story with a minimum of distraction from the plot at hand.
Byrne’s Hollow Crown #2 is out now, here is a five page preview from IDW.
What’s ahead for Byrne and his Romulans? Well, recently in his forums, Byrne talked about the conclusion of his Romulans saga, suggesting that it might be a three issue series. He went on to state that “Thought I’d mention that I have begun the mental part of working on Part Three of this (counting the original ALIEN SPOTLIGHT issue as Part One), and it is growing rather dramatically. This is gonna be a big story, methinks. Even bigger than what I originally had planned.” In addition to this, he also pointed out that there was a coloring error in the issue on page 8 noting that “A coloring mistake I caught in the proofs was not corrected, so we have her in two different colored cloaks, instead of two figures in the same colored cloak.”
Up next for John Byrne is the five issue series "Crew", coming to press in March 2009. Chris Ryall recently posted the early cover artwork from the first issue on his blog. Byrne also posted some early artwork on his forums.
Lastly Byrne has posted a pencil sketch of the montage for the cover of the Assignment Earth Trade Paperback.