TrekInk: Review Romulans Hollow Crown #2 + Byrne Comics Previews

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 combined power of the Klingons and Romulans is far stronger than the defenses of their poor prey… (click to enlarge)

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.

Always use promotion to try to get into a girl’s bed… just don’t get caught! (click to enlarge)

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.

Cover for Hollow Crown #2   

Byrne’s Hollow Crown #2 is out now, here is a five page preview from IDW.


Byrne  Previews
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.

‘Crew’ cover and inside artwork sketches

Lastly Byrne has posted a pencil sketch of the montage for the cover of the Assignment Earth Trade Paperback.

Assignment Earth TPB cover sketch



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I really need to starting reading comics!

Byrne has a knack for Trek.

guys lets stay on topic, there are more articles coming up

Assignment Earth cover is again superb… makes me wish it had become a TV series, but a continued comic series would be marvelous.

I’d love to see Gary and Roberta jump into the movie era, the TNG era, DS9 and VOY even… The possibilities are… endless.


Aye. Yes, and yes. Sure would have been cool. There are possibilities.

#4 – I respectfully disagree. After 3 TV shows (178 episodes a piece), 4 movies, several video games and an interactive experience in Las Vegas, I think we’ve seen ENOUGH of the TNG era!! It’s refreshing to get a break from that crap.

Not to mention the TNG era is boring! Any Gary Seven stories that might take place there would be as sleep-inducing as his servo/pen. Keep “Assignment: Earth” interesting, Mr. Byrne!!

Why is TNG boring? It was the best series next to TOS,

The TNG era will always be what I think of when I think of Trek, mainly because I grew up when it was on. But I find that the Lost Era between Star Trek VI and TNG is where my interest in new stuff is. We won the Dominion War, and Voyager got home. That’s a pretty good wrapup for me.

I’d love to see a series with Captain Harriman and how he had to deal with the fact Kirk died saving his ship.

9. Kirk didn’t die saving his ship, he got trapped in the Nexus. He died several decades later while helping Picard in Generations.

#9 watch of gods and men its dealt with in that

10, he died as far as anyone at the time knew.

Byrne’s artwork has a real Neal Adams feel to it—love it!


How can you be dead, but still alive?

Freakin’ Star Trek……..

John Byrne has always had a golden touch, an understanding of any material he depicts bordering on the profound.
It makes him the greatest, right alongside Denny O’Neill, Neal Adams, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

I think Picard probably kept the Kirk thing a secret to anyone besides those temporal police that talked to Sisko in the Tribble’s episode.

IDW’s Mirror Images series, for me anyway, has better writing and artwork than the Assignment: Earth series (I haven’t read the Hollow Crown books).

Byrne’s style of drawing is very dated, which I s’pose is appropriate seeing as the series takes place in the late ’60s. Loved his style back in the ’70s but it just doesn’t compare to the current crop of artists.

Did someone just compare John ‘cartooning-by-numbers’ Byrne to Jack Kirby???

Come on. John Byrne is a hack who’s famous for pounding out on deadline thanks to just drawing the same thing over and over and over. Every one of his characters look the same, can’t ya grok that? His action and form haven’t changed since his big days on X-Men in the 80s.

Let’s just be clear what cartoonists are, today, considered masters of the form and what cartoonists are no-where-near that.

Don’t mean to get off topic… but holy cats, couldn’t let that pass by!

What would 1962 Jerry Lewis look like if he were a romulan?

See top picture. Hey Lady!!!

Whaaaa? I grok that the King had two faces he could draw complete with 2 distinct facial expressions -angry and neutral- and that worked fine for me and many others, as does Byrnes’ style.
These so-called ‘masters’ today have a too-cartoony appearance, almost careless and sloppy; nothing but contasts in black-and-white.
It all just depends on what you ‘cut your teeth on’. For me, it was the Masters- Wayne never-Boring, Neal Adams, Jack Kirby, maybe John Romita and absolutely John Byrne, Mr-do-it-all.

#19 –


Either that, or that Romulan pictured above is actually Paul Lynde.

It’s really Charles Nelson Riley.

I remember reading Iron Fist back in the day, and I enjoyed Byrne’s artwork. Buscema brothers, and Romita ruled, too.

All thanks to Jack Kirby, of course.

6. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator – November 3, 2008
“#4 – I respectfully disagree. After 3 TV shows (178 episodes a piece), 4 movies, several video games and an interactive experience in Las Vegas, I think we’ve seen ENOUGH of the TNG era!! It’s refreshing to get a break from that crap.

Not to mention the TNG era is boring! Any Gary Seven stories that might take place there would be as sleep-inducing as his servo/pen. Keep “Assignment: Earth” interesting, Mr. Byrne!!”

How do you respectfully disagree then call it “crap” and “boring”?

Iron Fist rules. I read that.

#24 – By “respectfully disagreeing” with Daoud, I am respecting his OPINION. By respecting his opinion, I am making the statement that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But just because I respect the fact(s) that…

1). He likes TNG and the TNG Era,
2). He would like to see the A:E comics in that era,

…does not mean that I don’t think TNG and the TNG Era is “crap” and “boring.” Because those are MY opinions that I am as equally entitled to. =)

Getting back on topic, I’m really happy that Byrne’s Romulan story is going farther than just a one-shot comic book! The TOS Romulans were always a fascinating people that never really got enough exposure, other than Diane Duane’s books. And I DO love the art!!

I love that cover to Crew. The cutout shape of the ship framing a scene feels totally 60s. Wrong show, I know, but I immediately started hearing the 3rd season Lost In Space theme when I saw it.

Byrne’s a weird one…

I’ve followed his “Forums” site on and off for the past few months… I checked it out because I’ve always been a fan of his and consider him a fantastic WRITER, first and foremost, so he always struck me as fairly intelligent and clear-headed.

However, he seems on the fasttrack to essentially “ban” any- and everyone on his site from even discussing STAR TREK XI, based solely on some of the photos. He has a weird knack for choosing certain films that go on his “DO NOT DISCUSS” list, which I find oddly juvenile and the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going, “Lalalalalalalalalala!” I guess he’s banned his OWN MEMBERS from even bringing up THE DARK KNIGHT, simply because the Joker in that film applied the make-up to his face himself, and wasn’t “bleached” in some accident like in the comics!

Very odd.

Why are you such a dick about the TNG era? And don’t say “it’s just my opinion”, because all you do is continually bash everything post-TOS and Berman/Piller/Braga, without saying a damn thing about it! Okay, let’s have Trek go back to the TOS era where Starfleet Command was called “Space Command”, and Kirk spoke with those sentences where… he… paused… between… every… word… andthenfittheotherwordsattheendsuperfastlike, while wrestling a guy in a lizard suit.


I’ll take the Romulan to block.


Getting off subject a bit but everyone always describing Shatner’s acting style as clipped, and staccato is not only the standard cliche, but I’ve always thought it was inaccurate too. Using that formula is like giving someone the notes to a song but not telling them the melody to play….NO! It’s like not even giving them an instrument to play it on or the ability to play it. The character is far deeper than that.


You’re putting words in my mouth.

I didn’t say that I liked TNG, I said it should be hauled away AS TNG?

Actually, TNG isn’t my favorite. I’d just be interested to see Gary Seven interact with some TNG era characters. Ronny Cox’s Jellico for example. Or Ro Laren. Or to see Deanna Troi try to read Gary and Roberta. And she might find Riker cute or something. A little competition. And Gary Seven might confuse Data for Aric Soong.

In summary though, I’d only like to see a one-shot of A:E:TNG. Sort of an “across the generations” story for Gary & Roberta. Maybe issue 1 is TNG, issue 2 takes them to DS9, and issue 3 takes them to VOY.

Gary Seven is exactly the twist that would make a TNG story interesting for a change. Sort of the failed potential of Berlinghoff Rasmussen floating around. I do really wish they’d have tied him in with Future Guy somehow. Or even Future Guy as a sort of Gary Negative Seven.

I digress though, that’s an E:A:ENT crossover idea.

Plum (#18),

I must, respctfully, disagree with your opinion of Byrne’s artwork. Calling him a “hack” is doing him a great dis-service. His run on Uncanny X-Men with Chris Claremont is legendary, as was his work redefining the DC universe post “Crisis” with his “Man of Steel” mini-series. Heck, I even liked his “Spider-Man: Year One” series, though it seems I may be the only one who did.

Furthermore, his artwork has changed a great deal over the years. His run on X-Men (and even before that, when he was drawing the Space:1999″ comics for Carlton) was defined by very clean, thin lines and deep shading. Around the time he was doing “She-Hulk” (another of my favorites), his artwork started evolving. His lines grew bolder, with rougher edges that intimated movement on a very subtle level. His use of cross-hatching for shading also became more apparent around this time, and the characters he drew became less beefy-looking with more lean muscle.

The work he’s done for the IDW Trek comics is vastly different than the classic work he produced during his X-Men run, yet it’s still immediately identifiable as John Byrne. I’ve been reading his comics since I was a kid, and I’ve seen his artwork and storytelling prowess evolve over many years.

His work may not appeal to you, and that’s just fine, but he’s by no means a “hack” by any stretch of the imagination.

#31 – You’re exactly right. People bash TOS without even having seen the show…they just go by the inaccurate stereotypes propogated by people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

How is Assignment Earth not a TV series yet?

I hate comic books, but if I happen to see an AE issue, I’ll grab it.

I never understood why a network (NBC?) didn’t pick up “Assignment Earth” as a series. It would have rocked in a big way. Well, it had the potential at least.

Nice to see that the Romulans in this comic series don’t all have the same freaking haircut like Rick Berman made them all have after Gene Roddenberry passed away.

I don’t think Gary Seven was a time traveller.

and I agree, it was another missed opportunity. Of all of Roddenberry’s non-TREK creations I’d still love to see Questor done as a TV series, followed by Genesis II (in its original setting, and not Andromeda).

Of course, none of this will ever happen, unfortunately.

AND if we want to discuss great comic book artists, let’s not forget DC Comics’ greats Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson!