Friday, September 18, 2009

Comics Review : Star Trek Romulans Schism Issue 1

The covers: "Regular" cover by John Byrne with colors by Lovern Kindzierski. It's a nice thematic cover with "classic" Kor looking forward, while flanked by the Romulan Praetor and a "Federation Commodore." Above each is their respective ships: a Romulan warbird, a Klingon cruiser, and the U.S.S. Yorktown. It's nice, it fits what's inside, but it left me empty. Nothing spectacular. The "Retailer Incentive Virgin Cover" is the exact same cover sans all wordage. Why not a photocover of William Campbell as Koloth? Overall grade: "Regular" cover B and "RIVC" C

The story: John Byrne has really outdone himself. What's not happening in this issue? This is a deep story, one I haven't seen since The Enterprise Experiment. The Klingon Empire's plans to get the Romulans to attack the Federation is not going quickly enough to their liking. Taking the heat is Kor, who blames Koloth for the plan's idea. Koloth doesn't have the ear of the Emperor, but he has better than that in the form of the Emperor's daughter. I have neither seen nor read of a Klingon ever getting this much tail! Koloth is the James T. Kirk of lady killers! To tell anymore beyond this would ruin many twists and surprises. Pages 6 and 7 certainly come across as game changers in Trek-lore. Page 10 will make you smile insanely if you've been a fan of Byrne's previous series, Crew. And the last four pages will make you wonder how in hell Byrne is going to resolve thi s issue's cliffhanger and tie up all the threads of this story. Overall grade: A+

The art: Byrne again, delivering epic scale art for his epic story. I did think that I was looking at John Schuck on Page 1, but he buffed imperially enough on later pages. Kor and Koloth look like the actors that portrayed them, as does a human commodore. The space exteriors are fantastic, as are the battles, with the interior scenes of the ships involved heighten the action's impact. The visuals really allow you to "hear" John Colicos screaming at his crew, especially on Page 19. And my vote for the wickedest looking Klingon would have to be Kloor's two appearances on Page 9. The Klingon homeworld is appropriately harsh, as Romulus is exotically dazzling, though I felt this location bordered on the World of Krypton. Still, this is fantastic layout and flawless execution on every page. This is the type of work that makes me recall the excitement of my teenage years reading comics, and I'm so grateful to see this work today. Overall grade: A

The colors: Lovern Kindzierski provides colors and it's the good job you'd expect: Klingon reds, oranges, and purples (who'd have know purple would work?); Federation whites and blues; and Romulan golds, yellows, and oranges. I prefer to have my Romulans primarily in greens, and these colors, again, place me in the World of Krypton. Though this is a small part of the story, it detracted. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Neil Uyetake is earning his check with the huge load of dialogue that this issue has. And that's all there is: no narration, no sound effects. Not spectacular, but capable. Overall grade: A

The final line: I cannot wait to see where this goes. I am on pins and needles to see the after effects of the final two page splash. And I'm a little sad with this issue. Once done, is John Byrne going to walk away from Trek? If he does, damn, what a way to go! You'll want to read and own this Trek comic if you're a Trek fan. Overall grade: A