Thursday, November 5, 2009

Comics Review : Star Trek Romulans Schism Issue 3

The covers: John Byrne close out this series in covers as it's been in previous issues: three pivotal characters under their respective ships -- Admiral "Number One" under the Yorktown, the Praetor under his Super Romulan Warbird, and Koloth under his Klingon cruiser. The Admiral looks tough as nails, Koloth indifferent, and the Praetor focused. The "Retailer Incentive Virgin Cover" is the same as the regular edition, sans all script. It's okay, but I prefer the script on the cover. Colors are by Lovern Kindzierski and it's a good job. The Praetor is the brightest of the three characters, as he should be, since he's the focus of this issue, but those three ships positively glow against the background of space. The warbird looks like a CGI capture, it's so sharp! I really really like thematic covers that run for an entire series, such as the recently ended Star Trek: Spock Reflections, and here. Overall grade: Regular cover A and the "RIVC" B+

The story:
My jaw is still trying to close at the awesomeness of this story. Every plotline is finished wonderfully, but before the end you, the reader, get twists, turns, and outright joy that makes you revel in Trek. Opening on Romulus, the Praetor has not contacted his wife (hinting at a bookend conclusion for this issue). The Preator and his monster of a warbird beam Kor and the Admiral (and their respective bridge crews) aboard to find out what the heck is going on. Koloth and his ship begin to battle the Yorktown after its destruction of Kor's vessel. What follows turns the story up to 11, to misquote Nigel Tufnel. The mother of all space battles occurs, not before witnessing the courage of a "junior" officer in Starfleet (strong women characters to be found everywhere: piloting the Praetor's ship, the Admiral, the junior officer, and a "thankless child"). A perfect exit on Page 17 leads to the (more than) welcome return of a Trek race, which leads to a wonderfully dramatic and terribly just epiphany for a major character on Page 19. Pages 20 and 21 will make you gasp in shock and awe at the deliciously deviant mind of another major character. While the final page perfectly ends this series and resolves for all Original Series fans why the alliance between the Romulans and Klingons ended. If John Byrne would like to go the Mike Mignola route and tell more tales than he has time to draw, I would more than welcome them. Overall grade: A+

The art:
John Byrne has everything in this issue: sweeping planet vistas, detailed space shots, raw emotions bursting off the page (look at the bottom two panels of Page 5), a horrific phaser fight (this in not "a laser hits someone and they disappear", but outright terror, little scene in Trek), a space near miss reminiscent of The Wrath of Khan (Page 9), the brutal aftermath of Romulan interrogation (the costume design of the interrogators is so simple, yet terrifying in the brutality they create in one's mind), and, again, the mother of all Trek space battles. My favorite page is 19, as a breakdown occurs that is downright Shakespearian in execution. All that's missing is a kitchen sink. Overall grade: A+

The colors:
This is a really dark tale, if you think about it, but the colors are anything but. The bright colors of the Romulan homeworld segue into the coldness of space, highlighted only by the violets of the Romulan leaders' wardrobes. The coloring during the phaser battle is shockingly bright. I love how the backgrounds on bridges (be they Romulan, Klingon, or Federation) turned deep red to heighten the emotion. Very old school Trek. And the yellow of a transporter has never looked so joyous. Lovern Kindzierski is fantastic. Overall grade: A+

The letters:
Nary a sound effect to be found, but some words are slightly bolded for emphasis. Not to diminish the work, because there's plenty of dialogue to be had, but Neil Uyetake doesn't have too stretch with this issue. An acceptable job. Overall grade: A

The final line:
Perfection. I know this is coming out as a trade reprint, but, IDW (are you listening?), could you make this a hardcover, because it's more than worthy to be on a bookshelf, rather than stored in a comic box. This is my vote for the Trek series of the year. Overall grade: A+