Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Villordsutch, May 14, 2014.
Cool cover! I'm looking forward to this story.
FYI, the latest issue of New Visions, "The Hidden Face", is out tomorrow (Wednesday). There's a preview of the opening pages here:
The fourth trade paperback collection is out, too.
Judging by the preview pages, JB pulled some good images of McCoy and Sickbay; dialog seems spot-on to the respective characters.
Should be a good "episode".
"The Hidden Face".
I had to read it twice to let my thoughts sink in and firm up to give an impression.
Technically, JB continues in fine form: the selection/manipulation of screenshots (even a manipulated shot from "Space Seed" featuring a certain "torso"; eagle-eyed fans will spot it), character figures, and backgrounds (a new room for Scotty to work in is briefly shown) is excellent. He has indeed created a "strange new world" to fit mission parameters.
The masks of the people are quite the artwork; well detailed, reflective surfacing, and unique as they should be, for this is the key to the storyline.
Once again, the Enterprise crew is in fine form; nice to see Mr. Sulu out from behind the helm console for some involvement in the action; Spock gets to show off some of his abilities (a bit of "The Omega Glory" there) and gets in a zinger at McCoy's expense to boot, while the good doctor gets to (briefly) exude his "Southern" charm to a "pretty" lady.
Captain Kirk gets a showcase, especially near the end of the tale, speechifying in the way that only William Shatner could pull off. You could hear the Shatner-ian pauses in the dialog; JB has that down pat.
This leads to the tale of this "episode".
While entertaining and well plotted, evoking the TOS feel, I had reservations about its execution.
I have always personally had a love/hate relationship with the Prime Directive. This story involves it and a first contact mission.
We know from TOS that Kirk has "bent" the Prime Directive to attain a Federation-friendly resolution to a mission; that didn't concern me too much. The idea of Kirk "adamantly" putting this society on the "proper" path did concern me.
The society wasn't "The Return of the Archons" or "The Apple"; i.e., machine-driven, but a faith/cult-driven society at twentieth-century level of development. Ideally, Kirk and crew should have "returned" the pilot and his craft back this (unnamed) world's orbit and moved on; of course, there wouldn't have been a story to tell. JB wanted to tell this one.
Which leads to the "masks". If this had been a live-action story, I don't feel hiding your cast members' faces behind masks for a good third of the story would have flown with the actors or producers of that time.
I understand that NEW VISIONS is not live action; JB did get around this a little by use of shadow and highlighting eyes/eyeholes. However, I feel that it is difficult for the main characters to "emote" by voice alone. Even static "screenshot" characters.
Despite my personal reservations , "The Hidden Face" is recommended. It hold one's interest, is well plotted, and makes good use of JB's "photo-manipulation" process.
And feels like TOS!
Looking forward to "Sam".
The Hidden Face was great fun. Byrne is a master at evoking a TOS feel to his comics. My only regret at this point is that the women suffer because of it.
Chapel is portrayed as ditzy and I wish she could be shown making some use of her medical or biology expertise to foreshadow her qualifications in TMP. The issue also had a perfect opportunity to put Uhura in the Captain's chair and maybe have Palmer manning the comms station.
Submitted by IDW for April:
Don't know about that silhouette ... . Elvis?
Nah, JB can only use approved likenesses.
Ah ... wait. Maybe ... the lonely Squire of Gothos is returning!
But why would he need a robot army?
Unless, of course If JB hired a "guest star" (cheap!) ... .
I keep thinking it's Doctor Who, but then IDW doesn't have the rights to do Doctor Who any more...
A word from JB's Forum:
"A note -- that's not actually the final cover, but it's close."
The change in "guest star" must have affected the silhouetted character.
Impressions of "Sam"
Once again, the likeness of William Shatner plays a dual role "guest starring" as his older brother George Samuel Kirk first introduced deceased in "Operation; Annihilate!"
Obviously, this "episode" take place before that revelation.
And it's a great read, lots of fun, great action, and a little bit of commentary on the status of the Organian Peace Treaty.
And "dear" Captain Koloth, Korax, and a whole battlecruiser full of Klingons!
It was great to Yeoman Rand again, as well as Commodore Mendez at Starbase 11.
Good to see Mr. Sulu in command again, albeit briefly. (No Chekov, obviously at this point in time.)
Scotty's line about the Enterprise "hardly pokin'" to McCoy was spot-on hilarious!
JB outdid himself with the Klingon interiors, Koloth's office/quarters, corridors, engine room, bridge, etc. Very cool interiors, with the Matt Jefferies/'60's set design vibe.
The tension between the Kirk brothers was palpable, and JB picked choice images to demonstrate this.
Only two downsides to this tale; I felt the story ended too abruptly, with Sam just transporting off; I'd like to have seen a face-to-face reconciliation in Kirk's quarters for a page or two; or maybe a flash-forward to Kirk finding Sam's body on Deneva.
Second problem: my copy, at least had a murky print, leaving scenes dim or dark; not allowing the great detail work on JB's Klingon interiors to show through. But maybe it was just my copy.
Overall, a grand adventure and a fun "episode"!
Next Voyage: "The Traveller"
On most of these IDW stations .... .
Just picked up a copy of this today, my first trip to a comic shop in a couple of months.
Agreed. I thought the last issue ended very abruptly, too. Both of these issues had nice setups, but they read like Byrne got to page 30 and then suddenly remembered he had to wrap things up. I never got an especially good sense of just what went down between Sam Kirk and Finer or why the Kirk brothers had problems with each other. A flashback towards the end might have helped.
I hope Byrne paces things out better in future issues.
It's not just you. Dim printing and lack of contrast is my #1 complaint about New Visions. Sometimes I can't even pick out the figures in a panel (The panel at the bottom of pg. 31 was particularly bad in this issue). I attribute it to Byrne doing things that look good on his computer screen without anyone checking to see how it will look when it's printed. If they upped the brightness and contrast by 10-20%, the book would read a lot better.
JB stated on his Forum that he sends his scans to IDW not original files. Would this have some to do with the murkiness of the final print? Don't know enough to speculate further. It was the only downside to a pretty good issue.
JB also seems to hinting that next issue "The Traveller" may be a "Doctor Who"-ish tale. Not up on the "Who" so I'll keep an open mind.
He has to be sending digital files to IDW. There's literally no other way he could do it. They're the only thing that would be high-res enough for printing (typically at least 300-400 dpi). And he recently said he was sending Chris Ryall patches to correct a stardate in the latest issue for when it's reprinted in trade.
I'm thinking that's likely, too. Those robot things on the cover look pretty Dalek-ish. When someone on his Forum mentioned the Doctor, Byrne replied "Doctor... who?" Byrne also has a "Doctor Who" section on the Forum, so apparently he's a fan. And in the preview pages at the end of #14, the Enterprise crew beams over to a vessel that's apparently bigger on the inside...
The really intriguing question is, who will play the role of the Traveler? Has Byrne made the acquaintance of another actor willing to guest star, like 30 Rock's Scott Adsit? I think Byrne did talk about meeting 2001's Kier Dullea a while back. And he might have met another Trek actor or two at the Mission New York con last year...
Apparently he did "cast" someone who fell through so he had to "recast". Does he know any the most recent actors who've played the Time Lord? Not sure.
Yeah, I noticed that the initial stardate in the issue would fall waaaaay back in the first season, probably circa "Balance of Terror," not post-"Errand of Mercy" (and pre-"Operation--Annihilate!"). Is this the stardate Byrne wants to fix for the TPB reprint?
So does the title not refer to Wesley's friend played by Eric Menyuk? I had just assumed that Enterprise was going to be running into him somewhere.
Yes. He discusses it a bit on his thread about New Visions starting on this page.
I would guess no, since Byrne has very little interest in the TNG era.
Just noticed in that thread that Byrne is automatically assuming that stardate-order equals chronological order, when they barely mean anything at all, apart from being rough ballpark-placeholders for storytelling purposes. He's "surprised" to learn that TAS's "The Magicks of Megas-Tu" comes before "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
I'd point this out to him over there, but he'd probably ban me if I tried.
Didn't he do a Borg story?
^ He did, yeah, but that's pretty much the exception that proves the rule, although he did also throw in a nice 24th Century DS9 scene (at Quark's bar) at the end of one of his stories a year or two ago.
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