Comic Book Review: Star Trek: The John Byrne Collection

Star Trek: The John Byrne Collection

John Byrne. A name in comics that bespeaks a rich history of some of the most influential comics in history. He’s had a hand in the creation of The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past in the X-Men universe. He helped contribute to fleshing out the character of Wolverine, in the process making him one of Marvel’s most important Marvel characters.He co-created Scott Lang, the man most casual fans now associate with Ant-Man thanks to the recent movie. He also had a hand in The Man of Steel from DC Comics, shaping the Superman Universe to how we know it today away from the bloated mess that had built up since the character’s creation.

Star Trek is coming up on its 50th Anniversary this year, what more can be said about one of the most popular science fiction television shows in history? The original show helped inspire countless people in numerous ways. Science that was purely theory became reality. Societal norms t which we shake our heads in shame for now, were shown for the nonsense that they were. The universe that Gene Roddenberry planted the seed for is still bearing fruit to this day.

You would think that combining one of the most influential comic book creators along with a franchise so rich with material to build from would yield great results. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

[easyazon_link identifier=”1631404911″ locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Star Trek: The John Byrne Collection[/easyazon_link] brings together a group of stories that Mr. Byrne created for IDW Comics. To start with, apart from brief cameos in the stories, the group of characters we would expect in these stories are simply not there. We get brief glimpses of Kirk, McCoy, and others but they are not the focus of the story. Instead, we get detailed stories about characters you just don’t care for.

One such story is “Romulans: Balance of Terror.” It’s based on the episode of the same name from the Original Series. The problem with this story is that it tries too hard to fit into a story any Star Trek fan knows by heart and it doesn’t even make much of an effort to do so. The original episode detailed Captain Kirk and crew chasing after a Romulan War Bird that was cloaked. They battle through the whole episode up to the very end where Kirk finally bests the Romulan Captain. If I am not mistaken, this was the first time we saw Romulans in the series. Mark Lenard, who went on to play Spock’s Father Sarek would play the Romulan Captain who, at the end of the episode would express his respect for Kirk before going down with the ship.

The story in this collection really comes across like John Byrne was attempting to put together a puzzle and was missing some of the pieces. You get the general idea of what the puzzle is supposed to be but there are elements of the story missing that make it feel incomplete. The story just feels jilted and stiff.

The artwork is something altogether. For the most part, while I may or may not enjoy some art in comics that I read, it doesn’t end up bothering me as much as the artwork in this series did. I had to look online for when these stories first came out to find out that we were not looking at art drawn close to fifty years ago. This series was created in 2013. I get what Mr. Byrne was trying to do. He wanted to have art that gave the feel of the 1960’s but the results are just sloppy and bad. The character models come across like action figures that have spent too much time in the sun. There aren’t any, recognizable characters from what we’ve seen on television or in the movies.

The Verdict

[easyazon_link identifier=”1613776128″ locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Star Trek: The John Byrne Collection[/easyazon_link] is just a mess. The intentions were probably in the right place, by creating a collection of stories that embodied the feel of the original show but there’s just a lot missing that prevents this collection from being good. I’m not saying I wanted a rip roaring adventure with only the characters I know. With all of the worlds and creatures created in this world, there is so much that could have been done that just wasn’t. By far, the only enjoyable part of the collection was the group of stories detailing the adventures of Gary Seven. Gary was originally seen in the episode “Assignment: Earth” from the original series. In what comes across like a nice mix of Doctor Who with Men in Black, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, his assistant, have adventures that they were never able to have in the original series. (The episode “Assignment: Earth” was a backdoor pilot from Gene Roddenberry for the Gary Seven character.) If not for the Gary Seven stories, the rest of this collection is virtually unreadable, even for long time Star Trek fans.

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