Star Trek 1355: The Hollow Crown, Part 1

1355. The Hollow Crown, Part 1

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Romulans - The Hollow Crown #1, IDW Comics, September 2008

CREATORS: John Byrne (writer), John Byrne (artist)

STARDATE: Unknown (from after Balance of Terror to after The Deadly Years)

PLOT: In the wake of his warbird's destruction, the Romulan Praetor goes ballistic and only his Klingon allies, led by a smooth-talking Koloth, convince him to make the unnamed Romulan commander into a hero and not kill his family. The Commander's son, Gaius, serves on a new warbird while his mother Arenn becomes a strong political opponent of the puppet Praetor. Koloth continues to manipulate events and convinces the Praetor to marry Arenn, while also sending a warbird fleet to attack the Enterprise, but being rebuffed by Kirk's Corbomite trick. This failure, along with Klingon attitudes he's exposed to, only fuels his thirst for revenge. On his return to Romulus, he is surprised to find his mother has accepted the Praetor's offer to become queen. Kor, revealed as Koloth's partner, commends his fellow Klingon on his devious strategies.

CONTINUITY: See Alien Spotlight: Romulans (prototype warbird, Klingon-Romulan alliance). Koloth first appeared in The Trouble with Tribbles, and Kor in Errand of Mercy. Kirk used the Corbomite Maneuver on the Romulans in The Deadly Years (seen from the Romulan perspective). The Romulans quote the Klingon proverb "Only a fool fights in a burning house" (Day of the Dove).

DIVERGENCES: The timeline may have worked better if The Trouble with Tribbles had been before The Deadly Years.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Guest director Quentin Tarantino
REVIEW: Jam-packed with politics, warfare and nods to the original series, The Hollow Crown (great title), is as good as any John Byrne comic has ever been. Seems like the characters he introduced in Alien Spotlight were quite memorable, and things pick up easily from there. The inclusion of Koloth, at the expense of some unknown Klingon from Spotlight, plays very well on his dandy persona from Tribbles as well as the notion that he is some great negotiator in Blood Oath. Tying things into The Deadly Years, the Romulan episode we tend to forget about, makes him a much better villain than Tribbles' comedic aspirations did. And while there's a lot of scheming and political maneuvering, there's also a fun space combat sequence featuring the Klingons testing the Romulans' cloaking tactics. The cloak is used smartly and the Romulans easily win over the Klingons "shock and awe". Until the latter cheat, which seems to be in their nature at this point in the timeline.

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