Month: March 2011

The Covenant of the Crown

The Covenant of the Crown

The Covenant of the Crown

I finished The Covenant of the Crown, a Star Trek novel. It was published in 1981 and written by Howard Weinstein.

At first, when I read the first and second chapters, I was pretty unenthused. I really didn’t want to read about a political situation on some distant minor planet. I especially was disinterested because of the “flashbacks” or memories of Kirk who had played some role in the reign of the King of Shad some years previous.  All of this was quite uninteresting, and I shelved the reading of this novel for a few months.

However, I finally picked it up again and forced myself to move past the part where I had previously stopped.  I am glad I did. This wasn’t as good a novel as the two previous Star Trek novels that I read (“The Entropy Effect” and “The Klingon Gambit”).  However, The Entropy Effect was a 5 star read that I really don’t think most novels will compete with.

So the thing is, the King and his daughter, Kailyn, have been living in exile from their planet Shad – the result of the King and Kirk’s manipulations years ago.  Now, the Klingon’s have made some power plays to take over Shad indirectly. Starfleet decides its time to return the King to Shad. However, the King is very ill. In fact, he dies during the trip to Shad.

The King’s daughter, Kailyn, is next in line for the crown. She has a severe case of a disease called Choriocytosis.  It  is a virus affecting the ability of blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s organs.

The Enterprise is involved in continuing Starfleet’s official mission, dealing with the King’s death and the Klingon threat, and also, with uniting Kailyn with the actual crown (which the King hid on the planet Sigma 1212 when he was exiled).  However, she cannot simply don the crown, Kailyn also has to prove herself worthy by showing that she can turn crystals that are embedded in the crown clear (they are normally swirled and foggy).

En route to Sigma 1212, Kailyn falls in love with McCoy – who is undergoing some psychological issues with having had his birthday.  He feels old, and he continually doubts his intentions and relationship with Kailyn.  Is this real love? Is it a crisis of feeling old?  McCoy is merely supposed to be educating the girl on how to treat her disease and give herself injections for treatment. Eventually, Spock, McCoy, and Kailyn shuttle to Sigma 1212, a planet much like Hoth, to retrieve the crown. They meet a variety of natives and environmental challenges there, but they persevere as Kailyn learns some clues as to how to be a leader of people.

I originally thought the novel was going to focus on Kirk and his relationship with the King. Thankfully that ended up  being a minor role. I liked learning more about McCoy and Spock – their exploits on Sigma 1212 develop their characters and are more interesting than the stuff going on with Kirk.

Overall, I have to give this novel 3 stars because I disliked the relationship nonsense between McCoy and Kailyn.  Also, the storyline was okay, but I feel a bit strained. For example, what the hell is the issue with Kailyn giving herself injections? Diabetics do it all the time. The girl was in exile on a wasteland planet for her whole life. Also, she’s the Queen-to-be… Are you telling me that in the year 2276 injections are that complicated and painful or whatever? I doubt. I really dislike Kailyn.

On a side note, I really got a tickle out of the “about the author” at the end of the book. It reads:

“He spends his spare time playing guitar; writing songs; and watching television, seeing movies, and reading books (all to check up in the competition).  Among his friends are a large collection of stuffed creatures (who also watch television, see movies, and read books – but not to check up on the competition.).”

3 stars

Namor #1 (2010)

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I am reading along in the “Curse of the Mutants” storyarc that started with the new 2010 X-Men series.  The storyarc continues in Namor #1 – also a new ongoing series of 2010 starring Marvel’s first mutant, Namor the Sub-Mariner.

Namor 1

Namor #1 cover

I signed up to get Namor regardless of whatever storyarc was running at the time.  I knew that the ongoing would not be the most popular and would most likely be canceled eventually, but I wanted to 1.) show Marvel I support ongoings outside of Deadpool and Wolverine2.)  for one time in my life be a subscriber to a Namor title.

The cover art for this issue was done by Jae Lee. I don’t run into art by him very often, although I have a number of his things for The Dark Tower comics.  I spent some good solid time looking at this Namor cover and am not sure if its great or if I dislike it.  First of all, the background water is done, in my opinion, very well. This looks like water. Deep below the surface of the water, clearly, and the tricks done with the lighting make it look real. In other words, Lee doesn’t just paint a blue background. Now, as far as Namor himself, he looks very youthful and almost Asian.  In fact, this is a very different looking Namor than the typical box-head, square-jaw we are used to seeing.  He almost looks petulant in this shot.  I don’t know how I feel about this.  Also, I find this pose to be very odd, as well. But I do admit:  this is very unique. Now, the “throne” Namor is sitting on isn’t really a throne.  It looks like an octopus that is surrounding him. At first glance I thought it was a throne, but Namor’s butt isn’t actually sitting on anything. He’s just hovering in the arms of the sea creature.

The story is written by Stuart Moore and interior art is done by Ariel Olivetti.  The interior art isn’t my favorite style.  It looks like it was drawn by a girl. Its got that feminine style to it – which was kind of a let down for me because I like the edgy sharpness of masculine art. Its not that the art here is bad, mind you. It just isn’t very hard and sharp. Everything seems blended and pastel, I suppose.

The story is written well. We learn a bit of background about The Aqueos (vampires sect), we met the Tridents (underwater sea people), and we learn about The Vault of Law. The Vault of Law is a box that can only be opened by a royal – so, Namor. And it contains Dracula’s head – which (Cp. X-Men issues) is what the X-Men are seeking. It has been stolen.  Namor recruits the Tridents to help him fetch it. The Aqueos Highlord meets them and fights. He declares war on all the Atlanteans.

Some problems first. The first time in this series that Namor says the famous Imperious Rex! Its as flat and deadpan as possible. I mean, its really lackluster, as if Namor himself is bored.  Also, on the small Trident force are two brothers: Husni and Husam.  I swear this sounds to me like Stuart Moore dug into Muslim history and discovered the Shia Imams:  Hussayn and Hassan.  It doesn’t matter too much, Husni is dispatched in the fight with the Aqueos in this very issue.

The good stuff:  there are some good quotes by Namor including this one:  “If you face death on this voyage, stare it in the eye and slit it down to the gills!.”  Also the storyline moves along nicely, we learn background, we fight, we end with a threat by a scary evil baddie.  So, as far as issue #1’s go, this one meets all expectations. I just don’t prefer the art and some parts of Namor’s dialogue are flat.

2 stars

March 2011: Cover of the Month

Lots of nice covers to choose from this month. I finally selected these from which I had to pick just one!

  • Batman #706
  • Captain America #614
  • Batman & Robin #19
  • Uncanny X-Force #4
  • Daredevil: Reborn #1

And I picked Captain America #614 by Marko Djurdjevic as the winner. This was a tough call, but this cover is chilling and scary and very remarkable. (I hate the Nomad blurb on it, though.)

Captain America 614

Captain America #614 cover