In the Star Trek universe of Starfleet, The Federation, The Klingon Empire and many varying races, none quite measure up to the ruthlessness of those from Romulus, home planet of The Romulan Empire and their citizens, the Romulans. Genetic brethren to the logic utilizing and emotion suppressing Vulcans, Romulans share only the use of logic with their Vulcan brothers, but it’s not the logic of scientific rationalization or enlightenment, but rather the cold calculating and political power seeking kind. The kind of cold logic Commander Acastus, soon to be Romulan Senator Acastus, would have been more careful to be cognizant of before resigning his commission and taking his seat in The Senate where one’s enemies, unlike in the military where they are always before you in battle, are at your ear as a friend with smiles brandishing a knife, out of sight, moments from being plunged between your shoulder blades.
Acastus, deemed a threat by the Romulan Praetor is sent on one final mission, as a boon by The Praetor, to destroy his former first officer, friend and “honored brother” (think best-man) at his wedding, Ceraph, who is a renegade and a member of “The Unification Sect,” and thus enemy of the empire for daring “to believe something other than the lies we had been told.” The ship Acastus captains is the last line of The Dreadnaught warships. While Acastus is seeming to get the chance to redeem himself, as he always was held back in The Romulan hierarchy because of his association with Ceraph before Ceraph went renegade, he is actually walking into a trap. He is a threat The Praetor needs to eliminate, but not obviously by his own hand. Turns out that Acastus, after destroying Ceraph, is intended to be the prey of a new Romulan “ghost ship” and its disruptor weapons…
Edgington’s story is pretty much, and in reality is overall, a pretty basic plot of court and battlefield intrigue that has a straightforward plot that is easily discernable and devoid of the twists and turns that one might expect of the devious Romulan politics, which are based, in theme, on the court politics and intrigues of The Roman Emperors and Senators of history. It’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen to Acastus, as the machinations of The Praetor come to fruition, and the tale isn’t really meant to be a deep one full of mystery. It is meant to be a story about the first test run of the new Romulan Warbird Class Starship, and The Romulans' first forays into cloaking device technology.
Unfortunately, being a tale about new technology and the ever interesting cloaking device technology of the Star Trek mythos, while Wagner Reis’ pencils are pretty sharp and give us some detailed and interesting interpretations of Romulan dress and Romulus itself, complete with the planet’s inhabitant’s sculpture, cityscapes, space docks, and starship bridges, we really don’t get many clear shots of the ships in any detail from the exterior. While we can see Acastus’ ship in total in a few shots, for the most part it is only partially rendered in panels, and we don’t really get one of the new Warbird that’s very discernable at all, except for in one panel. The battle at the end between the ships would have been much more engaging if more space was used to show the ships in total or more clearly. This most likely isn’t completely the fault of Reis though. He was obviously working with a tight page count.
Overall, while Star Trek Alien Spotllight: Romulans doesn’t measure up to some of IDW’s other Star Trek books, it’s a pretty interesting one that will appeal to Trek fans as it provides a back-story for the inaugural flight of the first Romulan ship equipped with disruptors and a cloaking device. It also provides some information as to the temperament, politics and deviousness of the Romulan Imperial Structure, something fans are probably already aware of, but still interesting to watch play out, even if in a non-mysterious way from a plot development standpoint.