Byrne returns to the Star Trek universe in an entirely unexpected way-for this annual, he has created a completely original Star Trek story that plays out like a "lost episode," using a uniquely constructed photomontage to create an entirely new story. "Strange New Worlds" serves as a direct sequel to the fan-favorite episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which aired as the third episode of Star Trek's first season in 1966.StarTrek.com also released the above cover. Here's a sample page IDW have put out as well:
"There was a visual richness to that second pilot that really drew me in," said writer/artist John Byrne, "and since I have long wanted to experiment with something like this project, that episode seemed the perfect choice for a sequel."
Years ago, James Kirk saved his ship, but the price was the life of his oldest friend in Starfleet-or was it? Fans will see Gary Mitchell's story take a surprising turn in this story. But the uniqueness of this project does not end with the plotline; rather, it continues with the photomontage art form that Byrne has chosen to tell this original story. Star Trek photonovels, in which a book was created by adapting a film or television episode using actual film stills in place of traditional artwork, with narrative text and dialogue presented in word balloons, were popular in the late 1970s. But this is where the past becomes the future-Byrne didn't just insert film stills, he created them. In order to tell a new Star Trek story in this "fumetti" style, he did much more than pluck existing images, instead compositing together multiple pieces of film stills and manipulating them to tell the exact story he wanted.
You can see a few more sample/work-in-progress pages from this comic on my previous report on the project. Byrne has also started work on a second photo-comic (not yet confirmed if it too will go to print). Here's the latest page he has previewed on his forums:
Stretching the idea a bit further he has also played with the idea of adding a newly created alien. This test image uses a render he created years ago, and doesn't have any more, but is an interesting look at his experimental process anyway: