Review: ROM #1

(IDW 2016)

Plot and Script by Christos Gage and Chris Ryall

Pencils and Colors by David Messina

Inks by Michele Pasta

Letters by Shawn Lee

ROM and I go way back.  I was one of the first Marvel characters that I don’t remember interacting with mainstream characters.  No Spider-Man/Rom team up.  ROM was a character that lived in his own universe.(Even though he was in Marvel’s.) When he teamed up with other characters, at least in my (at the time) one ROM comic collection, it was with relative unknowns like Ursa Major.

Now IDW has released the long-awaited ROM reboot.  The Space Knights ride again, this time with Chris Ryall and Christos Gage at the helm.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 10.24.38 AMFrom what I can recall, this is pretty close to what was happening in the original first issue of ROM.  There is a scourge in the universe called the “Dire Wraiths” who infest a planet and their inhabitants.  Then there are the Solstar Knights, of which ROM is the first, sworn enemies of the wraiths, who have scrubbed the galaxy mostly clean of wraithdom.  In ROM #1 we have ROM coming to Earth for the first time, chasing the wraiths and finding that the planet has largely been overcome already. 

It’s a story that we’ve seen before in sci-fi and comics, the Earth-is-infested theme, but is still enjoyable.  Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) and Chris Ryall (Judge Dredd, everything IDW) have a firm handle on this reboot, and they’ve done it in the best way, by starting from the original roots of the character and jumping off from that point.  Since they’ve firmly sunk into the ROM story of the past, it makes whatever comes next feel like an easier evolution.  And the end of this issue, the reveal they do there…is so great and so totally worth the journey through a story which you might feel you already know.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.05.59 AMThe art team for this book is great.  David Messina (The Bounce) is on pencils and colors, and he brings his own style to it.  The design of ROM himself is pretty close to the original with a few relevant adaptations as far as technology and the way it is currently being represented in the visual medium.   Let’s face it, Jon Favreau really changed the way we look at “people interacting with computers” in the first Iron Man film, and although it isn’t even close to that, I still feel that visually there is some connection.  I really liked the change from the original when it comes to the weaponry that ROM carries.  Instead of a clunky neutralizer gun/hammer thing it’s a piece of tech that sort of morphs out of his arm.

The wraiths are really sinister looking, kind of bio-mechanical in their design, and able to hide in plain sight, which makes them a terrifying opponent.  Their human “masks” are just as scary.

Inks are by Michele Pasta and compliment Messina’s pencils beautifully.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.05.36 AMThe ROM reboot is up and running with an all-star team.  The Dire Wraiths may have a hold on Earth for now, but with Ryall and Gage running the show, you can be sure they’re in for a rude awakening…and possibly…a team up?  You’ll have to buy it to find out, but this creative team has set up ROM to be a hero for 21st century comics, while catching at my nearer to middle age nostalgia.

Brad-profilepicBrad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  He is married and has three kids and a dog, all who put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.

Twitter – brad@comicwasteland

https://wordbloonillustration.wordpress.com/

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