Issue(s): ROM #65, ROM #66
Still, it's cool to have them all here and know they participated in this epic battle against the Dire Wraiths.
While the heroes are able to rescue ROM, who we saw last issue was being attacked by a group of Wraiths that turn out to be "every Wraith on Earth" (except the one in FF #277, i guess)...
Here's a different picture that is only worth seeing full-screen.
...the real resolution to the war happens in space, when ROM powers Forge's Neutralizer-amplifier, which is used to repel the Wraith's planet.
All of this is done over Henry Gyrich's spittle-flecked protests and accusations.
It's said that once the sorcery of Wraithworld was negated, the planet could no longer exist, and so it is "gone", and so are the sorcerous powers of all the Dire Wraiths.
In other news, Rick Jones has decided that he's in love with Brandy Clark.
P. Craig Russell is inking Ditko on issue #65 again, and it's not really helping. The crazier stuff looks cool, but you just have to look at the depictions of all the other heroes to see where the art kinda fails. Here's a nice classic looking Ditko panel, though.
Stephen Leialoha takes over the inks for issue #66, which deals with the aftermath of the Wraith War. The Wraiths are powerless, but the heroes aren't sure what to do with them.
ROM settles things by banishing them all to Limbo, clearly! Although i imagine that SHIELD managed to sneak off with a few for study.
There's a nice dialogue-free scene after the Wraiths are gone where ROM sort of takes in the idea that his war is over, and gets ready to say goodbye to his supporting cast.
He's decided to return home to head back into space.
Brandy, Rick, and Cindy decide that they're going to stick together like a de facto family. The idea that Rick and Brandy have found some sort of affinity is a bit sudden.
Oh, and Gyrich is still a nut, ranting like a super-villain.
I'm always a sucker for a downtime issue, and while this isn't great and wastes a lot of space on retrospection, it's a fitting end to the 5+ year storyline in this series. But it's not an end to the series itself, which will last another 10 issues or so even after the major Dire Wraith menace is ended.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: There were bound to be continuity challenges with this many heroes appearing, but there are some real doozies here. The first is Moondragon, who is wearing her old costume, including the headband that is supposed to limit her power. Defenders #142, which takes place after Moondragon's headband falls off and after she's changed costumes, makes a reference to the events leading up to these issues; there's no way Defenders #142 can take place after this. So we just have to assume that Moondragon's new costume was in the wash and she wore the headband because it's a matching set. An odder concern is the Black Knight, riding Aragorn, the winged-horse that the Valkyrie appropriated from him way back in 1973. I guess when the Avengers and Defenders bumped into each other on the way to this battle, the Knight asked if he could ride his old horse for old time's sake. He's also wearing an archaic version of his helmet but that's going to have to be another fashion choice. Captain Britain is also wearing a costume he hasn't worn since 1982; see the Considerations for Marvel Super Heroes #377-383 regarding his appearance. Wolverine and Kitty Pryde (i mean, i guess that lady in the purple shirt is Kitty) are back with the X-Men, placing this after their return in Uncanny X-Men #192. Professor X is here, meaning this probably takes place during those "some months" before Xavier is attacked at the end of issue #192, although it's worth noting he is in a wheelchair here. Captain America, the Black Knight, and the Vision and the Scarlet Witch all being with the Avengers puts this between Avengers #254-255. See Michael's note below regarding Captain Marvel. My way of rationalizing her appearance is that she was on her way out of our solar system when she saw the sun start blacking out, and she raced back to Earth to help out, and then zipped back into space again before the other Avengers could let her know that the Vision had sent her on a wild goose chase. Maybe remnants of the Wraith World's presence warped gravity in a way that allowed her to travel faster. Ridiculous, of course, but i like it a little better than having her come back to Earth during Avengers #255 after she'd already learned that her mission was a fake one and then leaving again anyway.
"Bye, guys. I'd better hurry back to Sanctuary II before the Vision gets mad!"
"Captain Marvel, waaaaiiiit....!"
Moving on, we know Beta Ray Bill appears here between panels of Thor #354. I have no guesses regarding the characters in the background of the international heroes panel (it's Arabian Night, Le Peregrine (whose name is apparently not French; it seems to mean "The Migratory"), Shamrock, Captain Britain, American Eagle, and Blitzkrieg in the front).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (16): show
The Avengers' appearance is a real problem. Monica Rambeau, the Black Knight and Hercules are all with the Avengers. This is difficult to squeeze in. The Black Knight doesn't rejoin the Avengers until Avengers 254- he even comments on how he hasn't seen Hercules since Avengers 100. The problem is that Monica is out in space in between Avengers 253 and Avengers 259. And in Avengers 256, the Avengers can't contact the FF because of the events of FF 278. So we have to assume that sometime during Avengers 255, Monica briefly returned to Earth and then went back to Sanctuary for some reason. It's a stretch but there's really no other explanation.
Posted by: Michael | March 12, 2012 11:24 PM
Is it possible that the Black Knight has not technically joined the Avengers at this point? Although he is drawn with them several times, he may not actually be a member (at least not anymore than Beta Ray Bill is), placing this sometime between Dr Strange 69 and Avengers 253/254. The Black Knight is, after all, riding Aragorn instead of the Valkyrie which implies he must have contacted the Defenders. Maybe it was just to visit the horse, but then the call went out so the Black Knight just took the horse and rode off, while Valkyrie stayed with the Defenders. This seems to open things up so that Captain Marvel can be with the Avengers, placing this before Avengers 252. The Black Knights comments on Hercules might just mean he never saw him in the huge mess of people (or if it did, it never registered with him because of all the chaos). I don't know if that works with all the facts as I have none of the comics with me.
Posted by: Chris | September 18, 2012 10:15 PM
The problem is that in one of the panels that fnord posted (it's the one that says click to enlarge for nitpicky continuity analysis) Dane and Herc seem to be right on top of each other. And in Avengers 254 Herc doesn't even recognize Dane since he hasn't seen him in so long.
Posted by: Michael | September 18, 2012 11:21 PM
The embiggen picture shows the Black Knight behind Hercules in perspective, and the shadows of the Dire Wraiths can be interpreted to be between them. In the chaos of combat, it is enough reasonable doubt to say he doesn't register Hercules.
Obviously, this is not the attention at the time of publication, but since we are looking for ease of continuity placement, why not take advantage?
Yes, FNORD's commentary is humurous, but comics is serious business!
Posted by: Chris | September 19, 2012 12:53 AM
Chris, i think your suggested placement has potential, but here's my problems with it (based on a review of the issues you didn't have on hand):
The Black Knight explicitly states in DRSTR #69 that his intention is to show up at the Avengers' doorstep. BK and Strange are taking a boat across the Atlantic from England. The Defenders are based in the Rocky Mountains. It wouldn't just be a casual detour for him to make a pit stop at Warren's place.
The Vision was unprepared for the Black Knight's arrival at the mansion in Avengers #252, which would be less likely (although not impossible) if he fought alongside them recently. And since the BK's intentions are clear, it seems unlikely that he wouldn't mention his hope of rejoining the team. And where did he go after that battle? Why not go back to the mansion with the others? BK says it's "been a long time" and notes some remodeling while he's walking up the path to the Mansion in A #252.
Then there's the Black Knight/Hercules recognition problem as Michael pointed out. And the important point is that it's two-way: Herc doesn't recognize BK, and BK says they only had "one meeting" with a footnote to A #100.
Aaaand i went through all that admittedly circumstantial evidence but i just found the clincher, which is the Black Knight saying in A #254 that he "just returned to the States this morning".
It's all surmountable, but it's a question of whether you'd prefer all those little incongruities vs. the big one of Captain Marvel's appearance. And i guess i'm going to go with the idea that if someone's making a detour, it's the lady that can travel at lightspeed.
That said, if Marvel published an Untold Tale where the Black Knight, upset over the loss of Valinor, traveled to New Mexico and tried to take back Aragorn from Valkyrie, i wouldn't complain too much. Your placement is a good alternative if you can't stand the idea of Captain Marvel showing up here midway through her flight to deep space.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 19, 2012 10:47 AM
And this is totally unintentional and wouldn't be a factor for placement, but i kind of like this occurring after the Vision's world-takeover attempt as it might help explain why Gyrich is so unhinged.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 19, 2012 11:04 AM
I think it's easier to reconcile minor continuity errors than big ones, but it's your chronology, not mine. But if I really want to be picky I could point out that Hercules is wearing his old costume that was destroyed by the Blood Brothers... ;)
Anyway, it's been almost 30 years, but this issue is special to me. I had begun buying comics regularly only in 1983 with GI Joe, and began buying superhero comics with Secret Wars in 1984. It was only in 1985 when I could truly say I was buying comics, and this was my only issue of ROM. I greatly enjoy this site because of nostalgia and because from your reviews, it seems we had similar tastes in comics. Stern's Avengers run is about to explode into complete awesomeness. Shooter is EiC for about another year and a half, and then he's booted out and the slow decline will begin.
Posted by: Chris | September 20, 2012 1:57 AM
Nothing wrong with picky - this whole site is picky! And Herc's costume is a real concern that i hadn't noticed. This issue is full of art/costume errors, but i've tried to account for them or provide in-story explanations, and it's therefore difficult to dismiss Herc's since it's a prominent (and fun) detail in the surrounding Avengers issues.
So now i have to find a way to rationalize the Black Knight's "The last time I fought alongside..." and "just returned to the States this morning" statements.
Anyone want to talk me off the ledge before i start shifting comics around?
Posted by: fnord12 | September 20, 2012 9:04 AM
If you want to go by costumes, Wonder Man is also wearing his pre-Avengers 253 costume. However, in this case, I would go by dialogue rather thsn costumes. There's so MANY characters wearing the wrong costume, it's simpler just to assume art error. The entire point of Dane's scenes in Avengers 252-254 is that this is the first time he's seen the Avengers in a long time.
Posted by: Michael | September 20, 2012 11:19 PM
How about if some of the characters in the wrong costumes are actually (male) Wraiths? Any chance of that? Or females that didn't have to kill the originals to take their forms. That's my no-prize bid.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | September 21, 2012 12:05 AM
Walter, i wouldn't go with a solution that mucks with the intention on which characters actually participated in the story unless absolutely necessary (it was done, essentially, for Nighthawk in Contest of Champions, so it's not that out of bounds).
I don't really love just going with "art error", either. In many other examples both I and the MCP have accommodated for that sort of thing. But in this case no matter where we go something's going to be off. So far i'm just going to leave this here out of inertia, but Hercules' costume is going to bug me. Thanks a lot, Chris!
Posted by: fnord12 | September 22, 2012 12:06 AM
Oh, I was being mostly facetious, though there is precedent for this sort of thing in the recon that made the Silver Surfer who attended Captain Mar-Vell's death a Skrull. And in a story about shapechangers there's a little plausibility to it. But no, I don't recommend it seriously, just an amusing thought.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | September 22, 2012 4:37 AM
Speaking of wrong costumes, Colossus switches from his original costume (with the jutting shoulders & the yellow chest area) in the fight scenes to his all-red post-Secret-War JRJR circus-strongman look in the final panel.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | October 10, 2013 8:42 PM
It's clear that Shooter never gave Ditko instructions on how big the Scarlet Witch's rack was supposed to be...or is it Kitty trying on a new outfit?
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | April 16, 2015 12:30 PM
I feel like the scene of ROM going out into space should be right next to any panel with a lot of heroes to show how good Ditko was with the space scene and exactly how bad his heroes are, which is pretty damn bad.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 25, 2015 8:51 AM
Spider-man must have felt bad about not getting to show up for this big fight when every other hero including the likes of Blitzkrieg and the Arabian Knight were fit to be called in. (And I know its just due to Ditko)
Posted by: kveto | May 25, 2015 5:23 PM
It looks to me like it was possible the series wouldn't continue after #66, so Mantlo wrote the issue as a series conclusion and gave Rick, Brandy and Cindy an ending.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 5, 2017 1:53 PM
More nightmare fuel: Beta Ray Bill is seen using Mjolnir throughout.
We're definitely gonna write that off as an artist error, yeah?
Seemingly it would have to take place between Thor #337-338 to maintain that idea (and the only bonus of that would be it also explains why Thor is absent) but it definitely can't be the case with regards to absolutely everyone else's continuity. It's clearly just the case Mantlo and/or Ditko weren't doing good reference work for a lot of the stuff. They maybe didn't even know what was going on in Thor, it seems they were basing his inclusion here on either just seeing his first appearance or only having heard about the character being described as "the new Thor" (hence him apparently having replaced Thor here and even being randomly grouped in with the Avengers too). Plus Thor #337 was published almost two years before this. It can't be an intentional attempt to fit it into a really specific place in continuity.
Posted by: AF | June 2, 2017 11:15 AM
He's shown using the right hammer on the cover.
Posted by: AF | June 2, 2017 11:17 AM
And see the notes in Thor #354.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 2, 2017 12:11 PM
It doesn't explain him using Mjolnir here though (and Thor is using Mjolnir when he visits Hel in that issue, so it can't be reasoned he ever got his hands on Mjolnir for this one adventure).
Posted by: AF | June 2, 2017 12:46 PM
I'm just confirming that it'll have to be treated as an art error, since Bill's explicit placement from Thor #354 would have to to take precedence.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 2, 2017 1:25 PM
Kinda odd that Hawk-eye, of all people, seems to want to execute the Dire Wraiths.
Posted by: kveto | April 22, 2018 7:30 AM
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