Issue(s): ROM #5
I've seen dismissive comparisons between ROM and the Silver Surfer and other than the very superficial "silver guy from space", i didn't see the connection. But it's a little clearer now. ROM gives up his humanity to save his planet from a threat and leaves behind the girl he loves as he sails off into space. I was pretty surprised to learn about this Ray-Na, since she doesn't figure into later stories at all once the ROM/Brandy romance gets going.
We'll learn in a back-up in issue #14 that she actually died 200 years ago, which i guess doesn't have to be a contradiction of the scene above.
Meanwhile, the Dire Wraiths from Project Safeguard show up to pick up Firefall. They use what is pretty clearly one of the Wizard's anti-gravity discs.
Poor Archie Stryker.
The Wraiths also release some special dogs to hunt ROM (who, it turns out, wasn't far from the site of the fight with Firefall).
The rest of the issue has ROM and his friends taking refuge in an old house. The house, however, turns out to be haunted by a demon that Dr. Strange banished to Limbo long ago. It says that the Dire Wraiths more recently returned it to Earth when they were trying to free their brethren from Limbo.
The house tries to enter into an alliance with ROM, but he refuses and re-banishes it to Limbo with his Neutralizer.
Since issue #2 it's been pretty clear that this series takes place in the Marvel universe, thanks to the presence of SHIELD. But Jack Kirby included SHIELD agents in his Eternals run while ignoring the rest of Marvel's characters. With this issue, it's confirmed that ROM really is part of the Marvel universe. Certainly not in the way you'd expect though. An appearance by Spider-Man in issue #3 would have been more the standard approach. This is cooler, though. You can definitely win points with me by referring back to old Strange Tales stories.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: ROM, Brandy, and Steve are on the run from the end of issue #4 through issue #6, so the issues should be placed not too far apart.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showArtie Packer, Firefall (Archie Stryker), House of Shadows, ROM, SHIELD Agent Kraller (Dire Wraith), Sister Sweet (Dire Wraith), Starshine II, Steve Jackson
As a kid who got hooked on comics by Rom, when I started reading Engelhart's Silver Surfer in the '80s the hero reminded me very much of Rom. Idealistic, but powerful enough that killing would be all too easy, capable of inspirational speechifying but also a bit of self-pity.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 3, 2013 10:59 PM
Rom was second only to the FF to childhood me. Very Silver Surferish but at the same time, much more willing to resort to nonlethal force. He felt deep but not as preachy to me, very much a reluctant warrior doing a necessary job, helping rid Marvel of Dire Wraiths.
Posted by: Jay Johnson | April 10, 2014 8:28 AM
I agree with you Jay. I have more valuable comics in my collection, but I will hold on to my Rom's over anybody else. I know looking back it wasn't the most sophisticated stuff. But I read these as they came out and to a 8 year old mind they grabbed me. Rom's noble purpose and sacrifice instilled in me an ideal to live up to. I know you can't read this Mr. Mantlo, but thank you.
Posted by: Martin Dent | April 11, 2014 9:24 AM
Buscema lips? I just clicked this link to read about something different. I have been sort of gathering together the biggest artist fingerprints bit by bit.
Kirby Crackles, Kane Nostrils, Byrne Smirks, Buscema lips? Though I always thought Buscema's wide open snarling mouths have been really noticable too, still appearing when he takes over Simonson's Thor art duties.
Posted by: david banes | April 16, 2014 3:21 AM
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