Characters Appearing: ROM, Scanner, Seeker, Starshine II, Trapper
Issue(s): ROM #73, ROM #74, ROM #75
Brandy Clark lands on Galador, and the paradise she had in her head is not the reality she discovers.
We also get confirmation, if we needed it, that she is a complete psychopath. Her reaction to finding a world in disarray is to treat it as an attack on her personally; she even suggests that ROM lied to her about how great his planet was so that he could "have his way with me".
She is then attacked by a Spaceknight...
...and manages to defeat him by picking up a Horn of Heaven from a deceased Angel Elite (that's called "high concept", ladies and gentlemen).
Brandy then falls in with the human resistance on Galador...
...and we learn that after Galactus moved their planet, the Galadorians got worried that they weren't sufficiently protected, so they created a new generation of Spaceknights. But these Spaceknights let their power go to their head, and they took over and are now hunting down the last of the regular humans.
Brandy's zeal gets the rebels convinced to agree to attempt a major initiative, wherein the rebels assault the body storage facility where the Spaceknights' humanity is kept, and use their bodies as hostages.
That's about when ROM and his buddies arrive on Galador.
ROM wonders why Brandy is threatening to blow up his companions' bodies, but the new Spaceknights show their true colors immediately, first by killing a bunch of humans and then calling Brandy's bluff and destroying all of the bodies in the facility on the grounds that they don't want to go back to being human anyway.
ROM's group is offered a chance to join the new Spaceknights, but they refuse.
John Byrne inks issue #74, but it doesn't have the same synergy that Avengers annual #13 did.
The new Spaceknights are said to be stronger, and a lot is made of the fact that ROM is not willing to kill and how it also makes him less effective. His Neutralizer shuts down their armor completely, so he's not exactly helpless. ROM eventually gives up on his non-lethal ideals in any event.
I originally wanted to say that the new Spaceknights are less than inspired...
...but i've decided i actually like their simple, blocky designs. There's basically three types of Spaceknights: ROM, who is pretty blocky and simple himself...
...the rest of the first-wave Spaceknights (designed by Richard Konkle for ROM annual #2), who are relatively complex looking...
...and these guys, who are simplicity itself, but in some ways closer to ROM's design, and classic Ditko in any event.
The older Spaceknights' plan is to fight their way to the communication tower so they can call home the rest of the first wave Spaceknights. When Seeker asks if they'd bother to come home knowing that their bodies have been destroyed, ROM's response is pretty funny...
...but, of all people, tells them to stop moping and get fighting.
One more twist. The leader of the new Spaceknights, Lord Dominor, is not quite thrilled with his second-in-command Heatwave's decision to destroy all of the Spaceknights' humanity. And he's actually got his own body stored under his throne. By this point, all of the regular humans except Brandy have been killed, and Dominor makes ROM an offer that is probably the strangest ever made: let me kill you and i will sleep with your woman. You see, if Dominor kills ROM, the resistance will end, Dominor will still be the leader, and he can prevent Brandy from being killed, and also use her to re-populate Galador. The alternative is that Heatwave takes over and Brandy will be killed, which also ensures the end of ROM's planet. ROM nearly goes along with this scheme, and agrees to a staged duel with Dominor.
But in the end, all of the evil Spaceknights are killed. So, unfortunately, are the remaining good Spaceknights besides ROM...
...but meanwhile Brandy discovers the body of Terminator, the Spaceknight that stole half of ROM's humanity a while back.
And soon the rest of the wandering Spaceknights return home, and ROM is restored to his human form.
Since the Spaceknights are cyborgs, whenever they talk about their "humanity" i assume they mean whatever parts of their physical bodies that had to be scooped out so they'd fit in their armor, but ROM's humanity is depicted here as a glowing sphere.
The rest of the Spaceknights decide that they'd rather guard Galador from space, so they leave ROM alone on the planet. Alone with his psychopathic stalker girlfriend.
I guess after 200 years as a cyborg, you take what you can get.
This was a decent end. It's amazing that a series based on a toy (if you can even call it a toy) that quickly faded into obscurity managed to last 75 issues. The key to its success was its integration into the Marvel Universe. Mantlo touched every corner of the MU, and several titles reciprocated. And that made what was a fairly weak book creatively a lasting institution, and one that is remembered fondly today. Ironically, i thought the final issues of this series, which took place away from the core Marvel Universe, were some of its best.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Brandy was transferred to Galador by the Beyonder in ROM #72. ROM and the other first-generation Spaceknights teleport in from Shi'ar territory and ROM annual #4 towards the end of ROM #73.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Marvel had a couple of hit series based on toys that lasted past the actual toys popularity - G.I. JOE & Transformers for example.
Posted by: clyde | May 4, 2014 5:00 PM
Ditko inked by Sinnott is fantastic.
Posted by: George Gordon | October 5, 2014 7:23 PM
I'm a little surprised that nobody has mentioned that the end of part two is a really clear homage to the end of Apocalypse Now and leads into an issue titled 'The End'!
These issues really threw me. From what I'd read of Rom it was pretty decent but nothing special, but the intensity of these last few issues really shocked me. I just wasn't expecting it to end like this. It's a really great ending to the series and I'm glad it got one.
I also like how this lines up with the annual, with ROM dealing with a rebel at the same time as Brandy is falling in with a rebellion. It ties together the themes of the post Wraith War issues well, with everything here being thematically forshadowed with Space Knights going mad with power, the death and rebirth of civilisations, the price of war and so on. It all seemed fairly aimless on first read and seeing everything come together in a big epic finale is really nice.
I'm also really glad that Brandy's inclusion implies that people with any Galadorian heritage are considered Galadorian and avoiding awkward incest implications.
Posted by: Benway | March 27, 2016 7:14 PM
It looks to me like this story made an impression on John Byrne, too. From fnord's description, I think it influenced Byrne's 1988 Phantom Zone villains story from ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #444 (drawn by Jerry Ordway) and SUPERMAN (1986 series) #22. Superman has been summoned to help the few lone survivors on a duplicate Earth which has had its population mostly wiped out by Phantom Zoners. The survivors all perish during or as a result of the final battle, but Superman succeeds in removing the villains' powers and executes them.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 27, 2016 8:53 PM
Just to be clear, ROM didn't kill any of the villains- they died as a result of their own actions.
Posted by: Michael | March 27, 2016 9:19 PM
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 29, 2016 8:58 PM
Too bad Byrne didn't ink #75 as well!
Luke, you mentioned one of my favorite issues of AoS. Fnord, I hope you picked up this book too. Superman #22 has the actual act of murdering the erzatz Kryptonians, but #444 has the setup, excellently rendered by Jerry Ordway.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | April 13, 2016 11:55 PM
Comments are now closed.
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