New Comics: ROM

Everyone’s favorite Spaceknight (sorry, Venom) didn’t make an appearance at San Diego Comic Con’s Guardians of the Galaxy panel this past weekend, but he does make his long-awaited return to the comic book shelves this week, courtesy of Christos Gage, Chris Ryall, and David Messina. IDW adds to their stable of cult classic toy licenses with Rom #1, joining successful properties G.I. Joe and Transformers, as well as the other new 2016 arrivals, Micronauts and Action Man.

As cool as Parker Brothers’ Rom toy was, it wasn’t overly successful, especially compared to Hasbro’s 80’s goldmines, the aforementioned Transformers and G.I. Joe. What was successful, however, was Marvel’s Rom comic book series, originally created as marketing support for the toyline. Even after Parker Brothers discontinued production of the toys, the Galadorian spaceknight continued to traverse the galaxy, hunting down those insidious Dire Wraiths wherever they might be lurking.

This first issue begins with Rom’s dramatic arrival on Earth, a reprint of the eleven-page prelude that was released as part of this year’s Free Comic Book Day. The good news for readers unfamiliar with his story is that we seem to be opening with a re-telling of that original narrative. Rom, the built-for-space cyborg, hunts down and executes the black magick-wielding Dire Wraiths who hide among us, having used their shapechanging abilities to replace humans. So, when Rom neutralizes a crowd of alien beasties, it looks like he’s mowing down all of your neighbors. That’s not going to go over well on social media. And when you look like this, it’s hard to remain inconspicuous…

The better news — especially if you love seeing the toys you played with as a kid come to life on the comic book page — is that this series looks to expand Rom’s tale into unprecedented directions. With all of this Marvel Nowness, DC Rebirthing, and even a Valiant attempt at a universal reboot, IDW wasn’t about to get left out in the cold. Revolution is coming, and the final page twist at the end of Rom #1 opens the door for a helluva crossover.

One place we probably won’t see a Rom crossover, though, is on the big screen. As much as director James Gunn would love to have featured the Spaceknight in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Marvel lost control of the character shortly after Hasbro bought Parker Brothers in 1991. There was some speculation, prior to SDCC, that the “big news” being revealed at the Guardians panel would be Rom-related. Instead, attendees got Kurt Russell, and insight into the sexual prowess of Ego, The Living Planet. We still have lots of questions, Marvel. Howsabout letting the rest of the world see that trailer now?

All-New All-Different Marvel, Week 43
Speaking of SDCC revelations, Marvel made it official last weekend that Captain Marvel will be portrayed by Oscar-winner Brie Larson. Then, a few days later, Marvel officially gave the comic book version of Captain Marvel the go-ahead to arrest Tony Stark in Civil War II #4. Up until now, the series has been an intriguing twist-laden moral dilemma with not-so-slightly veiled commentary on governement monitoring and law enforcement profiling. But, you know, we want to see superheroes punch each other already. Sides are officially drawn in this issue, and fists are about to fly.

DC Rebirth – Week 10
The Beatles claimed to be “bigger than Jesus.” Oasis called themselves “Rock ‘n’ Roll Stars” on the opening track of their first album. And now Seeley and Fernandez prove themselves to be among the blaspheming and the bold: they named the first chapter of Nightwing “Better Than Batman.” As far as Rebirth is concerned, they’re absolutely right. The Nightwing Rebirth was a prologue that hinted at some great storytelling, and it’s awesome to see the follow-through. The pacing of Seeley’s story is amazing. The title sequence has colorful action panels, and every character interaction Nightwing has, whether it be with the Parliament of Owls or the Batfam, makes him more interesting and endearing. The story is so engrossing that when Raptor undermines the confidence Nightwing’s been wielding the whole book, I was feeling the disbelief that the character must be feeling. And I’m dead sober. If the point of Rebirth was to get new readers interested in DC characters, then this book is killing the game. I want Nightwing underoos! – tyrannoflores

July 20 | New Release Highlights | August 3