IDW strikes again with another nostalgic comic from my childhood, and I like it. ROM The Space Knight was an action figure introduced by Parker Bros in 1978. This unmistakable space toy had all the beeps and boops, lights and sounds that could annoy parents but sparkle the imagination of children for hours. To coincide with the toy release, Marvel produced the ROM Spaceknight comic books. In this rare case the comic book actually lasted longer than the toy did going 75 issues and included some fantastic writing and art by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.
IDW recently relaunched Micronauts (another 70’s toy line and Marvel comic) and they are using the same template in bringing ROM to the 21st Century in this ongoing series. We got a little taste of ROM with his Free Comic Book Day introductory #0 issue which is reprinted in the beginning of this over-sized issue #1. His design is a bit updated, leaving the beloved mitten hands behind but ROM’s Analyzer and Neutralizer weapons make a triumphant return. ROM’s adversaries, the Dire Wraiths are back as well. These shape shifting aliens have infiltrated Earth and have begun to take over the planet, one human at a time. The human side of the story centers around Camilla Byers, a police office in Pismo Beach and one of the few survivors of ROM’s first encounter with Dire Wraiths on Earth. We find Camilla’s entire home town has been taken over in her absence. ROM, of course, steps in again and saves the day, at least for now, since the Dire Wraiths have infiltrated the US Military. There is also a nice little surprise revel on the last page so don’t go sneaking a peak!
Co-writer Chris Ryall handles the first letter page with a great introduction and lets us know that he was a ROM fan back in the day. So we can relax and know that the relaunch is in the hands of a real fan. And it shows. Good story and a great first issue. David Messina’s art works great for the titular character, looks polished and professional with a great style. David’s colouring, assisted by Michele Pasta help bring a depth to the art that was just not possible with printing techniques back in the 70’s.
As was written on the original toy’s packaging and on the first page of the new ROM #1 … “Here, on a bright new horizon, stands a figure of modern electronic technology. He is Rom – a creation with powers you can hardly imagine. Through the magic of advanced circuitry, Rom’s electronic features and accessories create striking effects in sound and light. Sparked by these innovations, a child’s imagination will soar.” Well, this version from IDW is definitely pulling all the right nostalgia strings for me and has been on my pull list since the very first mention the series was on its way.
Issue: ROM #1 | Publisher: IDW
Writers: Christos Gage & Chris Ryall | Artists: David Messina & Michele Pasta