ROM #2 Review

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ROM #2

Review by Paul Bowler

ROM’s arrival on Earth has left the Dire Wraiths reeling, now in ROM #2 the Space Knight must contend with an entire town overrun with Dire Wraiths, but eradicating his ancient enemies isn’t going be easy. These Wraiths are unlike anything ROM has encountered before, but how did they get this way, and what is the secret of their newfound power? ROM faces the shocking truth as he confronts the insidious might of the Dire Wraiths in this thrill packed lead in to next months Revolution event from IDW Publishing!

ROM #2 quickly builds on the events of the series’ premier issue, where ROM, warrior of the galactic Solstar Order, made his dramatic arrival on Earth – which now becomes the new battleground in his 200 year war against his ancient enemies: the Dire Wraiths! Earthfall Part 2 finds ROM and his new found ally Darby Mason, the military soldier currently dealing with PTSD who was on leave visiting her family, taking refuge in the Mason household after discovering her home town in California has been overrun by the Dire Wraiths – evil shape-changing aliens that can assimilate and assume human and other organic identities.

The plot and script by Chris Ryall and Christos Gage skilfully focuses on the growing bond between Darby Mason and ROM, as the Space Knight attempts to help Darby come to terms with the shock of finding out that her whole family had been killed and replaced by Dire Wraiths. We also begin to understand how the dark powers of the Dire Wraiths can undermine societies and tear communities apart from within. ROM desperately needs an ally like Darby Mason to help him adapt to this uncanny new world and its customs, someone who he can trust above all else, but she has an inner struggle of her own to contend with…

Rom #2 Cover A

This ROM revival has been a long time coming, but now it’s finally here at last! IDW and Hasbro have really delivered the goods with this new ongoing monthly series, its new in so many ways, yet still entirely faithful to the original, and the creative teams unwavering dedication and respect for ROM and the characters enduring legacy shines through on every page.

ROM #2 features gorgeous artwork to match the action packed storyline. With pencils and colors by David Messina, together with inks by Michele Pasta, and color Assists by Alessandra Alexakis, this issue is a veritable roller coaster ride of emotions, drama, and big-action set-pieces. Messina and Pasta excel here as the full extent of the Dire Wraith infestation in Darby’s hometown is spectacularly realized, and it goes far deeper than we could’ve ever suspected. We also become privy to other Wraith castes and their special abilities, and in an interesting spin on the Space Knights abilities and technology, we also get to see the “classic” version of ROM’s Nutralizer in action! The airborne sequences are very exciting, but for me the standout moment this issue was the quiet thoughtful scene between ROM and Darby in a cave where the Space Knight gives a moving account of what happened on his own world when the Dire Wraiths invaded. It’s a powerful scene, one that is sure to strike a cord with long-tem fans, and it is here that Messina’s colors and Alexakis’ color assists lavish every panel with rich tones and shades that match the emotional beats of the story perfectly.

This is another issue filled with excitement, mystery and intrigue on all sides. Indeed, we continue to see how the influence of EDC agents, like Dave Dubosky – who is now also a Dire Wraith – and others like him, have managed to infiltrate the corridors of power, even to the extent of getting under the radar of the elite strike force: G.I.Jo, to manipulate events to deal with ROM. It gives us a good idea of how ROM’s role in IDW Publishing’s forthcoming REVOLOUTION brand-wide event will bring ROM, the Transformers, G.I. Jo, the Micronauts, and M.A.S.K, together and finally reinvent them in a one cohesive, shared universe.

The issue builds towards a nerve jangling cliff-hanger as when we catch up with Police officer Camilla Byers, who was wounded by a Wraith during ROM’s initial skirmish on Earth with his shape-shifting enemies, and is now on the run from the grotesque Wraith Stalkers. However, even with his energy levels depleted and the military closing in, ROM charges to the rescue, but the Wraiths dark magiks are not to be underestimated…

Rom #2 maintains the high standard set by the impressive first issue and successfully elevates it to the next level. This issue is really good for fans and newcomers alike, as it reveals more details about ROM, his past, and the fight against the Dire Wraiths. With its intricately plotted and fast-paced storyline, excellent characterization, dynamic artwork, a wide choice of variant covers, and REVOLOUTION Prelude, ROM #2 is a brilliant all round issue. Chris Ryall, Christos Gage, David Messina, Michele Pasta, Alessandra Alexakis, and Shawn Lee have really done the character proud with this issue, it’s real a thrill to see ROM back at long last, and I can’t wait to see ROM become an integral part of the IDW universe during the REVOLOUTION event!

Publisher: IDW Publishing / Plot and script: Chris Ryall and Christos Gage

Pencils and colors: David Messina / Inks: Michele Pasta

Color Assists by: Alessandra Alexakis / Letters by: Shawn Lee

Green Arrow #5 Review

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Green Arrow #5

Review by Paul Bowler

Oliver and Diggle break into the Inferno, the gargantuan battleship bank of The Ninth Circle in Green Arrow #5 to rescue Black Canary from Dante – the leader of the secret society that has ruthlessly destroyed Oliver Queen’s life and reputation. Now, as the Emerald Archer uncovers the full extent of what his company has been secretly funding, desperate times will call for desperate measures as Green Arrow and Black Canary take on their former ally Shado and the forces of the Ninth Circle in the depths of the Inferno…

Green Arrow #5 throws Oliver Queen and Digle into the belly of the beast that is the floating fortress called the Inferno, as writer Benjamin Percy drives the intense narrative of this arc forwards at a break neck pace to deliver one of the most thrilling issue yet of DC Comics new Green Arrow Rebirth series.

From their stealth infiltration of the Inferno amidst raging seas while Dinah endures being Dante‘s captive, Oliver and Diggle quickly decide on their next move. The banter between Ollie and Diggle is especially well written, Percy excels at making scenes like this come alive on the page, and I like how Diggle acts of the voice of reason here. The issue quickly unfolds with a series of interconnected scenes as Oliver makes his way through the Inferno, eavesdropping on a clandestine meeting headed by his CEO, and one time friend, Cyrus Broderick, which gives us a shocking insight into exactly what Queen Industries has been involved with. Its powerful stuff, packed with revelations that drag the vile people trafficking activities of the Underground Men and the insidious global machinations of the Ninth Circle into the cold light of day for Oliver.

Green Arrow #5 COVER

The standout scene in the whole issue for me was the reunion between Oliver and Dinah. As ever, the characterization here is spot on, I love how Percy makes Black Canary sassy, vulnerable, and kick ass all at the same time. It’s also great how the Rebirth Green Arrow works on so many levels, there’s always lots of key moments for long term fans to pick up on, but not enough to bewilder or spoil the fun for new readers. There is also one big game changing plot twist that will makes you see this arc in completely unexpected new light, and serves to enlighten Oliver about how much the people he cares about believe in him.

Juan Ferreyra brings all the distinct qualities of his interior artwork and colors to the fore in Green Arrow #5 with some beautifully eye catching page layouts that effortlessly immerse you in the story. With sumptuous attention to detail lavished throughout, Ferreyra’s art complements the pace of Benjamin Percy’s story perfectly. The opening scenes on rough seas as Green Arrow and Diggle board the Inferno are stunning, and then we have the dark moody interiors, the layers of Shado’s and Emi’s treachery are peeled away as Black Canary waits her fate, the cavernous opulence of the vault, and a spectacular face-off between Green Arrow, Diggle, and Black Canary against Shado and the Ninth Circle in a blood boiling chamber of horrors.

Green Arrow #5 is another hugely impressive issue from Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra. The frenetic pace, strong characterization and wonderful artwork make this one of the best DC Rebirth titles around at the moment in my book. The Emerald Archer’s adventures have been elevated to a whole new level of greatness by Benjamin Percy, Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra, and Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT’s work on this series, and with Green Arrow #5’s action-packed closing moments and cliff-hanger to die for ending, it looks like we are going to be in for one hell of a ride!

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Benjamin Percy / Art and Color: Juan Ferreyra

Lettering: Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT / Cover: Juan Ferreyra

Variant Cover: Neal Adams and Bill Sienkiewicz with Jeromy Cox

Sci-Fi Jubilee My YouTube Channel No Man’s Sky: Exploring Ruins & Visiting a Space Station

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Sci-Fi Jubilee YouTube Channel

No Man’s Sky Exploring Ruins & Visiting a Space Station

Thanks everyone for checking out my YouTube channel! I’ve been enjoying the summer so not been playing PS4 games as much recently, but I did get No Man’s Sky as I liked the sound of it. I did find the game a little frustrating at first, as it kinda throws you in at the deep end with virtually no instructions whatsoever, but once I got into space and started exploring other planets I was hooked! You can play the game any way you like, in fact there’s so much to do its mind boggling, and I think the graphics, scenery, and views from space look stunning! In this No Man’s Sky video I explored an ancient ruin and then took a trip to a space station. I think it gives you an idea what the game is like. I hope you enjoy the video and please feel free to hit that like button and subscribe if you do. Cheers!

 

New Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer!

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New Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer

ROGUE ONE A

Check out the awesome Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer! I think it looks amazing, so many great scenes in this, and of course that bit at the end… So excited for this movie! This article is also Sci-Fi Jubilee’s 500th post, and can’t think of a better way to mark this blogging milestone than a new Star Wars trailer! Thank you everyone for all your amazing support for my blog!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives in theaters December 16, 2016.

 

 

All Star Batman #1 Review

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All Star Batman #1

Review by Paul Bowler

After the phenomenal success of his five year run on Batman, critically acclaimed writer Scott Snyder is back with an all new Batman series, one that will reimagine many of the Dark Knight’s Rogues Galley, along with legendary artist John Romita Jr. – the first of many of the industries best artists who Snyder will work with on the title – to bring us All Star Batman #1, and the first villain of the piece is Two Face!

Taking an extreme course of action Batman decides to bring Two Face to a secret location outside Gotham, but the scarred villain’s warped duality has devised a terrifying quandary for Batman. Bound together by circumstance and trapped on a highway to hell, with every two-bit assassin, gun for hire, and even ordinary citizens out to kill the Dark Knight, get ready for a Batman and Two Face story quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

In many respects, All Star Batman #1 makes it abundantly clear from the outset that it will redefine what we expect from the way Scott Snyder writes Batman. It’s still connected with the rest of the Rebirth DCU to a degree, but this is a decidedly fresh take on the Dark Knight. All Star Batman is tonally very different from anything Snyder has done before, both story wise and visually, and it all kicks off with My Own Worst Enemy: Part 1, drawn by John Romta Jr. and featuring a remarkably dark and terrifying new version of Two Face.

Following his recent corrosive attack on Gotham, Two Face has been captured, and now Batman is flying him to a special place outside the city in an attempt to counteract Dent’s increasing reign of power in the city. But what should have been a routine trip goes drastically awry when Two Face after manages to make a surprise proposition that reaches out to everyone in the state, in which he claims, that providing anyone can stop Batman from delivering him to his fate and free him, Two Face will offer up the hidden fortunes of three of Gotham’s biggest crime bosses, and his stake in this deadly game doubles down on everyone’s untold secrets just for good measure!

All Star Batman #1 COVER

From the everyday peace shattering opening, the issue unfolds in a flurry of flashbacks across minutes, hours, and weeks, all blended masterfully in with present events, where bombastic action and brooding drama infuse every scene. The insightful verbal and psychological sparing between Batman and Two Face during the early stages of their journey is marvellous, and Snyder presents us with a chilling examination of the flipside of darkness Two Face’s unflinching defaced gaze can see within all of us. We’ve had the big Joker and Riddler storylines, now Snyder brings us a story that provides Two Face’s moment in the spotlight, this is very much Two Face’s time, the heavy hitters in Gotham’s criminal fraternity are even rattled, and All Star Batman #1 will certainly gives us all cause to reconsider our preconceptions of this duplicitous villain because Scott Snyder makes Two Face more diabolical, manipulative, and ruthlessly cunning than you ever could’ve thought possible.

This story also gives Snyder a chance to write Batman in an entirely new and much more exuberant way. This is, after all, a Batman renewed after the events of Superheavy, there’s such a fresh sense of vibrancy and energy about Bruce now that really shines though here in spite of the incredibly dark themes this story tackles, and its clear that Snyder is having an absolute blast writing this reinvigorated Dark Knight outside of his usual Gotham environment.

Following his run on Superman and Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade, John Romta Jr. now brings his dynamic artistic style to All Star Batman, and the result together with Danny Miki’s exceptional inks and the striking palette of colors employed by Dean White, are truly astounding. To have Scott Snyder and John Romata Jr. working together on Batman is like a dream come true, John Romata Jr.‘s art syncs in perfect harmony with Snyder’s intricate storytelling and characterization, and the page layouts and settings both in and outside of Gotham are all beautifully realized.

Who’d have thought that such bright wide open spaces could feel as ominous and as threatening as Gotham’s dark streets? There’s also a slightly grittier, harder edge about John Romata Jr.’s work on All Star Batman which gives the Dark Knight a defined, yet somewhat more rugged appearance. The action is fast and furious too. Romata Jr’s Two Face is equally impressive, the contrast depicted between the healthy and scarred side of the character – both physically and mentally – is genuinely unsettling at times, and the depiction of his hideous looking scarred color blind eye and Two Face’s uncanny perception of the world is ghoulishly chilling.

Numerous standout moments in All Star Batman #1 will make you want to read this issue many times over just to immerse yourself in the thrilling experience this new Bat-Title has to offer. Those initial scenes in the diner blindside us with a false sense of ordinariness, but as the full scope of the narrative kicks in a surprising roll call of villains, a wonderfully moody scene between Gordon, Batman, and new sidekick Duke Thomas, there’s also an iconic horror themed addition to Batman’s arsenal that is simply brilliant, and the powerfully staged exchanges between Two Face and Batman all collectively add up to make this first issue a gripping read indeed.

The back up stories featuring Duke Thomas and his training by the Dark Knight is another key ingredient of All Star Batman that makes this new DC Comics series feel so special. The Cursed Wheel Part 1: written by Scott Snyder, featuring pencils and inks by Declan Shalvey, and colors by Jordie Bellaire sees Duke’s training really begin in earnest. I love how the characters address the enormity of the task ahead, with the role of being a “sidekick” transcending even the moniker of simply being defined as Robin, to evolve into a refined challenge that will make Duke into the hero he will become… Tautly plotted by Snyder, and with striking visuals – that view of the Bat-Cave is a real showstopper – by Declan Shalvey and colors by Jordie Bellaire, the first part of this backup story complements the main storyline in the issue perfectly.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating All Star Batman #1 and I was totally blown away by how good it was. It’s everything I could’ve hoped for, and then some! Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. have crafted one hell of an issue here, you’ll see Two Face in a completely different light afterwards, and those killer final moments are guaranteed to make your jaw hit the floor! All Star Batman soars beyond all expectations, with its brilliant all star creative team and wealth of variant covers, this is one Bat-Max fury road trip that you won’t want to miss for anything!

Publisher: DC Comics / Writer: Scott Snyder Pencils: John Romita Jr

Inks: Danny Miki / Colors Dean White Letters Steve Wands

Cover & Variant by Romita, Miki, White

Variant Cover: Jock

Variant Cover: Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

The Cursed Wheel Part 1 Writer: Scott Snyder / Pencils & Inks: Declan Shalvey

Colors: Jordie Bellaire / Letters Steve Wands

New Trailer For Luke Cage!

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New Trailer For Luke Cage!

Luke Cage Banner

The city has a new defender! Check out the new trailer and poster for Marvel’s Luke Cage! The cast of this new series includes Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Theo Rossi as Shades (a.k.a. Alvarez), Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard and Mahershala Ali as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes. Rosario Dawson reprising her Daredevil role as Claire Temple.

Luke Cage Poster

Marvel’s Luke Cage premieres on Netflix on September 30th, 2016.

 

Godzilla Oblivion #5 Review

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Godzilla Oblivion #5

Review by Paul Bowler

It’s the end of the world as we know it in Godzilla Oblivion #5, the stunning final of IDW Publishings five-part comic book series, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and featuring art by Brian Churilla, as monsters swarm from a ravaged alternative dimension to destroy the world! Battles rage across this Earth that has never known monsters, the foolhardy experiments of the scientists and the military to visit other dimensions have now doomed all civilization, can there be any possible hope of escape now? Get ready for the most epic Godzilla battle of them all!

Having lured Godzilla from the apocalyptic parallel Earth to their world to defeat King Ghidorah for them, their nuclear backup plan backfired when King Ghidorah was killed and Godzilla went on the rampage. In a desperate move employing replicated technology from the alternative Earth, the humans unleashed an army of Mechagodzillas to hold off Godzilla long enough for them to recover King Ghidorah’s body from the sea bed and use the technology to reanimate and control the creature’s body. But just as Godzilla and King Ghidorah were squaring up for round two, the portal machine suddenly powered up as the humans from the other Earth allowed the monsters of their world through to the scientist’s dimension!

Godzilla Oblivion 5 COVER

Joshua Hale Fialkov and Brian Churilla bring their uncanny world shaking What If? scenario to a close with Godzilla Oblivion #5, as the monstrous Kaiju of the alternative Earth now pour through the portal to their parallel counterpart . The scientists and military finally begin to understand the impact of their actions. Especially when they realize that without Godzillas help to keep the monsters in check on the alternative Earth, those monsters then grew more powerful and dangerous. That apocalyptic world was then left with only one choice – to send their monsters through the portal to the parallel Earth! Now the scientist and the military of this world must face the consequences of their experiments and the impending doom it has brought to their world.

Joshua Hale Fialkov builds the drama and tension brilliantly in this issue, as the world is ravaged by Godzilla’s all-out battle against this seemingly unstoppable legion of monsters, but with a worldwide nuclear strike about to be launched, its up to Ridley – with the help of a rather nifty looking neural network VR technology – to keep Mecha King Ghidorah going right in the thick of the action to buy the human race more time. One last ditch eleventh hour strategy still remains, but will it be enough to save the world from this ultimate monster smack down?

Brian Churilla’s artwork on this issue impressively presents the epic scale of Godzilla’s battle against hordes of his greatest enemies. Big sweeping page layouts convey the city levelling monster action, with Godzilla and Mecha King Ghidorah squaring up against the Kaiju onslaught, while the scientist work frantically to reprogram crucial technologies in their attempt to save humanity before the military deploy the global nuclear option.. Churilla also gets to focus more on the scientists and military characters in this issue to bring us some particularly emotional and moving scenes. The finale monologue by Ishiko Yamada is especially moving. These closing sequences are beautifuly illustrated by Brian Churilla, the colors by Jay Fotos wonderfully harness a subtle palette of tones and shades to bring the mini-sereis to a resounding conclusion.

One last act of self sacrifice ensures that Godzilla Oblivion packs one hell of an emotional punch during its closing moments. Godzilla Oblivion has been one IDW’s standout titles for me, with its fresh and different take on the Godzilla franchise, exciting the storyline by Joshua Hale Fialkov, great art by Brian Churilla, and colors by Jay Fotos, this mini-series has skilfully built on the potential of its unique premise, kept us all on our toes with unexpected plot twists, and Godzilla Oblivion #5 now provides an action-packed, emotional, and thought provoking finale to this excellent slice of monster mayhem from IDW Publishing.

Publisher: IDW Publishing Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov

Art: Brian Churilla Colors: Jay Fotos

Letters / Creative Consultant: Chris Mowry

Cover: Brian Churilla

Invincible Iron Man #12 Review

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Invincible Iron Man #12

Review by Paul Bowler

The biggest upheaval in Iron Man’s history begins in Invincible Iron Man #12 as the events of Civil War II start to tear Tony Stark’s world apart. This issue is a major Civil War II tie-in, divisions have formed, and concerns are mounting that Tony is about to go to war with Captain Marvel because of the precognitive Inhuman known as Ulysses! But Tony’s role as Iron Man and the fate of his company will soon hang in the balance, and what has Doctor Doom been planning as all-out Civil War strikes the Marvel Universe?

From the moment you see this issue ominous looking cover by Mike Deodato, featuring a dark figure with an arc reactor stood atop a pile of rubble strewn with the Stark logo, it’s clear that some major upheaval is waiting in the wings for Tony Stark. With the recent announcements from Marvel that 15 year-old MIT student Riri Williams is all set to become the new Invincible Iron Man post Civil War II and that Victor Von Doom will also become the Infamous Iron Man, Tony Stark will soon be replaced by two brand new Iron Men!

The build up to these sweeping changers starts here in Invincible Iron Man #12, as writer Brian Michael Bendis kicks everything off with some pretty cataclysmic developments over at Stark Tower. From here we flashback to a press conference held weeks ago in the same aforementioned building, where Tony Stark apologized to his investors and employees for faking his death so that he could assist S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers with the international terrorist threat poised by Techno Golem Tomoe and her biohack ninjas in Japan.

Invincible Iron Man #12 COVER

I love the way that Bendis handles the scenes where Tony confronts his board of investors. The dialogue is witty and sharp, some major home truths are aired on both sides, but even with MJ and his AI Friday to back him up, it’s clear the board isn’t going to let this one go without a fight. Mary Jane Watson and Friday also make a great team here, and they certainly keep Tony on his toes! If all that wasn’t enough, Tony also has some making up to do with new love interest Amara as well, something which proves far more elusive to resolve than expected.

Mike Dedato’s brilliant artwork skilfully conveys the emotional depth and narrative of this tautly scripted issue. His work on Invincible Iron Man continues to play to Bendis’ strengths as a writer. This issue features some gorgeously detailed page layouts: the apocalyptic opening scenes amidst the swirling rubble and dust are hauntingly powerful, the press conference and scenes in the lab flow with seamless precision, our first glimpse of Riri Williams home life with her mother in Chicago are another big highlight of the issue, and the raw emotional roller coaster ride of scenes which later follow as Stark’s world begins to come tumbling down around him are magnificently depicted. Color Artist Frank Martin once again excels, velvety earthy tones and dusty greys dominate the early scenes, while the use of dusky shadows and refined hues delicately accentuate the diverse range of emotional beats of that make this issue such a compelling read.

That wonderful first meeting between Riri, her mother, and Tony is certainly a defining moment for everyone involved. It’s great to finally learn more about this 15 year old genius M.I.T student, her mother certainly seems a force to be reckoned with as well, and we also discover something rather poignant about Riri’s name too.

Invincible Iron Man #12 finishes where it begins. It is here that we actually witness the most powerful scenes, as Tony addresses Rhodey’s death – which tragically happened in Civil War II #1 – and his thoughts about Carol Danvers and the Inhumans are revealed to a somewhat shell-shocked audience amidst the ruins of his life – and it is in these moving scenes that Brian Michael Bendis’ stellar writing will leave you hanging on Tony’s every word.

This run on Invincible Iron Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato reaches even greater heights with this issue. While it might be light on actual Iron Man action, the drama, suspense, and impeccable characterization are elevated to a whole new level with this Civil War II tie-in, and the cliff-hanger ending looks like it has the potential to be a real game-changer for the series. Invincible Iron Man #12 branches out into the wider arc of Civil War II with assured confidence and paves the way for even bigger events to come!

Publisher: Marvel / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Art: Mike Deodato

Color Artist: Frank Martin / VCs Clayton Cowles: Letterer & Production 

Cover Artists Mike Deodato & Frank Martin

Rom #1 Review

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Rom #1

Review by Paul Bowler

Earth has been invaded, and it’s up to ROM the Space Knight to save the world! Yes, we’ve seen the prelude to his return earlier this year in FCBD’s ROM #0, now the Wrathslayer’s adventures begin in earnest in ROM #1 from IDW Publishing. Get ready, as Rom’s ongoing war with the Dire Wraths descends from the stars in Earthfall, Part 1, as the space faring hero’s long awaited return and new ongoing series begins!

IDW Publishing and Hasbro Entertainment are onto a sure fire winner with ROM #1, with its plot and script by Chris Ryall and Christos Gage, together with art and colors by David Messina, with color assists by Michele Pasta, and letters by Shawn Lee, this reimagined ROM series stylishly mixes the old with the new to create a pleasing blend of exciting action, fast paced adventure, and nostalgia to kick off this new series.

The events of ROM #0 start off this debut issue – it was included here as many international fans found the FCBD prelude issue was almost impossible to find – as we witness, along with Police officers Camilla Byers and Omar Ruz, the Space Knight’s sudden arrival on Earth and his first contact with the military which then quickly spiralled into hostilities when they were revealed to be disguised Dire Wraiths by Rom‘s Analyser. ROM #1 quickly builds on these events and expands the scope of the new series’ premise.

While a secret debriefing at an Air Force Base in California provides a disturbing insight into some of the Earth Defence Command personnel, its clear ROM’s arrival certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. Meanwhile, ROM’s search for Dire Wraith’s leads him to a more densely populated area, but relying on his analysers and translator might not be enough this time. ROM is going to need human assistance to help him understand this strange new world, and that person could well be Darby, the nearby soldier who is taking some downtime from the military to visit her family as she copes with PTSD, but not everything is quite what it seems in this town…

ROM #1 IDW

Rom #1 Earthfall Part 1 succinctly establishes this new take on the character with this special extra-length issue. The plot and script by Chris Ryall and Christos Gage is tautly structured, the exposition is minimal, but concisely delivered, and everything is included to quickly bring us up to speed with ROM, his home world, the war against the Dire Wraiths, and how insidiously they’ve established themselves on Earth. The entire creative team on this book are big a fans of ROM, their devotion and respect for the character shines though in every scene, there are plenty of nods to the past, as well as a subtle updating of some aspects for a new generation of fans, and if this first issue is anything to go by, then the long journey to finally bring ROM the Space Knight back in his own series with IDW and Hasbro has certainly been well worth the wait.

ROM The Space Knight originally debuted as an electronic robot toy in 1979 from Parker Brothers, although the toy itself wasn‘t well received, it went on to inspire and gain unprecedented success in comic form in the 1980’s when Marvel produced their ROM comic book series. ROM #1 (December 1979) by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema, which began the cyborgs adventures and battles against the evil Dire Wraiths, it ran for 75 issues, earning a dedicated fan base, and remains one of the most beloved and fondly remembered comic book series of the 80’s. Rights issues have sadly condemned ROM to limbo ever since, until now of course. First, there was Transformers, then IDW brought back the Micronauts, another big fan favourite series based on a popular toy line, now the long absent Space Knight, ROM, is back with a new ongoing series, and IDW have marked the event with a month-long variant cover programme across their range to celebrate the return of ROM!

The art, inks, and colors by David Messina, and color assists by Michele Pasta on ROM #1 bring a fluid sense of action to the page, with clean and concise page layouts heightening the sense of urgency and drama as each scene rapidly spills into the next. The spooky opening on the Air Force Base is quite unsettling, ROM’s search, and Darby’s terrifying encounter with the Dire Wraiths all effortlessly builds the suspense. The big highlight of the issue though is when ROM clashes with the Dire Wraiths in the park. It is here that the art team really get to show ROM at his best, in action and vanquishing his enemies, but it seems the Dire Wraiths abilities have evolved in surprising ways during their time on Earth – and the ensuing results on the enchanted flora and fauna in the vicinity leads to some of the issues most spectacular action sequences!

The characters redesign of ROM is also subtle, yet effective, the armor is more streamlined and flexible, but the most notable change is the old flipper hands, which have now become articulated fingers. There are new boots as well, technological devices such as the energy analyser and neutralizer are all inbuilt now and part of the armor, but don’t worry, ROM’s distinctive look and iconic toaster-like-head and glowing red eyes remain unchanged.

Although the circumstances in this issue that bring ROM and Darby together are not that unexpected, it’s still a skilfully handled reimagining the classic ROM origin / set up, albeit done with a decidedly modern twist. By the end of the issue ROM and Darby grow to understand each other better, the Dire Wraiths prove a dab hand at using the media to their advantage to discredit ROM, we also catch up with officer Camilla Byers, and it seems the EDC has some rather ominous sounding countermeasures prepared for ROM…

ROM #1 is a slick, high-tech mix of cosmic intrigue, magic, and suspense. Whether it can live up to fans expectations remains to be seen. Like many, I’m a big fan of the original ROM series, so this new series had a lot to live up to for me. For the most part it succeeds in my opinion, even though Chris Ryal’s and Christos Gage’s new spin on the character of ROM is very different in certain ways, its still entirely faithful to the original in every respect, and the end result comes across as being both surprisingly fresh and inspiring. It also becomes clear – with the mention in ROM #1 of events in Monument Valley happening over in Transformers #54 & #55 – that ROM will soon become an integral part of the IDW universe, especially with IDW’s forthcoming Revolution event that will bring Rom together with the Transformers, G.I. Joe, the Micronauts, and M.A.S.K.

I enjoyed ROM #1 and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. ROM #1 is a confident start to the series, its full of fan pleasing moments, everything is balanced by the compelling storyline and strong characterization, and the issue also boasts some highly impressive artwork as well – and if all that wasn’t enough you there’s also a wealth of eye catching variant covers to choose from. There’s a lots of potential here, Chris Ryall, Christos Gage, and David Messina have done sterling work with this first issue of ROM, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this new ROM series from IDW Publishing develops in the months ahead.

Plot and script: Chris Ryall and Christos Gage

Art, Inks, and colors: David Messina

Color Assists by: Michele Pasta / Letters by: Shame Lee

 

Marvel’s New Trailer and Poster For Doctor Strange

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Marvel’s New Trailer and Poster For Doctor Strange

By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth this looks good!Check out the awesome new poster and trailer for Marvel’s Doctor Strange! Great to see Benedict Cumberbatch in action as Doctor Strange! Can’t wait for this movie!

And there’s a great new poster as well!

Doctor Strange Poster

See Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” in theaters November 4, 2016.

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