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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