Review – ROM 2018 TPB
Writer: Chris Ryall, Christos Gage
Artist: David Messina, Ron Joseph, Paolo Villanelli
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Trade Paperback: August 15, 2018
I am old enough to remember the Parker Brothers ROM Space Knight toys from 1979! I was only 7 but I remember the excitement of watching the mysterious advert about the Lord of the Solstar Knights! However, for this review I checked, and ROM was originally a UK toy (part of Action Man family) before being shipped to the states!
Marvel comics was then commissioned to come up with a tie-in comic and so was born one of the best Toy based comics you’ve never heard of!
I remember reading the first issue with meteor explosions! Through the mist and debris, a sleek robot form appeared. Speaking alien symbols, it immediately steps forward and scanning close humans then vapourised them! I was hooked and the evil Dire Wraiths haunted my young dreams.
I have never really forgiven my parents for not buying me it! So any reason to buy it and blame this ROM review is a bonus!
Reviewing this ROM 2018 TPB should be easy!
With my inner child screaming, I picked up the collected 2018 series and was pleasantly surprised that the hero and story have not been retconned beyond recognition. Perhaps this TPB review would be a breeze?
For those new to ROM here’s a quick synopsis. The Solstar Order of Space Knights has pledged to rid the galaxy of the evil Dire Wraiths. These shape-shifting aliens have arrived on Earth, but using his analyser and neutraliser weapons ROM can track down and remove them. But will anybody believe him or think he’s just an alien attacking and killing humans?
Yes, we get a stronger back story, the Dire Wraiths are evolving after centuries on earth and there are other members of the order but overall it works.
There are issues though, the obligatory mid-book crossover with other titles like Transformers and GI Joe happen. These make the story drag and I had to force myself on past these to get back to the action.
At just under 400 pages, this is a whopper of a collection and it took me a good 5 nights work to chomp through the whole book.
The Dire Wraiths are great pantomime villains! The writers Ryall and Gage have taken this to ridiculous levels with everything from shrimp-sized wraiths up to Kraken size ones!
The new knights Livia and Orphion add the needed tension as well as giving Rom a love interest from his past. I was disappointed though as both characters become a little one-dimensional. Livia reverts to the damsel in distress and cold emotionless commander for Orphion.
My biggest problem with this is that the story leaves many plot points dangling with no satisfactory conclusion. Most cold readers need a defined beginning, middle and end. With many questions over almost every point in the book, it feels like a ploy to make you buy the next one. This works on an issue-by-issue basis but by collecting them I needed a conclusion!
ROM’s speech has been left quite cheesy with lots of one-liners and heraldic dialogue. It reminds me of classic Silver Surfer, Thor or Hulk and it allows the human characters to have depth.
Artists Messina, Joseph and Villanelli seem to be having great fun drawing these characters. The Dire Wraiths many forms allow them to commit to their inner Lovecraft with hints of Cthulhu throughout. For those looking for lots of tentacle hentai action, this does not disappoint!
Other characters, like the humans, are well developed but feel like they canon fodder as many are either killed or taken over.
The colours are vibrant and the series has many additional variant covers. These showcase the talents of the best and brightest artists in the industry today.
ROM keeps his flat Gort look (Google 1951’s version of The Day the Earth Stood Still) while everything else is uplifted to today. The slight upgrade to his armour and weaponry does not seem forced and I really enjoyed this.
I loved and was frustrated with this book. Rom holds a dear place in my childhood, but I put him on a pedestal that it could never achieve with a relaunch. I need to make sure this review of ROM 2018 TPB is not my 7-year-old self having a tantrum!
The strong artwork keeps your eye and brain excited. However, there is a little too much exposition and narration in the speech bubbles that drags you back to the confusing storyline. To invest in 400 pages the writers really needed to tidy up all the plots and give a satisfactory conclusion.
The annual and Revolution tie-in does not help close being to the start of the book. It should have been edited down or out. they add nothing to the plot and unless you follow the event it was unnecessary
If you are a die-hard fan buy it, but if you are fresh to Rom this might be too hefty a volume to purchase.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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