FCBD Rom #0 review

Not Rom, Spaceknight, you may notice. It seems the designation stayed with Marvel when IDW got the comic rights to the property from Hasbro. But the basic set-up established by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema in 1979 remains, with a silver cyborg sent to Earth to upend a secret invasion by the name-says-it-all Dire Wraiths. In just 11 pages we see rebooted Rom’s first encounter with US authorities within whose ranks the shape-changing wizards lurk. 

I’m not sure why it takes two writers to provide this pretty simple prologue to the upcoming Rom #1 but Chris Ryall and Christos Gage do a decent job, providing a taster while leaving, presumably, the meat for the monthly. 
Things get a tad bloody, which doesn’t match the tone of David Messina’s full-colour illustrations, which look for all the world like Seventies in-comic toy ad art. On the one hand, it’s an interesting callback, on the other, it looks a tad ‘kiddie’. I doubt Messina – who gets an inking assist from Michele Pasta – is responsible for the tweaks to Rom’s armour, which are minor but enough to mar the enjoyment. 
Apart from four pages of Rom model sheets, two of which may as well be a Spot the Difference, the rest of the book goes to surprise strip Action Man. Based on the old UK version of GI Joe, it features similarly simplistic artwork – this time from Chris Evenhuis – but it suits the script’s light tome. John Barber’s story sees Britain’s greatest secret agent challenged to stop Armageddon with only a member of his support team ‘with ideas above his station’ to help. It’s good clean fun with a nice hook for the ongoing. 
With a superb cover by Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel, Rom #0 is a fun freebie to kick off a couple of new series. I may well try them both. 

18 thoughts on “FCBD Rom #0 review

  1. You're fast on the review, but then you are in the future, aren't you. I picked it up but haven't read it yet.

    Rom is an ongoing inside joke between a nephew and I, and he ended up getting me a hefty lot of his Marvel series for me for Christmas a couple of years ago. I ended up really enjoying it, especially after reading up about the toy and comic book series on a fan site, though I admit some of the narration and dialogue could make me cringe a bit. I remembered that as a kid I had thought he was so cool as with all the Space Knights. After reading how Marvel lost the rights to Rom and how they had rebooted the 'Knights, I was truly shocked to see Rom back in a series but from IDW.

    I was also shocked that my LCS had this there today, as it's more a used book store, and the way the comic book industry is and in the little town I'm near, I often have to get things online. I had asked for the first issue from them (but didn't think I'd get this) and I may get the series, only because I never thought I'd ever see a new Rom comic (a Romic?) again. I'm not sure if I should feel young again or very old. 😛


  2. Normally I wouldn't care about this kind of copyright sniping as IDW did a great job with their continuation of the original Marvel UK transformers storyline with ReGeneration 1, and I do want to check this out to see if ROM fights a bear, but before I would, I'd want to know if IDW snagging the ROM character prevents reprints of the original series and royalties being paid to Bill Mantlo – see also: Micronauts.


  3. I followed Rom from the start and was pulled in by its oddball charm. I especially loved it when Ian Akin and Brian Garvey joined as inkers, adding unusual textures.

    Sounds like you have a great nephew! So you really ARE an uncle!


  4. I enjoyed the comic but was a bit underwhelmed. I thought the “special effects” of Rom scanning the Wraiths and sending them to Limbo was more effective in the 1980's, more detailed and far scarier. When the Wraiths scanned Rom was what they supposed to be just a bunch of metal or? I wasn't sure what I was looking at.

    You were sooo on the nose about the model sheets, definitely “Spot the Difference.”

    I may have enjoyed “Action Man” more, although I thought how they got rid of/ the send off to the original was abrupt and not very original. The art, as you said, was simplistic, but it did the job done and suited the story. I liked reading the history of Action Man and Action Force, but now I want to read an Action Force comic also. I'm happy I'm off eBay or I might be looking for the toys on top of that. 😛


  5. Hey, if you're going to eBay for old British comics, find some of the ones I worked on… I may get a kickback!

    The effects were rather pants, I agree. I really want to read my old Roms now.


  6. The should have called that zero issue Rino spaceknight (Rom in name only). after all these years and all the hype in recent months this was the result!? What a bloody awful let down and IDWs new Micronauts series isn't off to a much better start.


  7. Journalist, film degree, then London Editions Magazines, working on UK reprint packages which involved selecting stuff, handling lettercols and writing articles. The titles included Superman, Batman, DC Action, Zones, Bugs Bunny and Heroes. I also edited the likes of My Little Pony and Sooty, which meant lots of origination – apparently I'm a legend among a couple of MLP fans for bringing back the Smooze… it was a joy, and a privilege to have such engaged readers. Happy days.


  8. I'm a huge fan of both Rom and the Micronauts. Both new series have a huge problem, which is that in effect, they're complete reboot. I enjoyed Rom 0, but less than the Micronauts from the previous week. Thought it was a vey interesting new story (I don't like Baldeon though), and far better than the horrid reboot they did a few years ago.
    The problem is, people are going to compare to the old series of the 1980s


  9. Well, yes, that's inevitable. But given they're banking on affection for old stories to get us to try the new, it's fair enough. Let's hope they pull off a difficult balancing act in time.


  10. You're most welcome. In “Many Happy Returns,” in the final issue of the series, Linda/ Supergirl reacts to Hal-Specture's mention of the Anti-Monitor with, “AUNTIE MONITOR! Who's her partner, Uncle Screen Saver?” When I was trying to think of an alias, or whatever it's called, I wanted something from Supergirl, and I can't remember my journey to this name precisely, but that line came to me, albeit forgetting she used a space, and “ta da!” here I am. 😛


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