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ROM #1

Written by Christos Gage and Chris Ryall
Art by David Messina
Ultimate Comics Exclusive Variant Cover by Tommy Lee Edwards
Published by IDW and Hasbro Entertainment

Ultimate Comics is excited to host writer Christos Gage at signing events this Saturday at both Raleigh and Chapel Hill locations, and we’re also excited about his new ROM book!

ROM The Spaceknight has been this funny little legal issue for decades. Based on a Hasbro action figure, ROM was published by Marvel, a space hero of the type that was popular in the 1970s and 80s, and he led a bunch of other Spaceknights against a collection of shapeshifting aliens called Dire Wraiths. Well, Marvel lost the rights to ROM himself but kept all the rest. So when Dire Wraiths killed a prominent New Warrior in the early 2000s, it had to say it was on Earth hiding out from… Somebody… And when Abnett and Lanning revitalized Marvel’s cosmic line and created the Guardians Of The Galaxy that eventually became one of the best-selling comic movies ever, there were some Spaceknights that would wistfully talk about… Their greatest member. That guy. He’s such a great guy. You know him.

Now IDW has the rights to publish ROM himself, and for those of us who couldn’t get ROM outside of diligient hours in the back issue bin, it’s a welcome return. It only helps that Christos Gage, writer of such great properties as the Daredevil Netflix show and the last few years of Amazing Spider-Man, is on board. And local hero Tommy Lee Edwards has dropped an amazing exclusive variant cover, so this book is a winner before you even open it.

And once you do open it, you get a great paranoid science fiction romp. A pair of cops investigate a disturbance and wander into a war between this shiny metal man and a bunch of monsters that can look just like people. Gage is great at getting the tension of the scene ramped up quickly, efficiently establishing an action tone before switching to ROM’s investigation of an infiltrated California town and the last human there, a woman recently back from deployment and struggling to manage her PTSD. His rescue attempt reveals a hideous evolution of the Dire Wraiths. And even if he makes it out of there alive, the final page reveal shows that he’s going to have his hands full with another popular Hasbro toy property in the next few issues.

This was a great comic, even for a reader who only knew ROM by his conspicuous absence. The character is noble and warm, and I’m excited for the rest of his adventures. The book is also an important foundation piece for next month’s Revolution crossover, integrating IDW properties like M.A.S.K., Micronauts, and ROM into a shared universe. You’re not going to want to miss this, and make sure to check the Ultimate Comics Facebook page for details on this Saturday’s signings with Christos Gage!

-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics