Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) just delivered rousing speech to the U.S. congress yesterday. I think it was one for the history books. So now that's got the Zionist in me all fired up and of course being the comic book nerd that I am I couldn't help but think of a hypothetical scenario involving some sort of cross story line or Marvel Team issue of ROM & Israeli Mossad (Israeli secret service) super agent Sabra. I don't know what sort of story line would have ever had ROM in Israel or Sabra in Clariton West Virginia but it would have made for an interest concept to explore. Aside from both being Bill Mantlo creations and having had run ins with the HULK these two heroes have one very important thing in common. Both have arch enemies that are masters of disguise, deception and manipulation. Rather if it's shape shifters who use black magic or people who use political correctness and stealth jihad, evil is evil by any name. We should see that evil for what it is and recognize the heroes who fight and sacrifice to keep us safe from it.
What you see here is some fan art I found on Comic Vine fan art I've ever come across featuring ROM, Nova and Star Lord together. Along with it was this comment "What could have been an even more epic team". I'm posting it here for good luck in regards to the final installment of Annihilators set to hit the shelves first thing next month. Rather your a ROM Spaceknight fan, a Marvel cosmic adventure fan or a combination there of I know what your all hoping to see far fetched as it may be. That Marvel Magazine cover you see there was something my father got me back in 1979 when we lived in New York city. Back then my dad used to have a cab pick me up from school and drive me to his work where I'd have to hang with him for a few hours before his shift ended. He worked in this high rise office building over looking the water in lower Manhattan. Sometimes when he had some down time he would take me across the street to a buy me a bagel and some comics to help me pass the time. This is actually how I got my hands on the very first comics I ever had. Star Lord was awesome in the Annihilation Wave series and I'm sure many of you out there loved him in the Guardians of the Galaxy. When he found out about Richard Ryder's fling with Gomora during the war with the Annihilation Wave his response was, "what part of the most dangerous woman in the universe do you not understand?". What a great line not to mention he called Nova "Richie" all the time. Who doesn't enjoy reading that sort of levity between characters?
After all my years of being a ROM Spaceknight fan I've never seen this before until very recently. I guess at some point over the years Rick Jones was a little suicidal or something so that's what the panel on the left I found on Comic Vine by random is all about. I think it's funny how Rick has that whole unshaven "Cast Away" man look going on. And on the right thanks to Ptor from the Sanctum we have a panel from a Dr.Strange Annual from 1992.
This posting title is a bit misleading. Yes this is Ian Akin's pencil and ink work but it's colored by me. And also it should be known that what you are seeing is a cropped portion of the original work. Most of you should know by now that Akin & Garvey were the dynamic inking duo that were the perfect compliment to Sal Buscema's pencils. That awesome "trifecta" was the artistic pinnacle of the ROM series. It was among some of the very best comic art of the 80's on par with giants like Michael Golden. You can see this illustration in it's entirety at the link below. And check this out, it will open up in color but when you roll your mouse over the image you see it just penciled and inked! It's a way cool affect plus you can tell me if I did Akin's pencil and ink work any justice with my own coloring job here: http://ianakin.com/illustration/superheroes/rom.htm
Have you ever seen "Chasing Amy"? If so do you remember how they were joking about inkers just being people who trace? I really hope there isn't anybody around who reads comics today that is that stupid. If you look below the credit headline strip you'll see what un-inked penciling really looks like as seen in this Annihilators #4 splash page. Even if you were doing a black n white comic you wouldn't send it to press like that. Now this uncolored sample clip art here from ROM #45 is what I'm talking about. Look how even in black n white it almost seems to have texture to it as if you could run your fingers over the paper and feel the art like reading in braille.
Okay so here's something I hope is at least some what new to you hard core ROM fans out there in terms of art or information. I found 3 New Warriors covers that featured Turbo prominently cause I thought it would look cool to display here but it's issue 73 that I want to focus on. First of all it has the late Brock Jones (ROM side kick Torpedo) on the cover which is cool. And as you can see to the left the interior art includes some sort of retelling of the past Dire Wraith, Torpedo and Volx narratives. What I'm sure you also see is a panel that features a very obvious silver spaceknight. Did you know this issue was published in 1996? Did Marvel have the licensing deal in effect still at that time? Some how I doubt it so what gives? I was never into The New Warriors but if I had known back then that they were continuing the ROM mythology in even at least some small measure I certainly would have given that title a second look. You can read a thorough recap of the New Warriors #73 at this link: http://www.newwarriors.com/html/nwv1n73.html
So if you've read the page that link goes to you'll see that issue kicks off Vlox's latest scheme. A scheme in which she appropriates the Torpedo suite, hijacks a starship and steals Forge's neo-neutralizer in an attempt to nullify the powers of Earth's heroes and also free her fellow Wraiths from Limbo. Ironically, the New Warriors series (Vol. 1) ends just two issues later with #75 (just like ROM). Obviously Volx was stopped by The New Warriors from carrying out her plans with the neo-neutralizer but as the saying goes she apparently lived on to fight another day. Hence, her appearance and agenda many years later in the Annihilators mini-series.
Now here is what appears to be a revamped version of the Torpedo "armor" I was able to find a picture of online. I can't seem to find any information about if this is the original suite with modifications or a brand new one but it looks good! The upper portion kinda looks reminiscent of Thor's classic costume strangely enough. I know based on some published clip art that Turbo did have a suite that closely resembled this sketch at one point but I can't find any information on it other then it being worn in the later volumes of New Warriors and with another group she ended up joining called Excelsior.
5/13/11 update I took a look at New Warriors #1 (Vol.2) a couple of days ago and the new look for the Torpedo suite (first appearance) was the result of it having been "reconfigure" for easier use.
Summery: So as of the conclusion with A#2 we finally have a showdown between the wraith queen Volx and The Annihilators. Showing us her impressive mystical multitasking skills she "weaves" spells to not only undo Beta Ray Bill and Quasar's work of having shielded Galador from the black sun's rays but also to blunt their direct assaults on her with some sort of force field. And for good measure she conjures up another horde of deathwings to help keep The Annihilators off her back. In the close quarter fever pitch of the battle Silver Surfer is about to explain to Quasar how to end the black sun's threat when suddenly the Surfer is attacked by Volx her self and the seemingly impossible appears to happen. The first 5 pages of A#3 can be read online at: http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/1104/29/marvelfirsts.htm But instead of a brain sucking session what happens is more of a "mindmeld". Not unlike Cindy Adams from the original ROM series who was saved by her mother in mid attack by a Dire Wraith. The "connection" is spontaneously broken, which knocks Volx on her ugly ass and in turn causes the Deathwings to disintegrate. The Silver Surfer comes out of it understanding that Volx is insane because of the psychic "cries" of her fellow wraiths trapped in Limbo. He also learns that the Black Sun is merging with Galador's sun and that the only way to halt the process is to bring Wraith World out of Limbo. So off to Limbo they go with Volx in tow. In the mean time although IKON ordered Brandy to be taken for medical care we see her in a holding cell right next to a another cell with Dredd in it which I thought was a bit odd. Especially given that the cells have energy beams as bars that offer plenty of space in between for shape shifting prisoners to squeeze through. But that proves to be besides the point as what appears to be a rogue spaceknight takes out the other spaceknight guards and frees Dredd. Meanwhile on Wraith World The Annhihlators discover a population of decrepit and powerless dire wraiths who apparently have been victimized and used by Immortus the time traveling ruler of Limbo. Volx tries to rally them around her but they pretty much dis her feeling like she got them into their situation in the first place. Just then Quasar senses that Immortus is coming after them with his Army of the Ages. In conclusion to the issue we finally discover that Dredd is actually a Skrull! It turns out this whole scheme was just an elaborate plan by "Dr. Dredd" to empower the dire wraiths. And in doing so will in some way help the rise of the Skrull empire while getting revenge on some of the cosmic heroes they have it it in for. REVIEW: This issue started off with a bang but kinda lost some steam just after Volxe's attack on the Silver Surfer. This whole thing about having to get Wraith World out of Limbo to save Galador was something I wasn't too sure about but at least it opens the door for Galador to be an ongoing player in future Cosmic Marvel stories. I guess I'll have to learn more about Immortus cause I really don't know jack about him. Of course now the mystery of Dr. Dredd's return is solved and I think this was a pretty cool way of doing it. What's kind of annoying me at this point now is that outside of IKON the spaceknights are just fall guys. They might as well just be wearing Enterprise security guard uniforms. Galador is really really in serious need of old school spaceknights who know how to fight like Hammerhand, Javelin, Trapper, Starshine 1 and Pulsar. The Silver Surfer seems too be a little too quick to make Volx out as a sympathetic character. As a rule I like the Surfer's sense of humanity and justice but on this one he may be leaning a little too much to the left for my taste. It's kinda like feeling sorry for osama bin laden for not getting his day in court. I have the feeling this issue isn't going to be going over that well with the readers but hopefully I'm wrong even though I don't think it's the strongest issue of the 3 so far. I'll be adding Youtube links of reviews in the coming days to this posting as I find them so stay tuned.
5/12/11 update I just got done reading New Warriors #75 (Vol.1) in which Volx gets turned into ash after having had Nighthrasher stick a spike in through her head. So now we have an explanation for "Dr. Dredd's" return but are left with another mystery. Lee from RSR made this point on his blog before.
I thought I'd kick off the month with my latest internet find which as you can see is this rather uncommon photo of Mr. Buscema at what I presume is his drafting table and this quick sketch probably done for some ROM fan boy out there. And that's one ROM fan boy out there who's lucky I don't have his home address. If you look in the right hand column gallery of my "digital trickeration" you'll see something for Sal Buscema that will take you to a fantastic 5 minute or so Youtube video about his career. You may want to take note of the comments section in which you have some idiot (screen name pypeworld) who writes off Sal Buscema as being a "hack" who was only good at drawing fast. Needless to say I rushed to Sal's defense and it was on!
5/14/11 update: I just saw THOR today and it was pretty good. At the end of the credits they list all the writers and artists that worked on THOR in Marvel over the years. Sal Buscema's name was among them.