Saturday, January 28, 2012

The ROM Spaceknight legacy, either do it right or don't do it at all!

After having looked at an Avengers Academy #25 preview which concludes the Hybrid story arc I started reflecting on what Marvel has done with the ROM Spaceknight legacy over the years. First of all this was a pretty good read but would it have killed Marvel to have Hybrid on at least one of the 3 covers for that story line? Not too mention an actual explanation of how Hybrid returned would have been nice given that he was psi-blasted to atoms by Nate Grey in X-Man 31* (1997). Don't bother looking at Marvel's updated wiki page on Hybrid that won't shed any light on his return either.
Marvel's efforts on the Rom continuity has been a mixed bag but quite frankly some of it I'd like to pretend never happened like the recent Avengers Academy issues. Among the other forgettable continuities was the 2000 Spaceknights mini-series along with their appearance in the Annihilation Wave . The follow up Annihilation Conquest saga basically introduced the spaceknights we would see in the first Annihilators mini-series which seem like was Marvel's way of saying that the 2000 mini-series had indeed been forgotten. But aside from Ikon those spaceknights were pretty lame too, about as useful as red shirted security guards from the original Star Trek series. And then there was the unexplained return of the Dire Wraith Queen Volx in the Annihilators mini-series who was killed at the end of the New Warriors series years before. I hate that kind of shit as if the writers don't think we'll notice logic gaps like that.
Then of course there's what I would describe at this point as Marvel stone walling us about why they're unwilling to bring ROM back in some kind of incarnation. Now for the most part I don't have a problem with how Marvel has handled peripheral elements of the ROM legacy such as the Dire Wraiths, The Torpedo armor, Hybrid and the neo-neutralizer over the years in New Warriors Vol. 1* . The story line in the 2010 Darkstar: Winter Guard mini-series* that revolved around the abandoned Wraith base (The Citadel) in Russia from ROM 42-46 was a pretty good way to introduce the Dire Wraith again into the Marvel Universe. And later again in Fantastic Four 577* (2010) as part of the Universal Inhumans. But right now I'm pretty much at a point where I'm feeling like it would have been better had Marvel just left Rom, Brandy and Galador continuity alone after the Rick Jones Wedding in Hulk 418* (1994) wedding appearance so that we the fans could just assume that they lived happily ever after while over seeing Galador's reconstruction era.
In fact, I think that works for me so as far as I'm concerned I'll throw both Avengers Academy and Annihilators mini-series into that pile of forgettable Rom continuity story lines. All that could have been part of some sort of Marvel alternate universe spin off and what not for all I care. As for Christos Gage (writer of Avengers Academy), Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (Annihilators) . . seriously guys, either do it right or don't do it at all!

* denotes all the fairly well done Rom related continuities

Friday, January 13, 2012

Marvel - DC Team Up: ROM & Starfire of the Teen Titans

I can't take credit for this brilliant fictitious cover concept. I found it yesterday at Ya know it's ironic because right before this Rom / Starfire cover was posted at that blog site I was inspired to do something similar with Iron Fist & Bronze Tiger based on just having discovered that blog a couple days prior. See it here:
On a side note here, along with Amanda Waller's weight loss and Harley Quinn's cocktail outfit it seems that Starfire's rather open sexuality in the DC relaunch has become an issue of contention with some readers. I'm proud to say I'm not one of them I assure you and you can quote me on that! Left click on the Starfire cosplay photo image you'll be glad that you did trust me. Details are important after all. One more thing here, be sure to roll your mouse over the image at this link:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Analyzing Forge's Neutralizer & The Torpedo armor's full capabilities

The mutant genius inventor known as Forge was enlisted by the U.S. government to replicate ROM's neutralizer for use against the Dire Wraiths. We saw this all play out in ROM 61-65 and X-Men 185-188. There was a hand held version and also the much bigger "neo-neutralizer" which was mounted on an orbital platform and constructed to be used on a planetary scale.
I just noticed an interesting inconsistency with the hand held model. The one featured in the ROM title didn't quite look like The X-Men version which was consistent with what appeared in the Forge bio page of the Marvel Universe Handbook deluxe edition. I don't know if that was an over site or just an artist interpretation kinda thing unlike the first Marvel Universe Handbook series that got ROM's neutralizer and analyzer mixed up.

Forge's hand held neutralizer wasn't as powerful or versatile as ROM's but it did have the basic function of being able to detect Dire Wraiths and render them powerless. Unfortunately it could do the same to mutants much to Storm's detriment.

But related to that I found out just a few days ago that Tony Stark had gotten a hold of the hand held version of the neutralizer and used to on the criminal mutant known as The Termite. Here again we see the hand held version reflect the design as shown in the Marvel Universe diagram. Which in general I thought was a pretty cool design. A pity that wasn't the look it had in the pages of ROM but then again that was the Steve Dikto era in which the art work was an all around eye sore.

Later in the New Warriors series the Dire Wraith queen Volx who already had duped The Warriors into giving her The Torpedo armor tried using it in order to power the neo- neutralizer which she had managed to steal from the U.S. government. While in Volx's possession we learn that the Torpedo Armor had other energy manipulating capabilities that were apparently unknown to both Brock Jones or Mickey Musashi while they had it. Her scheme was to deprive Earth's heroes of their superpowers as revenge for their part in the Wraith War. Her plans were thwarted of course by The Warriors and their allies and she was seemingly killed after wards but later appeared in the Annihilators first mini-series.

And speaking of the Torpedo armor let's look at it in more detail as we discover what it's full capabilities are.

Sunday Jan. 08 Michael Mantlo update

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How you can help ROM return with just 30 seconds of your time. Also, update with Avengers Academy #24 review

For some dumb reason after having had a copy of Avengers Academy #23 for over two weeks now I just realized that it had an actual letter column in the back! What's even cooler is that it opens up with this message to the readers from someone on the production team for the book, presumably the editor or editor in chief. Being a letter column quite naturally it also includes an email address for you to send your letters. So it occurred to me that other then a letter of praise about bringing Hybrid back this is another chance to bug these people about ROM. And the advantage here is that your letter is going to some folks at Marvel who currently have the Greatest of the Spaceknights on the brain other wise they wouldn't have brought Hybrid back. You know that old saying about striking while the iron is hot right? Even something as simple as just writing in the subject line "Bring ROM back!" will do. Send e-mails to MHEROES@MARVEL.COM Mark as "OK TO PRINT" for a shot at having the letter published but remember this is more about sending Marvel a message.

And by the way I sent a letter last night to that address and got a personal reply this morning from the editor Bill Rosemann so yes they actually read their letters over there.

Thursday Jan. 5 update
Avengers Academy #24

Well I went to go check out Fearless #6 from the Fear It's Self story line that feature some Dire Wraith connection thanks to Ptor from The Sanctum who gave us a heads up in the comment section. Indeed there is a Dire Wraith among the bad guys doing what Dire Wraith do but gets a nasty surprise when she tries to tongue spike Luke Cage. That was actually in Fearless #5 which was also there. I didn't pick those up because I have no idea what's going on in that story line but to my surprise I did see Avengers Academy #24 sooner then I expected so I got that.
Basically what's going on here is that Reptil is leading the students one by one into being ambushed and immobilized by Hybrid who then some how feeds off their powers making him in turn more powerful. However Reptil's betrayal eventually gets the better of his conscience and he turns on Hybrid. But by then it's too late Hybrid proceeds to take control of their minds and turns them on the remaining Avengers. So it looks like this Hybrid story arc is going to span at least 3 issues. They haven't revealed yet how Hybrid was "resurrected" by Reptil which I would really like to know but as you can see by the clip art above Hybrid is up to his old game but also has even grander plans then ever before.

Monday, January 2, 2012

ROM & Crystar "team up", plus a Rom cameo & the Dire Wraith appearnce cover variant you never knew about

This beautiful rendering is by Daniel Cox. Talk about fan art that takes me back in time. Back in the day I had a couple of the figures and a few of the issues from the Crystar franchise. Although something of an unlikely team up it could have made for an interesting story line given that both characters are basically derived from Medieval mythology. This is a painting I would really love to see in person. I don't think a computer monitor can do justice to the heavy brush strokes or vivid colors it has. Plus I suspect this was done on a pretty good sized canvas.

Back in 1982 there was this 3 issue mini-series called Contest of Champions in which Earth's heroes were all mysteriously spirited away in order to participate in some some sort of contest over whatever. You can do a Google search on the series if you want to know more about it.
I know there's a hand full of you hard core fans like Lee from ROM Spaceknight Revisited who know about this but I wanted to post it for those of you who don't. I think was basically just a "throw away" appearance in which somebody probably thought it would be cool to put ROM in the back ground (shaking hands with Jacosta) just for the Hell of it. Still, I can dig it.

Oh and look what else I found. This is the cover to some series of "pocket books" from the U.K. I imagine these are similar to the sort of thing that comes with action figures like with the DC Superpowers line back in the 80s. As you can see here this is an X-Men issue in which they are battling the Dire Wraiths. I can only assume this reprints a portion of the X-Men 185 - 188. That's just a guess on my part I'd sure like to see it for my self. Magnify it for a better look.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Contacted by Michael Mantlo through Facebook and Youtube for New Year's Eve

As irony would have it I was working on adding color to the lovely Sabra here while putting together this image montage of characters that Bill Mantlo created and co-creating with greats like Sal Buscema & George Perez when I heard my email alert notice letting me know some new stuff was in my inbox.

Obviously it looks like all my hard work and that of those of you who contributed your time and talent to reach out to the Mantlo family this holiday season has finally paid off. Having been contacted by Michael no doubt was the result of the package I sent to him in early December. And I bet some of you thought I was full of it when I said I'd do that huh? So rather it's doing a mitzvah (Yiddish term for good deed) for a well deserving person like Bill or on behalf of my politics I don't mess around when I say I'm gonna do something.

After my reply to his initial comment on Youtube. . .

Both of these email alerts came to me early New Year's Eve day and let me tell this was a great way for me to round out what has other wise been a less then stellar year. The posting I had planned prior to this is getting bumped up a few days for obvious reasons. By the way if you haven't seen the latest ROM video I threw together what the heck are you waiting for?