Review by C.J. Bunce
We first met Rom the Spaceknight in 1979 in the pages of his own Marvel Comics series. Rom’s first foes were the Dire Wraiths, evolved descendants of the same Skrulls from the Avengers stories. Since 1979 the Wraiths have faced all sorts of familiar Marvel superheroes, including S.H.I.E.L.D., the X-Men, Silver Surfer, Power Man and Iron Fist, the Fantastic Four, and Doctor Strange. Now, thanks to co-publisher IDW Publishing, Rom: Dire Wraiths–a new mini-series brings astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins at the launch of the Apollo 11 in 1969 face to face with the Wraiths.
But where’s Rom? That’s covered in a back-up story by Chris Ryall (writer of previous Rom stories), featuring art by Guy Dorian (Rom, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) and comics legend Sal Buscema (The Incredible Hulk, Spectacular Spider-Man). The primary story by Ryall features a vist from Earth Command, and it includes artwork by Luca Pizzari (Marvel’s Weapon X). Some particularly striking variant covers are available for the first issue, drawn by Luca Pizzari, Corin Howell, and a collaboration between Guy Dorian and Sal Buscema. The Wraiths, in both stories, are rendered with incredible detail, some of the best sci-fi/alien designs we’ve seen–one panel in the back-up story featuring the claws is almost three-dimensional. Brilliant work.
You might recall Men in Black III took a similar approach, an alternate timeline with a visit to the day of the Moonshot, bringing that series’ Agent J back in time to meet a young Agent K at the Apollo 11 launch and face an alien threat, as Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who also accomplished in the episode “Day of the Moon.” As with these other genre close encounters, in Rom: Dire Wraiths humans apparently knew more than the public was made aware back in 1969. In as many crossovers as we’ve found that featured an appearance by the Dire Wraiths, this story also references the G.I. Joe universe via reference to cyborg Mike Power (and did they refer to The Ruby Files’ Rick Ruby?).
This is a science fiction story for fans of monster comics from the 1950s through the 1980s. The artwork is truly top tier sci-fi. Here is a preview of the first issue and look at some nicely creepy future covers from Rom: Dire Wraiths:
Here is a first look at cover art for Issue #2:
Rom: Dire Wraiths, Issue #1, is in comic book stores now. Ask Elite Comics or your local shop to add this to your pull list.