When you start reading Rom, you know that you are in for a great ride as it reads like an epic, as if you are about to go on a journey bigger and grander than anything you have done before. Bill Mantlo gives it that larger than life feeling and you cannot help but think that what you are about to read is a science-fiction opus even after the first few pages. The book itself opens up with Rom arriving on Earth and saving a woman just before she veers off the road for the sake of not hitting him. He is on a mission and he has a determination about him to see his mission through. That mission? To eliminate the Dire Wraith presence wherever he might find it and right now, it is amongst us. As Rom goes about his work he encounters fear and hostility as he realizes humans are not as advanced as the Galadorian race, but he will do what he must to overcome.
Even though this book is your essential good versus evil story, Mantlo manages to inject it with enough humanity, action and suspense to keep the reader intrigued. Rom seems cold at first but when making your way through the tale, he is anything but. He is a passionate man and he loves his people and like any other person, he is complicated and it is probably a sure thing that Mantlo will explore every aspect of our hero’s character in future issues. Sal Buscema, while never receiving the acclaim his brother did, is an excellent artist in his own right. His run on the Incredible Hulk stands as one of the best on the book, so it is no surprise that this first issue is done so well. One thing that is interesting to see is that the Dire Wraiths have not assumed the form we all know and recognize today. Perhaps in a later book this will be explained.
For a first issue, Rom grabs you and pulls you in to its tale of light and dark, good and evil and there is not too much more that you could ask for. With great writing, great art, a great story and an intriguing lead character, first issues do not get much better than this.
5 out of 5