Issue by Issue – Rom #1

ImageWriter – Bill Mantlo, Jim Shooter
Artist – Sal Buscema, John Romita Jr.
Inker – Sal Buscema, Marie Severin
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – Tom Orzechowski

When one starts reading Rom, it is known immediately that they are in for a great ride as it reads like an epic, as if a person is about to go on a journey bigger and grander than anything they have ever done before.  Bill Mantlo gives it that larger-than-life feeling and one cannot help but think that what they 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 the people of Earth.  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 one’s 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 one’s 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 the 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 that title, 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 everyone knows and recognizes today.  Perhaps in a later book, this will be explained. For a first issue, Rom grabs the reader and pulls them into its tale of light and dark, of those who strive to do good and those who know nothing but evil and there is not too much more that one could ask for.  With compelling writing, a story that fails to quit because of it, great artwork and an intriguing lead character, first issues do not get much better than this.

5 out of 5

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