Issue by Issue – Rom #5

ImageWriter – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Sal Buscema
Inker – Sal Buscema
Colours – George Roussos
Letters – Michael Higgins

Rom, Brandy and Steve are hiding out from the Dire Wraiths as Project Safeguard searches for them.  Safeguard finds Archie Stryker in his damaged armour and as Archie overhears them talking he realizes just how wrong he was about Rom, which comes far too late in the game to make any sort of real difference.  Rom and company take off after being exposed by the Wraith’s hellhounds and take shelter in a house far away from danger for the night.  But as they go to sleep and Rom winds down for a bit of rest, a supernatural entity comes alive in the house and looks to do them harm, specifically Brandy and Steve.  The creature, The Dweller in Shadows, was formerly banished by Dr. Strange and now it is up to Rom and his Neutralizer to do the job that Strange had seemingly failed at.  Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema do a fantastic job with this issue delivering a ton of suspense and excitement from cover to cover, not to mention a decent bit of horror with the addition of this classic Marvel monster.  It is a little strange to see how the tides have turned against our hero as he was the one who had the Wraiths on the ropes and now it is the other way around and of all the bad luck to choose a house that was haunted, they ran straight into evil while trying to escape it.  Enough cannot be said about how good Buscema’s art is in the book, or just in general.  With just a single headshot on the second page of the book featuring the metal hero, Buscema is able to portray anger, worry, care and more making Rom just as human as anyone else.  Factoring in a villain that is a little different than the norm, though just as much a monster as the Wraiths are makes this a nice change, not that the book needed one this early on in its infancy.  All in all, this was a truly wonderful story that grabs the reader from the first page to the last.

5 out of 5

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