Issue by Issue – Rom #49

rom 49Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Sal Buscema
Inker – Ian Akin, Brian Garvey
Colours – Ben Sean
Letters – Janice Chiang

The Dire Wraiths have had enough of being defeated at every turn by the Spaceknights and so with this issue, they go on the offensive. Their target is Clairton, adopted home of Rom and they are not holding back, doing what we have seen many times before as they start to become exact duplicates of the townspeople at the high cost of human life. When Rom and Brandy finally return home, it is hard to say if there are any actual residents left or if each person they encounter has been replaced. After a lot of horror and a lot of soul-searching, Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema bring our heroes back to Clairton but instead of just giving them a break, they up the stakes by making it the worst scenario possible. With dozens of Wraiths, perhaps even hundreds, the creative team have not made things very easy for Rom and Starshine. This could possibly even be the hardest mission they have ever encountered as well, not only because of the physical threat that the Wraiths embody, but also the emotional toll it will take on them as they realize that most of their friends and loved ones are gone. So after arriving in Clairton, Rom is already suspicious, having had hundreds of years of experience on his side and yet Brandy tells him everything is fine, appealing to that emotional spectrum that Rom insists is not there. It is that play between the truth and Rom’s beliefs that have been making this book a lot of fun as Rom clearly has the emotions he so categorically denies. Whatever the case may be, after the crazy cliff-hanger the book is left on, things do not look too good for our heroes. Although you can never doubt the power of good, things just might turn out badly for Rom and Starshine in the next book.

4 out of 5

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