Issue by Issue – Rom #51

rom 51Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Sal Buscema
Inker – Mel Candido
Colours – Ben Sean
Letters – Janice Chiang

It is a day unlike any other in Clairton that begins with a little bit of violence courtesy of Starshine who goes hunting for Wraiths. After killing a couple of them, and after having been consoled by Rom because despite what she may now be, Brandy still has emotions and still feels the loss of her parents and friends. So it is that the two of them head to the cemetery where a funeral is held for the many people that lost their lives at the hands of the Wraiths. It is more ceremonial than anything else as there are no bodies to bury, but it will provide closure at the very least. This issue also takes the time to retell the origin of Rom and the Wraiths and instead of just doing it the same old way that everyone tends to do it, Bill Mantlo uses the event of the funeral and the framing sequence of a newscast to make it a little fresh for the reader. By doing so he also furthers the story as Rom and Starshine have now just told the world about the Wraith problem and has forewarned them about the dangers they face. It is a quiet issue overall, and fairly solemn in tone both in setting and message yet completely engrossing. While a good portion of the issue retreads what the reader already knows, the book turns out to be one of Mantlo’s strongest issues to date. Sal Buscema is still at the top of his game, delineating the proceedings as expertly as ever. Half of what makes this book as great as it is is due to Buscema and his incredible pencils. While there is very little action or adversity this issue, it is not missed or even wanted, so good is Mantlo’s story though with what Rom reveals to the world, it looks like there might be a lot of it going forward. A truly wonderful issue.

4.5 out of 5

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