With Rom’s second annual, Sal Buscema and Bill Mantlo deliver a tale from the past that sees our hero discover the horrors of the Dark Nebula for the first time. Chasing a Wraith fleet there, he finds that the planet is unlike any he has ever seen before. It is dark and noxious with poison gas and chemicals for an atmosphere with the surface little better. How it could ever support life, even those twisted like the Wraiths, is beyond his comprehension. But, since it is his sworn duty, not only to the Galadorians but to himself as well, to hunt down the Wraith menace wherever he finds it, down he goes and into what, he does not know. The horror and menace of the Dark Nebula are brought to vivid life by Mantlo and Buscema and they do a great job of putting forth not only the physical setting but the mood as well. It is a dark and dismal, evil place and it makes you wonder how one man can conquer an entire planet. Such is the dilemma that Rom finds himself in and it is not too long before he is outmatched and in need of rescuing. To that effect, the Prime Director of Galador sends out a rescue team of Spaceknights which include among their number Tarm the Seeker, Plor the Pulsar, Vola the Trapper, Unam the Unseen, Raak the Breaker and Skera the Scanner. They too have never seen anything as evil as the Wraith’s home world and once there, they find that it may also be too much for them. Luckily, with a little teamwork, they manage to overcome the many perils that face them and save Rom in the process. As usual, the artwork by Buscema is beyond compare, proving once again why he is one of the best in the business and the story by Mantlo is not only one of adventure and horror but drama too. We are privy to the thoughts and feelings of these Spaceknights, of how they never expected the war to go on as long as it has, with all of their doubts and fears coming to the forefront. In the end though, just as they prevailed against the horrors of Dark Nebula, so too do they overcome their inner-selves and vow to keep fighting the Wraiths until they are vanquished for all time. Action-packed and filled with everything that makes a good story good, the second Rom annual is definitely worth a read.
4.5 out of 5