Issue by Issue – Rom #68

Rom #68Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Steve Ditko
Inker – Brett Breeding
Colours – Petra Scotese
Letters – Janice Chiang

Still traveling through space, Rom is suddenly attacked by a large force intent on killing him. Why, he does not know, but they do not stop to even give him a chance to summon his translator so that a peaceful solution might be reached.  Finally, Rom is hit and yet, instead of killing him, he is able to shrug off the blow thanks to the human half of his cyborg body.  Taken aboard the people’s mother ship, Rom soon learns that they are in a war against a robot army, one that has overtaken their planet and one that is of their own making.  Agreeing only to sue for peace between the two cultures, Rom discovers that in some cases, peace will ever be elusive.  What is quite interesting to see in this latest adventure by Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko is that despite all of his years as a Spaceknight and all the years previous to that, Rom is still capable of learning and experiencing something new.  He has seen war and been the catalyst for peace, he has been in the thick of it and has come out the other side and yet, the devastating effects that one race or one people can have against the other are always soul-crushing.  What makes this story a little more unique is the fact that it once again shows Rom having to make a choice between man or machine, much like he has previously when deciding whether to stay a cyborg or to claim his humanity.  It had always been an internal conflict, one that only Rom was privy to.  Here, it is as if those battles were now made flesh and instead of choosing one over the other, he decides to bring the two together if he can, much like he did within himself.  This was a fantastic issue in every way and as the book has moved along from the war with the Dire Wraiths, the stories being featured are those that delve deeper not only into science-fiction, but into Rom’s sense of being.

4 out of 5

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