By Christos Gage, Chris Ryall, David Messina, Michele Pasta
There’s an old cliche that comic books are for kids. You know what? Some comic books really are for kids, but what is wrong with that? These days, more often than not, a comic book deemed “age-appropriate” or “all-ages” could just as easily be called a “comic book”. Clearly that sort of label is in place to let parents know it’s a safe bet for kids, but to the adults out there, most of these books are just good old-fashioned comics made for fans of the medium…pure and simple. ROM #1 proves that point hands down, and is in fact a superbly constructed book. No, it doesn’t blow the doors off of any one particular genre, but it really doesn’t need to. It doesn’t revolutionize the character of ROM, made popular by Sal Buscema at Marvel back in the ’80s, but why should it? To employ another old cliché, if it’s not broken, don’t mess with it. Update it and present it professionally keeping in mind that there are a ton of other books to compete with out there already. And if for some reason a new first issue, like this one, isn’t in your budget then consider that this is part of IDW’s REVOLUTION tie-in, a partnership between the publisher and Hasbro toy properties, which will ignite nostalgia in just about anyone.
ROM has a refreshingly retro vibe without being silly. The Space Knight himself even talks in a manner reminiscent of ’80s comics. He has a blunt and matter of fact tone, talks excessively to himself and others and uses unrealistic dialogue. And there isn’t a darn thing wrong with it. It feels more than right, it feels good. It’s pure fun and made with precision and care by a stellar creative team; nothing but professionals working on this book. They delivered an issue #0 for Free Comic Book Day 2016 that would be extremely difficult to find a copy of now. But don’t worry the 11-page story is here in issue #1 as a prologue.
Despite seemingly intentional corny dialogue at times you gotta hand it to co-writers Christos Gage (Angel and Faith) and Chris Ryall (Zombies vs Robots) for delivering what amounts to a somewhat complex plot line in an otherwise clear-cut story. Nothing is what it seems, the safety of the planet is threatened and danger is everywhere. Gage and Ryall have a lot of original source material to use as inspiration and it would appear most everyone involved is a true fan anyway. And, just like in the original Marvel run, ROM has potential for crossovers, especially with IDW’s aforementioned tie-in. You’ll have to read the book to see what that means as of this first issue.
David Messina (Angel) pencils while Michele Pasta (Suicide Risk) inks and together these guys turn in some very traditional comic book art with a subtle classic vibe. That said the panel layouts are modern and dynamic full of action and drama. Messina circles back on colors too, which is a special touch that only further exemplifies the care that goes into ROM as a book and as a character. Originally back in the day, ROM was a toy with a promotional comic attached that took off and became a successful part of the Marvel universe. Now, thanks in part to this fantastic art duo, the book has a chance of returning to it’s former glory.
Leave it to IDW to make what was old new again! REVOLUTION has more high points than low points, so far, and you can count ROM as one of the peaks. The story is as much about twists as it is about delivering a straightforward comic. It’s unclear to what degree ROM’s role will play in the bigger picture, or if he’ll show up in other titles, but one thing is obvious, the creative team here is out to give us something to enjoy. If for whatever reason it’s a shorter lived series than planned, readers will at least have a really exciting and fun story with high quality artwork worthy of your collections. ROM is for everybody!