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ROMTROSPECTIVE: ROM Spaceknight #41-75

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Released
February 23, 2015
Time
32:21
Previous
Next
Tagline
Will ROM regain his humanity?! Will the other heroes of earth actually DO something about the Dire Wraiths?! Will all our problems be solved by an all-powerful being in a disco suit?!
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Linkara (v/o): Previously on Atop the Fourth Wall...

(Cut to a clip of Linkara's first video on "ROM Spaceknight")

Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up the first forty issues of "ROM Spaceknight" all at once) "ROM Spaceknight #1-40" and behold the saga of the greatest of the Spaceknights!

(Cut to Some Jerk with a Camera, as he sits in his car, talking on the phone)

Jerk: (gasps) Eduardo got deported?! (gasps again) Eduardo got sold to a law firm?!

(Cut to Lotus Prince, who holds up a computer chip)

Lotus: That's right, Linkara. I now possess all of Pollo's data, and unless you follow my instructions to the letter... Well, I'd say that it would be a shame if something would happen to this little chip, but I'd be lying.

(Cut back to the Jerk, still on the phone)

Jerk: (gasps) Eduardo got fired from the law firm?!

(Cut to Calluna)

Calluna: (crying) The bloodshed, the lives lost, the heartache, those sleepless nights, never knowing... It's all been worth it... (takes a box of French Toast Crunch) They finally brought back French Toast Crunch cereal!

(Still crying, she opens the box and eats the cereal directly from it with her hand. Cut back to the Jerk, still talking on the phone)

Jerk: (gasps) Eduardo thinks he's a chicken?! (gasps) Eduardo got amnesia?! (gasps) Eduardo doesn't think he's a chicken anymore?!

(Cut to Heisanevilgenius)

Heisanevilgenius: (speaking Spanish, with translation subtitles underneath) Mrs. Bananawienerpetermeyer, I'm afraid your baby... is pregnant... with rattlesnakes.

Mrs. Bananawienerpetermeyer: (also speaking Spanish, with subtitles) You slept with my ancestors!

(She pitches a glass of water in his face. Cut to an Asian guy being chased down the street by a dinosaur. Then cut to a guy dressed as a doctor)

Doctor: If I go around the country tricking doctors into thinking I'm a real surgeon and then telling YouTube personalities they need a procedure, I could get every music reviewer on YouTube a lobotomy so I'm the only smart one left ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET! (laughs evilly)

(Cut again to the Asian guy, still being chased by the dinosaur, with the chase now going along a freeway by the side of a hill. Then cut to Ryan Molina talking on the phone)

Ryan: The only thing that you ever cared about was my wallet and my bank account!

(Cut back to the fake doctor, who has shaped his hand like a finger and thumb with eyes on the finger. He opens and closes the "mouth" so that it makes the evil laugh. Cut back to Ryan on the phone)

Ryan: Oh, but I can still pick up my Nintendo 64, right? I left it at your mother's house. (beat) What?! Noooo!

(He falls over on the floor. Cut back to the Jerk, STILL on the phone)

Jerk: (gasps) Eduardo's a figment of my deranged imagination?! (beat, then gasps again) There's no one on the other end of this phone?!

(Cut to two guys, played by the same man, looking one another. One is stroking his chin in thought)

Guy 1: Dammit to hell, after fifteen inconclusive medical tests and a bunch of unhelpful Spider-Man comics, we still have no idea which one of us is the clone.

Guy 2: We must consult the Oracle. Only he is wise enough to help us unravel this mystery.

(They look to a TV, on which a man in a cloak appears, with his back to the two)

Guy 2: Oh, great and powerful Oracle, we are in desperate need of your help.

(The man turns around to look at them, played by this same man as the first two)

Guy 3: Yes?

(The first two guys look back at each other in open-mouthed shock. Cut again to the Asian man, still being chased by the dinosaur. By now, he's quite winded as he continues to run)

Asian man: Why does this keep happening to me?!

(Cut once more to the Jerk, STILL on the phone)

Jerk: (gasps) WHO'S EDUARDO?! (looks up and screams) I'M GONNA CRASH!!

(He covers his eyes with his arms. Then we cut to black)

Linkara (v/o): And now, the conclusion.

(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has audio from a commercial for ROM playing in the background)

Announcer: This is ROM, the Spaceknight. You can imagine he comes from another galaxy with his flashing neutralizer. Activate ROM! You can imagine...

(Cut to a closeup of the first issue's cover)

Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Last time on "ROM Spaceknight"...

Linkara: I spent forty minutes already detailing this stuff already; just watch that video. When you're done, come back here so we can dig into (holds up another batch of "ROM" comics) "ROM Spaceknight #41-75".

Linkara (v/o): Before we continue on with the cliffhanger of last time, let's first take a brief look at one of the ROM annuals. There are a few places, continuity-wise, where this could take place, but it is at times kind of difficult to be certain because of the serial nature of the issues. Basically, what happens is that ROM, on the trail of a large area of Dire Wraiths activity, comes across a group of children who have had a great deal of their life force absorbed by a being calling himself Stardust. The prologue seems to imply that he comes from some kind of sentient galaxy or star calling itself "The Body". It's banished to the depths of space and naturally arrives on Earth.

Linkara: Seriously, did this happen on other planets, too? Do we have a big sign on the other side of the moon saying that we have vacancies and low rates?

Linkara (v/o): Stardust starts attacking Dire Wraiths and absorbing them into its form, in the process actually defeating the Dire Wraiths' plan of jamming devices that would make them immune to detection from ROM's energy analyzer. ROM politely asks for the energy of the kids back, since he doesn't really give a crap if Stardust is killing Dire Wraiths, but Stardust refuses. There's also a backup story set 200 years ago, where ROM is betrayed by another Spaceknight in another complicated gambit to learn the Dire Wraiths' secrets that ended with his death. That knight's name... was Gloriole. Glori-ole!

Linkara: (looking uncomfortable) I know you expect me to make some kind of joke out of that, but... my brain is broken trying to think of something. I'm pretty sure it was completely accidental, too. Nobody caught this! Or they just had a horribly dirty sense of humor about this comic for some reason.

Linkara (v/o): But anyway, let's get back to the main series for a bit. When we last left off, Brandy and Starshine had merged into a single being, but had been mind-controlled by Dire Wraith Doctor Dredd. I love alliteration. ROM had prevented a powerful Dire Wraith creature called "The Dweller on the Threshold" from crossing over to Earth, but was trapped on the other side of a portal with it. So how is ROM going to get out of this one? Well, with the help of none other than Doctor Strange. The good doctor quickly learns of the Wraith threat and how they were hidden even from his knowledge.

Doctor Strange: 'Tis a battle bought for the salvation of Earth-- waged by a man of another world against an unholy harbinger of horror!

Linkara: (as Doctor Strange) I, Steven Strange, am also fond of alliteration.

Doctor Strange: It is not the way of Doctor Strange to remain neutral during such a clash!

Linkara: (as Doctor Strange) I am going to impose so many sanctions!

Linakra (v/o): Doctor Strange travels to the other dimension to aid ROM in his fight with the Dweller on the Threshold, while back on Earth, Brandy as Starshine wrecks Clairton up quite a bit. Even the torpedo is smacked aside by Starshine when he tries to intervene. Starshine and Doctor Dredd teleport away so they can kill ROM upon his return. Speaking of, ROM and Doctor Strange compare notes and use a spell to detect the largest concentration of Wraith activity: in the Soviet Union. Strange teleports ROM there, but unfortunately, he can't work on the Wraith threat right now, due to other threats that call out to him.

Linkara: (incredulously) Okay, like half the Marvel Universe's heroes know about the Wraiths now! Is anybody else actually gonna do something about this?!

Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, one thing has been made clear from the last several issues, including the one right before this: ROM is miserable and desperate for his humanity again. The Dweller on the Threshold even almost succeeded in tempting ROM with a vision of his humanity. He finds a machine in the heart of the Wraith activity that promises to clone him a new body if he gives up his armor to the machine... and ROM accepts. The computer, Quasimodo, actually has a pretty long backstory, spanning multiple different series, but I'll spare you the details. Basically, he's allied with the Dire Wraiths and he indeed honors the bargain with ROM, giving him a human body again while he possesses ROM's armor. However, while Quasimodo is more than happy to say, "Screw ROM," he also realizes that the Dire Wraiths might at some point declare him a threat, so he uses the neutralizer to banish them. ROM goes through a ton of emotions about the whole thing: happy at having restored his humanity, then wondering if he made the right decision, but ultimately feels that he's done enough. Plus, with so many of Earth's heroes now aware of the threat, Earth is in good hands.

Linkara: (sarcastically) Yeah, they've done such a bang-up job of fighting the Wraiths so far.

Linkara (v/o): ROM soon discovers the cloning technique is imperfect and degeneration will start settling in soon.

Linkara: And after ROM discovers that his original body is still active, he decides to become the Scarlet Spaceknight.

Linkara (v/o): Quasimodo, however, soon discovers he has nothing to celebrate, since Starshine and Doctor Dredd arrive and attack, thinking he's ROM. Before Starshine can actually kill him, Quasimodo finally abandons the body. In his rage over what he's done to Brandy, ROM murders Doctor Dredd and collapses in Starshine's arms. Starshine, now freed of the control, naturally has no friggin' clue how to put ROM back into his old body, but they're aided by a Soviet scientist named The Gremlin. The Gremlin, as it happens, is the son of the Gargoyle, the guy who fought the Hulk in his first appearance. Long story short, he learned that the Soviets are responsible for his father's death and wants the aid of the Spaceknights in gaining his revenge. As it happens, my Clone Saga joke may be more apt than I originally thought, since indeed, the clone is dying, with a separate mind from the restored ROM.

Starshine: Two ROMs?!

ROM: The original and the clone. Both exist now, for a time.

Linkara: (as the Gremlin) No doubt Judas Travel-Wraith will be along soon to make really stupid experiments about this whole thing.

ROM: Destroy the humans within the exoskeletal armor, Gremlin? Take from them their humanity as mine was stolen from me? No. That I can never do. Human life is too precious.

Linkara (v/o): I suppose you could argue ROM never actually killed anyone, since it was the clone who murdered Doctor Dredd. Buuut as I said last time, he did deliberately kill some Dire Wraiths already, so this attempt at maintaining ROM's morality doesn't ring true for me. Anyway, the clone dies and tells the two to embrace their love, since, being alive, that is the greatest gift of all.

Starshine: But you are... alive!

ROM: I am a cyborg.

Starshine: You are a... man...

Linkara: (with his fists up and looking to the side) YOU ARE A MAN!

(As he does usual punch offscreen, his fist appears behind him and punches his hat off his head)

Linkara: (utterly dumbfounded at what happened) The hell?!

Linkara (v/o): After telling the Gremlin of the Dire Wraith threat, he suspects that they've invaded several levels of the Soviet government. And indeed, the Wraiths recruit a team of Soviet superheroes to fight them, including one that's basically just a half-man, half-bear.

Linkara: And dirty Commie or not, (points to camera) you just have to respect that.

Linkara (v/o): After a brief battle, the Soviet superheroes soon realize that the Wraiths are their true enemy. The plan of the Russian Wraiths is to resurrect long-dead, extinct animals and unleash them on our heroes. Yes, zombie dinosaurs and mammoths and other creatures! Dear Lord, do I love comic books! After defeating them, our heroes fly off, but unfortunately, ROM has to be a major buzzkill. He's convinced that the love he and Starshine feel for each other is unnatural while they remain in cyborg bodies, and that while Brandy could be separated from Starshine, he can still never be human ever again.

Linkara: Dude, this woman dug up the corpse of your ex-girlfriend and merged with her body so she can have robot sex with you! If that screams (makes "air quotes") "unnatural love" to you, well, mister, (points to camera) you've got a lot to learn! (nods)

Linkara (v/o): As I mentioned last time, there's a bit of a schism in the Dire Wraiths. It seems there are gender and philosophical disparities. Dire Wraith women are usually the sorcerers and magic users, while the Dire Wraith men propose science, and it was them who suggested the warships that first got them to try to invade Galador. Male Dire Wraiths are the ones that look like Hairy Scary, while the females look like if nightmares were painted pink. Or like chewed bubble gum. After 200 years, the Wraith witches have had enough, decreeing that this action is what caused them to be dispersed from their home world and their continuing failure to conquer Earth. As such, they slaughter the male Dire Wraiths and declare that from now on...

Wraith witch: Magic* shall define the ways of Wraithkind upon Earth!

  • NOTE: The witch actually says "sorcery", not "magic".

Linkara: (as the Wraith witch) Why? Because it's magic! We don't have to explain it!

Linkara (v/o): Let's take a break from the main action and check in with "ROM Annual #2", which tells in more detail how ROM went to Wraithworld after the war to continue hunting them and force them to flee their world. While they escaped, they trapped ROM on the planet with a spell that made him see Dire Wraiths everywhere, forcing him to fight everything around him.

Linkara: But really, how could anyone be fooled by such a simple‐

(He suddenly stops as he looks over to his side with a start)

Linkara: Oh, my God, MY CHAIR IS A DIRE WRAITH!!

(He aims his magic gun at the chair in question and fires at it)

Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, a group of other Spaceknights sent from Galador retrieve him and break the spell. In the wake of these events, it's now here where ROM declares they have to hunt down the Wraiths throughout the universe, even though he was supposed to have done that on Galador in a previous flashback.

Linkara: Then again, ROM was traveling through space for 200 years. This is why it's important to keep a diary on these things, (points to his head) or else you forget the fine details.

Linkara (v/o): Back in the main book, ROM continues to be mopey over the next few issues, craving his humanity more and more. He even wonders if he should become as ruthless as the Wraiths if he ever hopes to win the war... or even if he wants to win the war at all when there's nothing left for him now after it. Starshine tries to convince him that their humanity, their very souls are worth keeping up the fight, even to the point of taking things on faith. Buuut unfortunately, her humanity betrays her upon their return to Clairton. In their absence, the new all-sorceress Dire Wraiths have upped their game. Instead of merely copying the residents of the town, they pretty become them, killing the originals. That includes Brandy's parents and Steve. They hide themselves from Torpedo's Wraith Detector and set a trap for ROM and Starshine. Their magics aren't powerful enough to kill the Spaceknights, but they are able to hurl the two through several alternate dimensions so they can't return.

Linkara: Because, you know, piercing through alternate dimensions? (waves dismissively and scoffs) Child's play! Beaming a bomb inside ROM's head? (amused) What do you think they are, magicians? (stops being amused and looks aside as he realizes what he said) Oh, wait...

Linkara (v/o): The massacre of the town continues into issue 50, sadly, where Torpedo is killed by the Wraiths. It's a damn shame. It's like they're clearing the deck of all the side characters for no good reason. It's senseless, which I suppose is the point to drive home the need for humanity and goodness in the face of all these terrible things. However, narratively, it's unsatisfying. There are things that you need to do in stories to reflect reality, but other things you most certainly don't have to do. It's still a fictional story, which means characters shouldn't just die pointlessly. You don't need to kill them for dramatic effect. In the previous fifty issues, the threat has been enough. It comes across more like you don't know what to do with them, so instead of finding proper closure for the characters, you just take them out of the toy box, snap them in half, and toss them in the garbage. But let's get back to the story, shall we? ROM and Starshine, stuck in the other dimension, are soon set upon by the shadowy inhabitants of it. Starshine has lost her will to fight now that everyone she loves is dead.

Narrator: This is a space between spaces...

Linkara: (confused) It's the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

Linkara (v/o): ROM convinces Starshine to fight by reminding her of the same words she spoke to him, plus of how many more people will die if the Wraiths aren't defeated. Starshine swears off her life as Brandy, declaring her dead, and fully embraces herself as Starshine, her Spaceknight body molding itself into a new form.

Starshine: In RAGE and in REVENGE let STARSHINE be REBORN!!!

Linkara: (as Starshine) In rage and in revenge, let my new headfin rise!

Linkara (v/o): ROM quickly realizes the mistake he's made, since Starshine has basically gone a bit kill-crazy. In the meantime, though, an unexpected force arrives on Earth in the fiftieth issue to save the day: the Skrulls. I only glanced over them last time, so let me explain the Skrulls a bit for non-comic readers. They're an alien race frequently seen in the Marvel Universe, primarily because they have the same trick as the Dire Wraiths: they're shapeshifters. They've tried to invade Earth and secretly conquer it multiple times now...

Linkara: You see what I mean when I said last time that aliens are pulling this kind of crap all the time in comics? I'm surprised any regular humans are still around at this point.

Linkara (v/o): ...and of course all times, they failed, though Marvel has used them before to bring back dead heroes, like, say, the ones who died were Skrulls in disguise or something. The most recent example of this was a crossover event from a few years ago called "Secret Invasion".

Linkara: However, The Last Angry Geek, who you should also be watching, in his review of the event's main comic, more aptly named it ("air quotes") "Damn Obvious Assault". He is correct.

Linkara (v/o): However, that's a tale for another day. In the meantime, Starshine strikes at ROM when he tries to stop her from killing the Wraiths, and he in turn threatens her to do no harm. She just calmly walks away in her rage.

Narrator: ROM realizes that Brandy Clark's humanity is gone forever.

Linkara: (as narrator) Which really sucks because she still owes him some money.

Linkara (v/o): The Skrulls explain that the Dire Wraiths are actually an offshoot race from theirs, one that embraced dark magic and eventually led to war with the Skrulls. The Skrulls were victorious, but the Wraiths escaped into the Dark Nebula to continue their plotting. Since their exile from the Nebula by ROM and the Spaceknights, they've also begun infiltrating the Skrull empire. So now, they're just as hellbent on fighting the Wraiths as anyone else. These Skrulls are called away to deal with stuff happening in another book, telling ROM to keep up his own job on Earth. And what a job it's done, with half the town in flames and half the population dead. However, some good does come from this tragedy. In the mass funeral for all those killed in the last few issues, reporters descend on the town to figure out what's going on here. As such, ROM and Starshine share their story of the Wraith threat to the entire world, showing holograms of what's come before. It's another jumping-on issue to get any new readers up to speed.

Linkara: What? No, no, no, no, you can't have new readers jumping on to a long-running series! You need to start up a new book from issue 1, give it a holofoil cover, have Wolverine and Deadpool guest star, and give away a Mr. T trading card!

ROM: Heretofore I have attempted to seek out Wraithkind in secrecy, fearful of alarming humanity at large.

Linkara: (as ROM) Now you can all rest easy, knowing that your friends and loved ones might in fact be horrifying demon wizards from beyond the stars that want to eat your soul. Glad to be of help.

Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, in the wake of all this death and misery that has occurred recently, it seems ROM has had a change of heart and now intends to kill Wraiths instead of banishing them.

ROM: The tide has turned! The moment to be merciful has passed! Whereas, before... I banished Wraithkind off Earth, to the shadow realm called Limbo--

Linkara (v/o): Er, wait, SHADOW REALM?!

Linkara: (incredulously) The Dire Wraiths play "Yu-Gi-Oh"?!

Linkara (v/o): Also, I don't get it. It's frequently said throughout the series that death is preferable for the Dire Wraiths to being banished, since the Limbo dimension doesn't have anything for them to do.

ROM: Now that you know the enemy is among you, will you yield your world to them-- OR WILL THE EARTH RISE UP AND FIGHT??!

Linkara: (as ROM, imitating his pose) Mail your answers to "ROM Spaceknight, PO Box 495, Clairton, USA".

Linkara (v/o): The Dire Wraiths of course now realize that things have turned against them, and in issue 52, they answer ROM's call for war by going out into the open in total war with him and humanity. The army works with ROM as the Wraiths attack and devastate a small town on the Eastern Seaboard. In the wake of so many lives lost or destroyed, even Starshine's newfound anger seems a bit tempered. Aww, don't feel bad, guys. Why don't you go see Return of the Jedi, like that poster suggests? Or, uh, you guys can watch a pile of bodies be set ablaze to avoid pestilence and disease on the battlefield. That'll cheer you right up, I guess.

Linkara: (as ROM, awkwardly) So, uh, anyone want to call the Avengers or the Fantastic Four to see if they're up to helping us out? Maybe Brute Force? No? Okay.

Linkara (v/o): The government sets up Project Wraithwatch, working alongside ROM to pinpoint all Wraith activity on Earth and finally do something about it. The Wraiths counterattack by launching a full-scale assault on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, which of course is defended by the badassness of Nick Fury, but also lots of guys in yellow jumpsuits.

Linkara: It's actually a brilliant tactic by S.H.I.E.L.D. Not even the Dire Wraiths will shapeshift into something that awful-looking.

Linkara (v/o): The Wraiths try to fight S.H.I.E.L.D. using spells on the deck of the helicarrier, but this helicarrier has a trick that the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't: it can go up into space. Aaand my comparison of these Wraiths to chewed bubble gum takes on a frightening new reality, as you can see. After this attack, Nick Fury joins ROM and Starshine to meet President Reagan to discuss the situation.

Linkara: Gotta love the sliding timescale of superhero comic books, especially when superheroes meet multiple presidents in what is supposed to be a timespan of less than four years.

President: The question remains... Now that we accept that there are, indeed, alien invaders infiltrating our Earth--what are we going to do about it?

Linkara: (as ROM) Well, I think we should make a public statement calling for the Dire Wraiths to tear down this Dark Nebula.

Army General: Nuke the space-scum!

Linkara: (stares) Why are you at this meeting?

Linkara (v/o): Shockingly, the "nuke normal citizens to get at the Dire Wraiths disguised as them" plan is rejected, and the President prepares an address to Congress on their next move. From there, ROM and Starshine head to the Pentagon to coordinate efforts. We learn the Dire Wraiths are striking pretty much everywhere on Earth, spreading plague in some areas and attacking ships at sea with mutated sea monsters. It's pulling everything we've seen the Wraiths do up until now. ROM is also hesitant to share details on mass-producing the energy analyzer, since he fears the plans falling into enemy hands and thus developing countermeasures to them. It's not an invalid concern, considering we keep seeing Wraiths able to infiltrate the highest ranks of government. Plus, ROM points out that even with other analyzers, Torpedo was fooled by the Dire Wraiths altering his perception of the data in front of him, so there's no guarantee it'd actually help. The President makes his speech to Congress and the military, confirming that the threat is real and even has some visual records. He says this is not being broadcast to the world for fear of alarming the public and making them even more paranoid after ROM's broadcast. Because secrecy about an ongoing threat that people have already been made aware of can only result in good.

Narrator: The President's speech is interspersed with dramatizations, based on visualizations woven from the living light wielded by the Spaceknight Starshine, depicting in Dire Wraiths in the act of assuming human form.

Linkara: Ah, nothing like practical special effects, am I right?

Linkara (v/o): There should be primetime TV coverage of an alien piercing its tongue into a dude's eye and said dude crumbling to dust. The kids would love this! Fortunately, the President has great news: he's just signed a mutual defense pact with almost every nation on Earth to join together and combat the Dire Wraiths.

(Cut to a clip of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace)

Superman (Christopher Reeve): There will be peace when the people of the world want it so badly... that their government will have no choice but to give it to them.

Linkara: (confused) So, Superman IV was right??

Linkara (v/o): What's really sad is that it turns out the Dire Wraiths were just the invention of "Ozymandias". But yeah, that's great: the nations of Earth united against the threat. Superheroes across the world are brought together, so now America can call on the Fantastic Four and the X-Men and the...

Narrator: A recent attempt to contact a number of America's own super-heroes has failed. The Fantastic Four, Avengers and others seem to have simply vanished.

Linkara: (incredulously) What?! Oh, come on! What could they possibly have been doing that would've taken them away from this moment– (he suddenly stops, however, when he sees he's holding a "Secret Wars" comic in his hand) Oh, hey, how did this get in my hands?

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, it's actually kind of brilliant in that regard by having this revelation occur while so many big names are involved in the event comic, "Secret Wars". I mean, let's face it: these guys are heavy hitters, and if actively involved in the war, it'd be over fairly quickly.

Linkara: And considering they're trying to keep this information out of the hands of the public, it makes a neat parallel to the event. ROM, too, is engaged in a full-scale secret war.

Linkara (v/o): Following this announcement, attempts are made to find new ways of detecting the Wraiths without ROM's energy analyzer. The first idea is to use S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who also happen to be psychic... because superhero comics. But unfortunately, the Wraiths catch on quickly and use their own magic to counterattack and burn out any Esper who comes close enough to detect them. Fortunately, they decide to bring in some magical assistance of their own to protect the S.H.I.E.L.D. psychics and their goofy helmets: Doctor Strange! Unfortunately, the dude's busy most of the time, so all he can do is cast a spell to protect their agents and then leave again to go collect his check for the cameo. But anyway, with all these heroes out of the picture, who can team up with ROM next? Well, how about professional sidekick Rick Jones, who you may recall from back in the Hulk's origin? Even he admits in the story that he has the tendency to become the sidekick to the Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel and others. His blood has been tainted by gamma radiation, and doctors inform him that he has a good chance of postponing cancer if they periodically replace his blood. Unfortunately, this comes right in the middle of a Dire Wraith plan to infect blood banks and blood stores of humans with materials that cause a monster to burst from their chests. And I don't mean like a traditional Xenomorph chest-buster; these things are pretty much fully grown from the get-go. I can't imagine how uncomfortable these people must have been right before these things clawed their way out. Fortunately, Rick is saved this fate by the fact that one of his orderlies gets his chest busted... What, did this guy get a blood injection the night before or something? ...before Rick's blood could be tainted. Next issue, ROM and Starshine head out to the town of Beaver Falls.

(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Prince of Space)

Mike and the Bots: (singing) Here we go off to Beaver Falls, / Beaver Falls, Beaver Falls / Whoo! / Here we go off to Beaver Falls, / So early in the morning...

Linkara: Oh, I love it when comics serve up these reference opportunities on a platter. Good times. (chuckles) Well, except for the people with monsters exploding out of them. That sucks.

Linkara (v/o): Beaver Falls is in Canada, and unfortunately, the Wraiths manage to flood an entire town despite the efforts of ROM, Starshine, and Canadian superhero team, Alpha Flight. The purpose of the flood was to carry tainted water, cursed by a spell, into almost every section of Canadian soil...

Linkara: Which I guess you can do with a single lake. I mean, how big can Canada be, really?

Linkara (v/o): Ant-Man soon arrives to help as well, although I should note that this is not Hank Pym, but rather, another character named Scott Lang. At this point, Hank Pym had become Yellowjacket... because Hank Pym changes codenames and costumes around so much, you'd think they were trading cards... and Scott took over. The good news is that everyone is back from "Secret Wars", so now the Avengers have been informed of the Dire Wraith threat, and they've apparently fought the Wraiths over in their own book. Hell, there's a lot of tie-in stuff going on. ROM even encountered the Hulk in a team-up book. However, we're not gonna cover that, since we're trying to focus on the main series itself. Anyway, by analyzing Hank Pym's shrinking formula, ROM and Starshine are able to shrink themselves with Scott to investigate what's going on under the earth. There, they find ants mutated by the tainted water, and ROM quickly realizes what the plan is. The insects and small animals transformed by the water will soon be eaten by larger animals, tainting them, which will in turn taint humans who hunt them. It's not exactly instant world domination, but it's pretty clever.

Linkara: And this, my friends, is why I prefer my pesticide- and chemically-processed junk food over your so-called health food. (chuckles) Although, the weight loss might be worth turning into a horrible demon monster.

Linkara (v/o): Ant-Man is sent back out to warn the people, but he emerges from underground to find people already under attack by tainted insect swarms. ROM and Starshine, meanwhile, shrink themselves even further, hoping to stop the taint spell directly at the molecular source.

Linkara: (concerned) Uh, ROM, I-I-I don't think you can banish quite enough molecules to make a difference.

Linkara (v/o): Ant-Man summons an army of flying ants to combat the tainted ones.

Ant-Man: My friends, you heard me! You came! We'll be fighting your relatives, fellas! But something's been done to them... something evil-- and unless we stop them, they'll swarm over the entire Earth until neither ant nor man is left to stand against them! So what's the word? Are you with me?!

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Spike (James Marsters): Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): The Wraith taint spreads surprisingly quickly, as even people in Canadian cities find themselves besieged by mutated animal life. Fortunately, ROM has a plan once they shrink down small enough to reach the Wraith taint itself. Destroying it won't do any good since all it'll do is cure one ant. Instead, ROM decides to treat it like a virus, strengthening the ant's immune system against it. I'm pretty sure, from the small amount of research I did, that ant immune systems don't quite work like that, but whatever. The ant is able to create antibodies against the Wraith taint, which ROM then spreads via the taint's connection to all the other infected animals to kill it off and spread the cure as far as it can. And apparently, ants can still indeed talk, according to this comic.

Ant 1: You destroyed the evil within us, Spaceknight--

Ant 2: --and made us whole once again!

Linkara: (as ant) May your Queen reproduce in generous quantity, Spaceknight.

Ant 3: We will ever stand ready to aid mankind in defending our Earth from the Dire Wraiths!

Linkara: (as ant) We shall disrupt the picnics of any Dire Wraiths we come across!

Linkara (v/o): In the next issue, Rick Jones has a prophetic dream supposedly of Wraithworld, but then soon sees...

(Cut to a clip of an episode of The Simpsons)

Homer Simpson: Statue of Liberty... (becomes horrified) THAT WAS OUR PLANET!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Starshine, in the wake of ROM being able to solve the Wraith taint problem without having to exterminate all the infected and even making friends with the ants, realizes that she's becoming the inhuman machine that ROM always feared he was, and that he's displayed more humanity than she has, and suddenly realizes how it's kind of crappy not being human anymore. Upon finding a little girl named Cindy, who shares the memories of a Dire Wraith who was killed while trying to replace her, our heroes soon learn of the greater plan: why the Wraiths have been trying to corrupt humanity so viciously, why the massive taint upon the land and creatures. They're trying to turn Earth into a new Wraithworld. The story continues in "ROM Annual #3", where Hybrid once again reconstitutes himself in human form. He's taken in by a priest... and naturally kills everyone around him until ROM and Starshine arrive to deal with him. However, Hybrid separates Starshine from her armor, both to mock her and for his plans to breed and create more like himself, but with the assistance of Professor Xavier and the New Mutants, Brandy is able to banish Hybrid once again.

Linkara: Well, regardless of the circumstances, she is at least human again, for better or for worse. (beat) So anyway, it's time for the end of the world!

Linkara (v/o): Every single Dire Wraith on Earth gathers in the sky over a city and creates a "star disk" that pierces the sun and creates a black spot upon it that begins to spread out. The purpose of this is the "world merge", a spell that will absorb the sun and make it merge with the black sun of the Dark Nebula. In turn, Wraithworld will merge with Earth, destroying all life upon it, but making it more than habitable for the Wraiths. It's their final gambit. All the remaining Wraiths on Earth have retreated to wait it out. Their only hope now is ROM's neutralizer. Earth needs more, lots more neutralizers and all of Earth's superbeings to wield them. Unfortunately, while ROM is willing now to let them duplicate it, it's just too advanced for them. Over in the X-Men books, one person was able to build a neutralizer: the cyborg Forge. Unfortunately, resident Marvel douchebag Henry Peter Gyrich used the neutralizer on Storm – her powers are lost for a few years, actually – and thus, Forge refuses to trust the weapon in the hands of the government.

Linkara: Wait a second! The government did something... (gasps and covers his mouth) IMMORAL?! (stares, wide-mouthed) What a shocker, Forge! (sourly) Where the hell have you been for the last forever?

Linkara (v/o): ROM goes to Forge directly to ask for his help, but he still refuses, fearing its use in the wrong hands. ROM is optimistic about human nature and the inherenet goodness of people, but Forage is more cynical about it. However, when Dire Wraiths attack outside his base to try and lure him out, ROM shows him the folly of denying help to humanity and he swears to assist. However, instead of arming as many as they can with neutralizers, they instead make the next most rational plan: build a single, giant neutralizer in space. Brandy, meanwhile, soon learns to embrace her humanity again alongside Rick Jones when she offers comfort to Cindy and sees her as her new family. Cindy's own parents were killed by the Wraiths. The hope is to use the neutralizer to rid the Earth of all remaining Wraith activity and cancel out their spell. However, the Dire Wraiths soon manage to freeze ROM before he can use his power to activate the neutralizer. The final battle for Earth comes in issue 65. In a ruined city, the Dire Wraiths gather around the frozen ROM, taunting him of his failure, of the end of the world, and how he stands alone against them. They are soon proven wrong.

Captain America: The heroes of Earth would never surrender their world without a fight!!

(There is an explosion and the word "AWESOME" pops up to a heavy metal riff)

Linkara (v/o): Yes, it seems Rick Jones and Brandy put out a distress call for the heroes of Earth to come to ROM's aid. And they all answered.

Linkara: And that, everyone, is why it's nice to be a professional sidekick sometimes. You make so many friends.

Linkara (v/o): And like with "The Technis Imperative", we see that an event doesn't need to have the death of characters in order to show how serious the situation is or to cause drama. "ROM" is not an event comic. Hell, it's a toy-licensed comic for a toy that wasn't even being sold anymore. And yet, after 65 issues of ROM fighting alone, the stakes growing larger and larger, seeing the threat the Wraiths bring first-hand, and the fate of the world unclear, we can see in this story something more awesome and glorious than half the big crossover event comics where heroes are slaughtered for no good reason, or heroes fighting each other, or the dark, dreary depression that comes with some of those tales. The superheroes of the Marvel Universe stand alongside ROM and fight a great evil. We're invested in these characters after everything they've been through: emotional connection, a difficult journey, and a triumphant finale. That's all you need! Brandy frees ROM by... kissing him...

Linkara: Okay, having a few less idiotic tropes would be nice, too, but this is still awesome.

Linkara (v/o): Well, I say the kiss frees him, but the narration makes it clear it could have also been the Dire Wraiths weakening due to the heroes attacking. ROM flies up and powers the neutralizer, firing instead upon the approaching Wraithworld. Wraithworld is banished by the power of the neutralizer and, as I said last time, is also the source of the Wraiths' magic. Without their sorcery, the Dire Wraiths are now trapped on Earth and unable to change form and thus no match for the heroes. All the remaining Wraiths are banished by ROM in the following issue, ending their threat once and for all.

Linkara: Except for all those Wraiths on other worlds who now find themselves in a very embarrassing predicament. Well, sucks to be you guys!

Linkara (v/o): The assembled superheroes go their separate ways, declaring ROM savior of the Earth for all he's done. Although, much like in Man of Steel, calling him a savior while there's smoking ruins in the distance is kinda iffy. From here, ROM wants to leave, since his job is done. Brandy begs him to stay and continue defending the Earth from threats, but he says he couldn't be happy here without his humanity to truly enjoy it. Brandy is distraught by losing her family and doesn't want to lose ROM, too, but ROM reminds her that she's kinda started to get close to Rick Jones and Cindy, so maybe she could settle with him.

Linkara: You're gonna make me sing "Love the One You're With" again, aren't you?

Linkara (v/o): And so, ROM heads out into the infinity of space to explore. Sooo, story over, right? Well, no, because we have nine issues left and another annual. The next two issues are standalones that you could easily see as part of a sci-fi anthology or the like, the first about a world of sleepers who can only come out briefly to enjoy their world a day at a time before it becomes uninhabitable for long periods, then the other about a war between humans and machines that ends with both sides utterly destroyed. Issue 69 has ROM encounter Ego, the living planet.

Linkara: What? Of course there's a living planet with a face and a mustache on it. That's just science right there.

Linkara (v/o): However, two of ROM'S fellow Spaceknights have been taken by Ego, who aims to devour them, but fortunately, ROM rescues them. After that, they detect another Spaceknight, Unam, who managed to use his invisibility power to enslave a large group of Dire Wraiths. Initially, it was just a joke, a way for him to strike at the Wraiths in secret due to their large numbers, but soon he went power mad. The three Spaceknights at first decide to abandon him and believe him broken by all of this, but he begs to come with them to try to atone for what happened. Back on Earth, Rick has terrible pains due to his cancer, but somehow Brandy is able to dispel his pain through a glowing touch she can't explain. It seems Unam isn't the only one who went mad with power. Another Spaceknight, Raak, pursued Dire Wraiths to another world and defeated them so many times that he enslaved them and turned them into his force to conquer the rest of the world. The Spaceknights go to fight him, but Unam sacrifices himself to save ROM, forcing ROM to banish Raak to limbo alongside the Wraiths. But let's head back over to Earth. Now, you might assume, given that healing that seemed to occur with Brandy, that her Starshine powers remained, and where we were heading was her curing his [Rick's] cancer and deciding to head off into space to find ROM or something.

Linkara: Well, that's because you guys actually put some proper thought into this. (waves dismissively) No, no, no, they get all their problems solved through deus ex machina. (beat) I am not kidding.

Linkara (v/o): You know how I mentioned "Secret Wars" before? Well, there was a sequel to that event, aptly titled "Secret Wars II". I've mentioned it once before, and I do want to do a proper review of it some time because it is not very good, but obviously, that time is not now.

Linkara: Basically, the Beyonder, the all-powerful being from the first "Secret Wars", decides he's curious about humanity and heads to Earth to learn how to pee. (beat) Again, I'm not even kidding. Also, he dresses like this...

(He gestures toward an image of the Beyonder that appears in the corner. He is dressed in a white jumpsuit, looking rather like Andre the Giant)

Linkara (v/o): And I thought Blake's 7 was the best example of '70s fashion in the '80s. The point is that, in his travels, he comes across Rick, Brandy and Cindy and offers to grant them their greatest desires. Long story short, Rick's cancer is cured, Cindy's parents are brought back to life – by going into limbo and retrieving their souls or whatever from the Dire Wraiths that had taken them, and Brandy is teleported by the Beyonder to Galador so she can be beside ROM. But before we arrive on Galador, let's cover the final annual real quick. Another Spaceknight finds himself dead and in the hands of the Shi'ar, those aliens that often encounter the X-Men. A doctor decides to use the armor for himself to combat the Shi'ar, since he's sick of their rule under his people. ROM and the remaining Spaceknights encounter the Shi'ar, including Gladiator, who is no doubt on his way to punch the Enterprise, and after a lot of fighting, they team up to discover what happened to the Spaceknight armor that was stolen. They eventually defeat the guy and he dies, and monologues are given about freedom and oppression and whatnot, but the ultimate point is that Gladiator, touched by what has occurred, uses a Stargate to send the Spaceknights back to Galador. Speaking of, Brandy arrives on Galador to... a happy field full of bunnies and flowers and ruined cities and green meadows and seagulls and... Wait... Yyyeah, seems a few things have happened in the last fifty issues or so. Brandy is soon attacked by, of all things, a Spaceknight [Lightningbolt], who makes it clear that he's going to murder her. Brandy even wonders if ROM had been lying about everything he had said about Galador this whole time.

Linkara: Okay, Brandy, I know you're upset, but you friggin' fought a war alongside him against aliens who murdered your entire family. I think maybe you should get the whole story first!

Linkara (v/o): She finds the skeleton of an Angel Elite and its weapon, a Horn of Heaven. And indeed the sonic vibrations from her friggin' battle trumpet disrupt the Spaceknight's circuitry.

Linkara: Plus, I'm also pretty sure she summoned Gondor.

Linkara (v/o): Humans emerge from the ground and kill the Spaceknight, taking Brandy down into the underground with them. They compare notes and we learn what happened. After Galactus sent Galador off to wherever, the citizens of Galador realized that without the Spaceknights, they were virtually defenseless. They put out a call for a new generation of Spaceknights, but this group sacrificed pretty much all of their humanity to be even more formidable in combat. However, since no enemies ever came, the new Spaceknights grew corrupt with their power. When the new Prime Director ordered them to reclaim their humanity, they killed him and seized power for themselves. The human population was decimated, and the survivors fled underground to continue the fight. The few Spaceknights who have returned since then were easily killed by them. Brandy declares she's going to work alongside them to fight the evil Spaceknights, suggesting that they'd have a bargaining chip if they stole all their human remains away.

Linkara: (raising hand in confusion) Uh, why would they care? They're clearly all too happy to be evil cyborgs with superior strength and firepower.

Linkara (v/o): They manage to storm the cryogenic chamber, and Brandy makes the threat against the Spaceknights. ROM and his party teleport right inside of that same chamber.

Linkara: (dramatically) Welcome to (spreads arms out) "Plot Convenience Playhouse"!

Linkara (v/o): Aaand the second generation Spaceknights declare that, indeed, they don't care about their humanity and destroy the cryogenic chambers with their own weapons. The evil knights offer the returning Spaceknights a chance to join them... or DIE!

Linkara: Well, clearly, this is an epic cliffhanger with such a huge dilemma! I wonder how ROM and the other Spaceknights, who have dreamt of nothing else but returning home and living in peace as humans for 200 friggin' years, will respond to such a thing! I bet they'll join them.

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, it goes about as well as you'd think. The other Spaceknights immediately attack. Brandy tells ROM to kill them now that they've got their chance.

ROM: How is it, woman of Earth, that you can have known me so long--and yet not have known me at all? I am ROM, whom others have called Greatest of the Spaceknights! I do not kill! Not even killers!

Linkara: (pointing) BULL... CRAP! While I love this series, it pisses me off beyond belief that ROM keeps declaring how not a killer he is when we have seen multiple times that he has not only killed, but he's also declared a willingness to kill!

Linkara (v/o): The frustration comes from the fact that ROM had one writer. Just one! Bill Mantlo wrote the entire series! How can you forget your own continuity so easily?! This book repeated over and over and over in almost every issue the backstory between ROM and the Dire Wraiths, but can't remember what happened a few issues concerning whether ROM has killed or not?! Ugh! But whatever, this book is still awesome. ROM uses his neutralizer to repel the evil knights, but upon realizing that he won't kill them, they turn their power against him. The combined forces of the human Galadorians and the Spaceknights put in a good fight, but ultimately, all the human Galadorians are killed, and the knights forced to flee with Brandy. The evil knights return to their dark tower to confide with their leader, Dominor. Dominor is pissed about them destroy the cryogenic chamber, but he really can't argue with them when they say they don't want to go back to being humans anyway. They even suggest destroying Galador itself, since it was more suited for humans to live in than they as Spaceknights.

Linkara: What exactly is ideal for you guys now? Does it really matter if you sit on a rock or a comfy chair?

Linkara (v/o): Our heroes detect another group of first generation Spaceknights, seeking out Galador, and ROM wants to contact them, get them to join up and fight the evil knights, but the others figure there's nothing to fight for without their humanity. Brandy finally explodes about all of this, that they only seem to be willing to fight for personal reward, as opposed to just fighting for honor and peace and goodness. It isn't a great speech, but still better than Ant-Man's.

(Cut to a clip of another episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Man: (to another man) Hooray for you. Very happy for you. We banned and bug them.

(Cut back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): The knights head off to the dark tower to launch a surprise attack and use the communication equipment there to signal the knights in space, while Brandy remains behind to seek out some equipment to help them in the coming battle.

(Cut to a clip of The Princess Bride)

Valerie (Carol Kane): (waving) Bye-bye, boys!

Miracle Max (Billy Crystal): (also waving) Have fun storming the castle!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): The knights arrive... and once again, we get ROM talking about discarding honor after all the crap they've been through. After we just had a speech about their honor! Of course. Anyway, the knights go off to make the signal and distract their evil counterparts, while ROM heads off to confront Dominor himself.

Dominor: Greetings, ROM! Once I learned that you had returned to Galador, I knew you and I would have to meet... and soon!

Linkara: (as Dominor) Although, could we wait on this? I have had a long day, and I was just sitting down to watch TV.

Linkara (v/o): Dominor tells ROM that he might want to rethink killing him. He explains that he had thoughts of this genocide even before becoming a Spaceknight, that he thought their race had grown soft and weak. His plan was to repopulate the people using the stored genetic stock in the cryogenic chambers, though obviously that plan has the kibosh put on it now. Dominor says his humanity still remains somewhere hidden and he wants Brandy now to be his mate to repopulate the species.

Linkara: Yeah, good luck with the genetic diversity there, you cone-eared weirdo!

Linkara (v/o): The other evil knights arrive, and Dominor challenges ROM to a final duel, leading us to the 75th issue and the end of the Spaceknight saga. The duel begins, and ROM considers throwing the fight and letting Dominor get away with all this crap, though judging by how the battle is going, he may not have to. Dominor's weapons are indeed superior and injure ROM like he never has before, cutting through his armor easily and destabilizing his circuitry. However, in the end, ROM decides death before dishonor, putting up a proper fight in spite of everything. The other members of ROM's party are quickly defeated, though they are able to get the signal off to the other knights in space.

Linkara: (as a Spaceknight, holding up his finger to his cheek as if communicating) Hey, Steve, I just got this signal from Galador. "Oh, God, it burns! Why, why, why?" (as Steve) Eh, you probably just picked up an old reality show broadcast.

Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Brandy fails to find any weapons, but instead locates some kind of museum, along with a wall that's glowing. Inside of the wall, she finds the tomb of Terminator, still in the duplicate ROM's body. Dominor, during the fight, shoves another Spaceknight into the fray to distract ROM, but this pisses off the other Spaceknights, who do have their own code of honor... just a (sounds confused) different one...? In this case, bringing in a third party to their duel shows Dominor to be a coward, and thus they reveal their ultimate power. Since the second generation was made to be superior to ROM's, they were given the ability to act in concert to eradicate entire planets that threatened Galador's existence.

Linkara: (confused) Yet again, I question this so-called "philosophy" of Galador's about respecting life and crap. Are you sure you didn't just mean the sanctity of tube socks or something?

Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately for them, it turns out that whole planet-busting ability was a big ruse. Dominor put that in as a fail-safe in case they ever turned against him. All the other second generation Spaceknights just explode, along with the tower. Whoops. Dominor suggests that they cease fighting and just work to rebuild their world, but ROM is just curious where the hell he's stored his humanity so that the others wouldn't find it.

Dominor: The blind fools! It was right before their eyes, preserved in the base of my glowing throne!

Linkara: He means his toilet.

Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, it seems that his throne and his body were destroyed in the explosion. Again, whoops. With his dreams dashed, Dominor attacks ROM and demands he summon his neutralizer. He does so, and Dominor kills himself with it, unable to live without his dreams of rebuilding Galador. Brandy arrives with the remaining Spaceknights... and a sphere containing ROM's humanity from Terminator's body.

ROM: I... had thought that my humanity died with Terminator when he was struck down by Galactus! But if it still exists...

Linkara: (incredulously) Wait, nobody bothered to check?! How the hell did Terminator die then?!

Linkara (v/o): And apparently it's really easy to reclaim your humanity. No surgery or anything needed. ROM just reaches out and touches the glowing ball containing his humanity, returning him to his human state. ROM and Brandy will try to repopulate the planet.

Linkara: Yeah, good luck with that, guys. Did none of you stop and think that just because you look human, doesn't mean you guys are actually compatible?

Linkara (v/o): And the other Spaceknights are a-okay with not getting their humanity back. They just wanted to defend their world to the best of their ability.

Linkara: (giving a double thumbs-up) Makes it easy!

Linkara (v/o): Also, were ROM's clothes in that sphere, too? Weird. And so, "ROM: Spaceknight" ends with Brandy and ROM walking off to repopulate the species, no doubt those bunnies in the corner symbolizing what's gonna be happening soon.

Linkara: Despite a bunch of logical hiccups throughout the series, and in particular the ending, "ROM: Spaceknight" is fantastic.

Linkara (v/o): Personally, while I enjoyed the idea of the second generation Spaceknights, I'm disappointed by Dominor as the final boss. I was expecting him to be revealed as someone else, but it never came. Personally, if I had written it, I would have made him turn out to be Hybrid, having reconstituted on Galador instead of Earth. Dominor's eugenics and genocide talk matched up with Hybrid's anyway, and you could argue he figured becoming a Spaceknight would make him superior to ROM, but that's just me. Now, before all of you go off seeking out trades and digital issues in Marvel's story of "ROM", here comes the bad news: you won't find any issues of "ROM", despite his importance to the Marvel Universe. Here's the deal: after "ROM" ended, Marvel never renewed the licensing agreement with Parker Brothers. And they still haven't. No one is entirely sure why no deal has been arranged, but Hasbro did file a trademark on the character in 2012, which led many to think he might be returning... but nothing has come so far, aside from a little collector's toy. In addition, James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, said that he wanted to bring ROM into the film, too, but couldn't because of the legal problems.

Linkara: So if Marvel can't reprint "ROM", why do I keep saying he's so important to the Marvel Universe? Wouldn't the creators just have ignored everything that happened in his book to avoid legal trouble from Parker Brothers or whatever? Well, here's the thing: Parker Brothers may own ROM... but they only own ROM.

Linkara (v/o): Remember, Parker Brothers had nothing to go on with ROM, just a robot toy with some vague descriptions of his accessories. Everything else about the character, his mythology, his supporting cast, the other Spaceknights, the Dire Wraiths, everything about ROM that made him ROM was created by Bill Mantlo, who worked for Marvel. Thus, despite the fact that the comic was produced under a license, everything they created in the book, save for ROM himself, is owned by Marvel. And as such, the Spaceknights and the Dire Wraiths have appeared multiple times in Marvel Cosmic books. There was even a miniseries in 2000 about the Spaceknights featuring ROM's two kids, although the planet's population was fully restored in that, so who knows? Galador did have other colony planets under its sphere of influence, so maybe a bunch of people moved back and helped rebuild. Ultimately, the triumph of "ROM" is in telling an epic space opera in 75 issues that touched on all too human themes of compassion, war, revenge, and what it truly means to be human. Regardless of my snark and my frustrations with the final arc and how rushed it felt, ROM's quest for peace will always live on. Let's hope that someday, Marvel will be able to clear the legal issues and bring back the (trilling R sound) Wrrraithslayer, the Silver Spaceknight, and the greatest of his kind, ROM.

Linkara: Next week, we bring ourselves back full circle, (holds up ROM toy) for if ROM's toy was initially inspired by Star Wars, why don't we look back at how Star Wars itself began in "The Star Wars #1"? (raises ROM toy's arm in the arm) See you then.

(End credits roll)

I am rather curious how the Dire Wraiths plan to propagate their species if they killed all the male species, since we never see a male wraith again after the battle between the two.

Mack Killburn disappears after issue 51, which also sadly means his subplot went absolutely nowhere. Makes me wonder if there were any other plans for the character.

The Wraiths being an offshoot of the Skrulls doesn't really make any sense. They look nothing alike and the Skrulls' shapeshifting in biological in nature while the wraiths shapeshift through magic.

(Stinger: The panel showing Brandy, Rick and Cindy all holding guns are shown)

Linkara (v/o): Hell, they even gave Cindy a gun. Now, that's dedication to your fight for freedom when you hand the ten-year-old a gun.

(end)

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