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ROM: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 1 review

Are you breathing heavily? Are you hearing strange electronic sounds? Your gobsmacked eyes are not deceiving you! It's the first of three fabulous Rom-nibuses. Collecting Rom: Spaceknight #1-29 and Power Man and Iron Fist #73.

Offered in 4 different slipcovers: two from Frank Miller, one from Sal Buscema and one from George Pérez. All four slipcover spines are different too.

Extras include:

Intro by Chris Ryall.

You get all the Space Notes letter columns/pages.

2 unpublished Rom #1 covers by Ed Hannigan and Mike Netzer.

Parker Brothers advert.

3 Marvel house ads.

Comic Reader #169 back-cover.

Sales pitch to Parker Brothers (now part of Hasbro) by John Romita Jr. and Marie Severin.

Original Comic Art pages from Sal Buscema (5) and Greg LaRocque/Steve Mitchell (only 1).

Rom #8 cover art by Micronauts artist Michael Golden.

George Pérez commission from 2013.

Isn't "Read-Only Memory" just a ripoff of Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still? No! Rom is much more than that.

It's a comic starring Rom the Spaceknight, an advanced electronic toy and it's freaking awesome!

Rom of Galador, greatest of the Spaceknights lands in Clairton, West Virginia in 1979 and starts kicking Dire Wraiths derrière right away! But the shape-shifting Wraiths are just the appetizer.

Who else will be smitten by the mighty silver mittens of the Galadorian for this first round? Let's look at the list: Firefall, The House of Shadows, Serpentyne, Jack of Hearts/Jack Hart, Ka-Zar's brother: The Plunderer, Awesome Android, Mad Thinker, Hybrid, Colossus, Wolverine, The Space Phantom, Torpedo/Brock Jones, Nova/Richard Rider, Galactus, Terrax the Tamer, Mole Man/Harvey Elder, Moloids, the Missing Link and a Smörgåsbord of Skrulls.

What I did like:

A little known, poor selling Parker Brothers action figure humbling a whole bunch of Marvel villains and some heroes.

Rom's Energy Analyzer (analyzes enemies and exposes Wraiths in disguise), his Universal Translator and his Neutralizer weapon are all stored in "subspace". The same space where Optimus Prime caches his trailer when not in use. Yes, exactly like the 1980s Sunbow Entertainment Transformers cartoon, weapons appear out of thin air.

The Space Knight cyborg never kills anyone. He sends evildoers on permanent vacation to the Limbo dimension. The Limbo pocket universe first appeared in Avengers comics.

Sacrificing your humanity to safeguard your planet. Trapped for centuries inside a space-suit of armour. If you dig the Silver Surfer, you'll dig Rom even more. Rom even made a small cameo in Silver Surfer: The Animated Series.

RoboCop (1987) fans will remember seeing ROM comics twice during Paul Verhoeven's movie. Jean-Claude Lord's The Vindicator (1986) also has a Rom and RoboCop vibe, seek it out.

Rom #5 is an homage to The Outer Limits episode The Guests (1964, Season 1, Episode 26) and a sequel to a Doctor Strange story from Strange Tales (1951) #120.

Rom #7 The Thornoids are an homage to The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.

Rom #9 is a nice saurian sequel to Ms. Marvel (1977) #20-21.

Rom #24 featured the last Nova story for a long while. He returned only in December 1989 in Thor #411.

Comic book genius Bill Mantlo also gave us the equally fantastic licensed toy comic: The Micronauts (from Takara and Mego Corporation).

Rom's girlfriend Ray-Na knows how to dress.

Inspired by Invaders from Mars (1953) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

What I did not like:

NO pics of the Rom statue from the Jon Mikl Thor show in Queens, New York masterminded by Steve Kapelonis.

No Palitoy Action Man space ranger adverts from the UK.

No pics of the official Rom cosplay costume.

No Bill Sienkiewicz cover for the Omnibus!!! Embarrassing and Lame!!!

No French Rom: le Chevalier de l'Espace... covers from Strange (Éditions Lug).

Almost every single human that Sal Buscema draws looks pure evil or insane. This was a huge turn off when I was a child and still is today.

The fan favourite deadlier "brain sucking" female version of the Dire Wraiths (Skrulls related extraterrestrials from the Dark Nebula), DO NOT appear in this collection.

I give it a 10/10. It's a 100% official ROM Omnibus from Hasbro and Marvel! Noble, tragic, stalwart, perfect, badass, valiant, vengeance seeking superheroes like Rom will never be seen again. Support the Spaceknight! Buy! Buy! Buy!

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