Sunday, October 24, 2010
Marvel Comics Group's Rom, the Spaceknight: Firefall
Myebook - D'n'A Comics #1 As promised: the
online version of DNA #1!!!
Archie Stryker watches film footage of Rom’s battle with the National Guard. All the language used around him reinforces his belief: Rom’s an inhuman killer from the stars, and not tanks, not fire, nor nothing man could do would stop him from turning his death ray onto those he chooses. A Silver Star (for Valor) winner “in Korea, 1952”, the arrested burglar says: I may be a criminal--but I ain’t never killed anyone who didn’t have just as much chance of killing me!” The charges can be dismissed; a Senator, General, and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. assure the disbelieving Stryker there will indeed be a price, and “the beauty of it is we aren’t asking Stryker for anything he doesn’t already want himself! So let us help you help us, Archie---by giving you the power to destroy that alien murderer---Rom!”
Rom stands dull grey in the pale moonlight, upon a hilltop before the crater of his rebirth from space, into a world that sleeps “untroubled by his presence.” He thinks of the one who knows of him: her name is Brandy Clark, and her fear was first of all he has encountered. But with his Translator, he was able to convince her of his mission to cleanse the Dire Wraiths, and thinks back on the tale he told her, of the surgical sacrifice of much of his body, all his senses coated in everlasting cyborg armor. Now he summons forth his analyzer, to alleviate the anguish of remaining without his full humanity to this day, for only one goal will end it: his beam searches out the Wraith activity, clustered at the bottom of a mine within the Earth.
Brandy’s weary return to her apartment, drained as she thinks of Rom’s neutralizing of people she thought were human, and his mission, and her lonely doubts of sanity. Apparently, two men with a badge await her in her wrecked apartment!
Now for two pages, Stryker runs an obstacle course simulating combat in woods rigged as enemy territory. His conditioning and reactions are pushed to the limit, to show those limits to him as well, for now he’s prepared to see the awesome armor of Firefall. His natural fear at being encased in the heated armor is prodded, as the smexy psychologist insists he is the perfect choice. While he steadies himself for his challenge...
Rom soars into the mines (which we’ll see again two years later), feeling the chill inside as he approaches “Wraith Evil.” Even the light he finds is corrupted, before his crackling sensor-eyes. Sinister Wraith science, within the caverns, conducts a sorcerous attempt to somehow drain “the life of the planet!” His cyborg eyes tell him they are human, but he calls upon the Truth with his summoned Energy Analyzer, to reveal Wraiths who begin to scatter before his sweeping Neutralizer. Reverted to their true shape, the human guises fall off as grisly ashes, and headlong they fall into Limbo.
The jeep-as-desperate weapon is smashed and converted to the boldly-speaking Spaceknight’s hurled projectile, smashing the massive interdimensional transporter dish. Its shattering somehow also causes “unearthly energies” to threaten all remaining Wraiths in the darkness. The TVs, phones, even the microwave ovens of West Virginian residents go on the fritz from the “outside interference.”
Steve walks in on such a commotion sending voltage throughout the Clark’s living room; John and Sarah hold each other. Then Steve says something that fits an earlier era of macho bluster, which I’ll admit could happen to any guy, but he should watch who he’s calling “that headstrong little idiot!” just because “I told her to stay here—to settle her nerves after her encounter with Rom!” I’m glad his car acts up and crackles, too, before he gets cranked. He needs to cool it, because his controlling ways are not going to help her. Point is, everyone else is portrayed as being in fear of Rom, and it serves an arc already in place. He does care.
He arrives to find her abandoned apartment in tatters.
Meanwhile Wraiths beg for death before the eternal banishment of the Neutralizer. Their screams haunt Stryker, now clad in the massive, flaming flame-themed armor of Firefall, his head full of paranoid poison, his limbs filled with one bold Earthman’s blood and power with which to attack Rom amidst the ashes of “those who dared to stand against him!”
Rom’s shocked; the potent assault bears pure Galadorian flame, such as once scattered the Wraiths themselves back to the Black Nebula. “What vile blasphemy is this?! The living fire is the symbol of the spaceknights! Its light sanctified our quest! But now the living fire is turned against me!” Soul and armor are licked painfully by a force he knows no Wraith could wield, and suddenly he fears for the man who should be within the armor he finds. “Karas, is it you?” he says, with a soul-wrenching cry. Do the eyes of an old friend lie within this embodiment of the molten core of Galador? But hate rings out, in the voice of Archie Stryker...”but you can call me...Firefall!
(Yes, they were taking Earth energy and sending it to another location in space/time, which, if you think of it afresh, is fascinating. I’ll tell you about the “inner-dimensional” fate of stolen emotional energies via our own “This Star Fallen!” Nov. 1st!)