Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The last ROM post
Rom's blow sends Firefall painfully hurtling towards the road ahead of the FBI agent/ Wraiths. Brandy acts: she opens the door on the laser-wielding agent, hit head on by Steve’s car. She wrestles the driver, leadin to a crack-up. Steve rushes to her, and watches as the driver changes: its true form, barely glimpsed, leaves smoldering, foul-smelling dust in its wake. They emerge beside the final confrontation between Rom and Firefall. Now he tells of his friend, Karas, who we see swim and save impetuous, human Rom in the earliest flashback of the series.
To owe one’s life on Galador sacredly links “two individuals as surely as marriage links lovers!” (Well, sometimes! Nowadays marriage has fallen a bit out of style...but you know how old-fashioned Rom is!) Rom and Karas, when the war came, both learned of the forms and powers they would possess before the conversion that grafted their forms to spaceknight steel. “ Manning the front line, awaiting the foe,” at first glimpse of the enemy Firefall bolted forward for “first blood.” Then the Wraith fleet fell upon them all.
Stryker refuses to believe in Rom’s story or humanity, and becomes the repository for the spaceknight’s seething rage. He knows Firefall armor and Karas are inseparable here, save in death. Thoughts of his fallen brother man lead Rom to bring the pain. Firefall now grasps the truth and says he’s “become like you!” Rom points out, so long as he serves the Wraiths, he is “nothing like Rom!” Preachy ending cue.
Rom questions how his form has changed him, too: the Prime Galadorian directive is to value all life “in its myriad forms.” Deciding not to take that life, he decides, even with, as Steve points out, his own at risk, was “true victory.” While Stryker begins to lose his mind a bit, realizing “T-the armor...it won’t come off!” Rom stands contrite but proud beside the couple.
“Such is the danger of my quest, that in fighting evil I will be corrupted by it. On that day, my goal of peace will vanish like a dream ...and my soul will submit to the savagery of war!”
(The dialogue’s SO devoted to exposition or duplicating the picture; I believe those failings might remain with later issues, at the cost of more interesting characterization. I imagine though Rom himself would mostly be silent without it. The flaw reinforces the “kid’s comic” interpretation that prefaced most of the skepticism going in.
Remember, they went through months of formulation to come up with a way to tell Rom’s story in the first place. It’s got a compelling visual element overall, but one can’t help re-imagining it. Sometimes you enjoy a comic book for what it suggests and what it might have been---just remember, even your disappointments tend to be tinged with inspirations of redemptive qualities.
Now we’re back where this thread began. I feel like, for the present, it’s where I’ll end it. The original plan involved Rom’s memories and his interpretations: those would’ve made this issue a more interesting read. I feel the call of my own work, though ---at least the call of a workout! Back to the “Read Only Memories” plan: It’s hard to discern his thinking in some of these early plots---before he came into his own. Jo Duffy recalls this series with enthusiasm, so some of that came out in lighting this electronic toy with a bit of childlike wonder and more thoughtful storytelling that made the premise memorable.)
2016: ROM made it back! He's now in the IDW stable, as captured by Chris Ryall and company. Rom is now part of the Hasbro-based shared universe, as launched this fall in REVOLUTION.