Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nova's Finest Hour: ROM #24

[IMG][/IMG] rom 24
Writer: Bill Mantlo Layouts: Sal Buscema Mark Gruenwald Research
Joe Sinnott Finishes Jim Novak Letterer Ben Sean Colorist
Allen Milgrom Editor Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter
ROM helms a captured Skrull saucer, preset to find his home planet in the Golden Galaxy.
Who’s ROM? Two hundred years ago the evil Dire Wraiths threatened the peace-loving planet, Galador. In their homeworld’s darkest hour, a thousand brave, young Galadorians sacrificed humanity itself to become Cyborg Warriors, a last desperate line of defense. Though hopelessly outnumbered, these Spaceknights triumphed, and pursued the remnants of the Wraith horde across the universe. Now, alone in the Enemy’s mightiest stronghold, on a backward planet called Earth, one Galadorian Cyborg Warrior faces his most awesome challenge.
His return through hyper space reveals a disturbing surprise: where is the Golden Galaxy? Reed Richards himself prepared the coordinates. Rom is no pilot nor scientist. “I am a warrior,” he says, smacking the control panel,” and I am lost in space! Or worse,” we close-up his shudder, “—as the dire wraiths foretold, Galador no longer exists.”

Sudden movement---a glow---figures converge upon the Skrull ship. Skimmer-mounted Syfon warriors follow their captain, Powerhouse...”and a brash Earth youth named---Nova!”
Like many neat cyber-heroes, ROM activates some internal function---in this case, the respirator---with an external dial or button, then summons his energy analyzer to determine the nature of his confronters. Rom’s appearance often generates confusion in these flesh-based races, and here he is presumed, having failed to acknowledge transmissions somehow from the Syfon band, to be a hostile. Power house springs upon him to drain his power, bursting already with his own. His brief career in NOVA is outlined in four captions, across two panels wherein ROM clearly turns the tables and drains Powerhouse.
Nova calls the troops to encircle the intruder as he and ROM come to blows. While thrusting the young and powerful hero away he declares himself, not a Skrull as accused, but of Galador, and recently, Earth! Nova and Powerhouse now hear him out. His tale leads full circle through his banishment crusade with his Neutralizer and the vision seen upon the “Window of Worlds” that depicted Galador in ruins. Now they confirm he is not in fact there, but in the Andromeda Galaxy, at war with the Skrulls. Nova offers the aid of the Living Computers of Xandar to help him locate home.

They land on a quadrant of the four-planetoid super-structure and therein visit the Queen, Adora, Suzerain of all Xandar. “Hi, ‘Dora” quips Nova, casual and bold. Rom’s presence gains her attention, and she explains the keeper of said knowledge has become the Protector and joined the rest of the New Champions in pursuing the Skrulls, defeated, along with the Sphinx, in the pages of Fantastic Four 204-209. Nova and Powerhouse remained to safeguard Xandar, to little or no real action or news. Months have gone by now since he enjoyed Earthling company, and now in this idleness, to hear his many missed loved ones are, with his home planet, in danger from an invasion, as well? (While not identified, his supporting cast appears in cameo.)

Yet, the hour of joy arrives, with an ebullient messenger heralding the return of the victorious Nova Corp. Our Earth-created Nova feels futility, having stood sentry for months, away from home, and away from the victory as well. Rom’s pondered how, at this point, the mission did not end on his world, leading him to this path. He cheers Nova: “Now you can return to Earth.”
Crimbeuster, the Comet, Diamondhead, the Protector, the resident Nova Centurion---all stand aboard the bridge of the mile-long ship in orbit. As Nova, Adora and Rom watch, a beam transports the occupants. Their salute to the Queen, however, contains a shocking proclamation (and I could feel the fear of the populace in this terrible moment): they promise swift destruction to Xandar. Now they shift shapes into familiar Skrull forms, and with their laser rifles, begin to decimate the populace in the town square.

They are not, however, utterly defenseless; their spies had reckoned without Rom, whose Neutralizer drives a wedge into their ranks. Rom’s optimism for Nova---who wishes to seek the Corps---runs low, but he grimly wades into the Skrull invaders, to buy Xandar time. They shift shape monstrously, but the Xandarians realize they’ve nothing left to lose and hurl themselves into the last stand effort.

Unless, that is, the skyward-streaking Nova can save the day.
Now, he flies, arcing heavenward into the outer reaches of the imperial dome. Empty skimmers drift ghostlike, his only clue about the escort Syfon Warriors and Captain Powerhouse. How could the Skrulls take out all the Nova Corps? Death ray stabs the pathway of the young hero; he looks into the viewport of the armed Nova Ship...and all doubt’s erased bitterly that none other than Diamondhead commands the Skrulls. Nova sees through the silence: the villain’s betrayed their New Champions confederation and sold out the Corp. Said villain calls for shields: “That young idiot’s going to RAM us!!!”

(concluded, next post!)

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