Review: Rom #3

Rom #3 cover
Cover by Frank Miller and Terry Austin

Rom #3
Published and © by Marvel and Rom © Parker Brothers, February 1980

Title: “Firefall!”
Synopsis: Rom continues to search out Dire Wraiths on Earth – and uncovers a plot to free his mortal enemies from limbo!

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Sal Buscema

Review: The Dire Wraith menace appears to have sleeper agents everywhere: the U.S. military, the Senate, even S.H.I.E.L.D. So, when they need to recruit a human to battle Rom, it’s obvious their best candidate is … run-of-the-mill robber Archie Stryker? Umm, OK. This use of Stryker takes a little willful suspension of disbelief but, once accomplished, writer Bill Mantlo delivers another solid issue. The Wraiths’ use of a fallen spaceknight’s armor against Rom provides some nice human pathos for our cyborg hero. On the art side, Sal Buscema delivers his typical mix of clean storytelling and energetic figure work.

Grade: B

A Rom pinup from Rom #3
This unused Rom #1 cover by Al Milgrom eventually saw print as a pinup in Rom #3.

Cool factor: Check out that Miller and Austin cover. That Bronze Age combination didn’t happen nearly enough!
Not-so-cool factor: Yeah, still having a problem with that Stryker guy.

Notable: With a Parker Brother ad for the Rom toy and two house ads for the Rom comic in this issue, one gets the sense the powers-that-be were serious about this series succeeding. … This issue also contains “A Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up” of Rom by Al Milgrom. Reportedly, this pin-up was an earlier iteration of the cover to Rom #1.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Wreckers of chaos! Devils from the Dark Nebula! I am here to thwart your evil designs!” – Rom, spaceknight, who seriously dislikes the Dire Wraiths

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on Jan. 11, 2016.

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