Published and © by Marvel and Rom © Parker Brothers, August 1980
Title: “The Stalker in the Night!”
Synopsis: The last survivor of a race of mutated reptiles massacred by the Dire Wraiths battles should-be-ally Rom.
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Sal Buscema
Review: This issue’s antagonist looks like a bad ’70s action figure, but Serpentyne proves to be an excellent foil for Rom. Writer Bill Mantlo delivers a nice piece of retconning that establishes both the Dire Wraiths’ penchant for evil and their pre-Rom existence on Earth. An extended fight scene generates some surprisingly poignant emotion, not least of which is a sense of Rom’s nobility. The prolonged battle also gets some pop from the always reliable Sal Buscema, who delivers energetic figure work and above-average fight choreography. An abrupt conclusion is the only mar on this otherwise strong issue.
Cool factor: Sal Buscema always brings strong kinetic energy to his work.
Notable: Flashback appearance featuring Ms. Marvel.
Character quotable: “The Wraith-stink is strong in this hole.” – Rom (umm, eww!)
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on Feb. 22, 2016.