Review – Rom: Dire Wraiths #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artwork: Luca Pizzari, Guy Dorian Sr., Sal Buscema
Colours: Jim Boswell, Ross Campbell
Lettering: Shawn Lee
Release Date: 15th January 2020

First announced during the July 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, and penned by a man who had wanted the character of Rom to “return to comics long before I was ever in position to inquire about” writing a comic about him, this three-part mini-series’ opening instalment certainly must have intrigued its 4,599 strong audience with a storyline featuring NASA’s Apollo 11 astronaut crew facing a murderously menacing party of Dire Wraiths during their momentous Moon landing.

However, whilst Chris Ryall undoubtedly provides this nineteen-page periodical with an authentic air of late Sixties life within the confines of a lunar module, his inclusion of the technologically advanced Adventure-One Team – complete with state-of-the-art spacecraft – rapidly disperses any notion that this book is going to focus upon Neil Armstrong’s three-man team desperately fending off the hostile aliens with whatever limited resources they have to hand.

Indeed, rather than portray the complexities encountered by the Eagle’s crew during their historic mission, and the sheer terror a reader might imagine them facing when they suddenly realise that there isn’t “just the three of us in all the universe”, the current President of “IDW Publishing” instead spends a large portion of this publication sedentarily sketching in the backgrounds of its increasingly bloated cast, such as Arsenal, Badger, Hank, Mixmaster, Scalpel, Doctor Sandra Shore, and even NASA’s “first female engineer at Kennedy”, Joann Morgan.

This massive influx of characters arguably would blow the mind of any bibliophile unfamiliar with the “Hasbro” animated series “Inhumanoids”, and it certainly doesn’t help matters when the Long Beach-born author attempts to imbue all four of this tale’s lethal Dire Wraiths with similar individuality; “Spare me from such stupid soldiers. I remember a time when study of the sciences meant something to Wraith culture.”

Luckily however, issue one of “Rom: Dire Wraiths” is blessed with the layouts of Luca Pizzari, whose prodigious pencilling is highly reminiscent of that seen within the pages of the science fiction comic “2000 A.D.” during the late Seventies. In fact, even though much of their ‘screen time’ is spent arguing over whether Russian Colonel Anatoli Kiev is allowed to take a formidable-looking heavy weapon with her or not, the Italian artist’s engaging style automatically emboldens each member of Earth Corps with an air of military might, especially to those familiar with the exploits of “The V.C.s” (Vacuum Cleaners) as drawn by Cam Kennedy.


The writer of this piece was: Blax Kleric
Blax Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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