IDW (May, 2016 for Free Comic Book Day)COVER ART: Zach Howard COVER COLOR: Nelson Daniel LETTERER: Shawn Lee PUBLISHER: Ted Adams ROM: WRITERS: Chris Ryall & Christos Gage ARTIST: David Messina ADDITIONAL INKS: Michael Pasta ACTION MAN: WRITER: John Barber ARTIST: Chris Evenhuis COLORIST: John-Paul Bove EDITOR: Carlos Guzman
Rom comes to Earth again for the first time in the title story. There is a fire brewing in the woods in California, only this time the military is investigating. The source is Rom, who recognizes some of the soldiers as Dire Wraiths (which I guess Marvel can’t use anymore, either–actually I’m surprised Marvel didn’t go for the rights again since IDW apparently knew who to contact) and eliminates them. However, unlike the Marvel comic where they’re sent into another dimension this version of the Neutralizer really does look like it’s blasting through them. The surviving soldier and cop learn of the Dire Wraiths before Rom takes off. So not immediately assuming he’s the bad guy, possibly because they saw one of the Wraiths transform, consume the life energy of one of the cops and leave a mark of some kind on the other.
Personally, I would have preferred it looked less gruesome when Rom neutralized a Wraith. I’m also not a fan of the new design, although it could just be the artist as it looks better in the promo “poster”. He just looks too thin and lanky when the original Rom looked more like a guy in armor even though he was actually a cyborg. I understand that they want to update the look and I didn’t mind when they did it to RoboCop. And like I said it looks better, not as lanky, in the promo art and cover. I’m curious but the verdict’s still out.
In the center are “turnarounds” for Rom with the same lanky design (I do like that the weapons are not built-in), and promos for The Bill Mantlo Support Fund, the new Micronauts comic, and the next Transformers series/miniseries, Till All Are One as well as a reading guide that misses all the early IDW Transformers comics and just focuses on the past few years. Last Stand Of The Wreckers is the earliest mini/ongoing series there.
The next story features Action Man, and while closer to the TV show I reviewed once than the Mainframe version, it’s still very different, but I’ll get back to that. Action Man goes into stop Doctor X’s doomsday device and retrieve undercover agent Ian Noble. The only way to get rid of the device is to carry it into space on a rocket, which Action Man does, making the ultimate sacrifice, and leaving Ian as the NEW Action Man.
So no amnesia, no hint that Action Man and X knew each other as kids, the support crew from the show still isn’t present, but at least it isn’t about an extreme sports star on the most ridiculous tracks this side of Hot Wheels who saves the world with mathematics and a cobble-together cyborg version of Doctor X. I kind of like this story and maybe in Britain the story for the toy franchise is different, but I wish I could see the old concept and characters back. This just feels like another spy story.
Overall not a bad sampler and you may want to check these out. From what I hear Rom’s story does appear in the first official issue of the main title, but I don’t know about Action Man’s. So you can check out at least one of them if ComiXology doesn’t have it up. This is it for the new(ish) comics. When I get back I plan to finish the graphic novels I have access to.