POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #73 and ROM #23 (1981)

iron fist versus rom

ROM the Spaceknight is no match for kung fu.  But as for Luke Cage…

ROM IN A TRENCHCOAT…He doesn’t fare as well.

This is Greg LaRocque’s first issue as artist.  He’s my favorite artist of this series.

Reed Richards hires Power Man and Iron Fist to track down ROM.  They fight and yodda yodda then become friends. Then, ROM goes home.  This is a HUGE story, and, other than the first issue, the best issue of ROM so far.  Lots to talk about, so I’m not even going to mention the interlude where Torpedo is trying to clean up the mean streets of Clairton, WV.

ROM goes to New York to get the Fantastic Four’s help in figuring out how to go home.  As soon as New Yorkers see him, they all start to freak out.

Despite their attempt to give him a “costume” so he can blend in.  (You have to love that look, right?)

In the grand Marvel spirit, Bill Mantlo offers a series of reaction shots from some of Marvel’s biggest stars and one of its newer, lesser knowns…


The best reaction, though, is Iron Man, who is worried people will mistake him for ROM.

Uh…There’s really no chance of that, Tony.  Sounds to me like you’re scared and rationalizing.  Or, putting a better spin on it, maybe he doesn’t see the big deal about a guy walking around in armor.  Frankly, with a new superhero/super-villain fight every day in NYC, it is kind of surprising that so many people are freaking out about ROM.  Remember, it was recently established that he is here to protect us—not hurt us—when his destruction of dire wraiths was caught by news agencies.  So this really seems like a bit of an over-reaction.

rom #23 h.e.r.b.i.e. security system

ROM finally makes it to the Baxter Building where the doorbell doesn’t get him in so, like everyone else, he just breaks in. When he does, he meets the new H.E.R.B.I.E.s (remember, Franklin Richards blew up the original), which now stands for Human Experimental Robots employing B-Type Integrated Electronics.  They’re the defense system.

When they get through the robots to the Fantastic Four, we see something truly novel: No punches are thrown.  Instead, they actually talking things out, and Luke Cage concedes that no dire wraith is smart enough to sound like Reed Richards.  (Seems like specious reasoning—the wraiths have conquered interstellar travel and have figured out how to infiltrate American culture, after all.)

The FF give ROM a space ship so he can go home.

Also, during the fun, we get a blurry shot of Mayor Koch demanding that his team protect NYC from ROM.

Creators: Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema (Rom); Mary Jo Duffy and Greg LaRocque (PMIF)
Grade: B-
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

 

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