Taking those away is like giving Spider-Man organic web-shooters, or giving Iron Man a nose, or Optimus Prime some sweet (re: lame) flame decals, Wolverine some retcon'd bone claws, Captain America a non-round shield
(I know- his original shield was not round; but round is his iconic one. All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield!)...
I can go on: It's like taking away Superman's trunks, or Wonder Woman's origin story, or casting Keanu Reeves as John Constantine- it's just a bad decision. And in my opinion- no real fan of the character would ever even dream of doing something like that.
And no, this is not me being nitpicky either- they can make ROM as sleek, and skinny, and non-boxy, and Evangelion-looking as they want- whatever- it's a reboot: I understand that. But when I saw the first picture of the redesign on the cover to issue #0 and it had fingers?: That was a HUGE red-flag for me.
"They're not going to get this character." -I thought. And after reading issue zero it looks like I was right to worry. -Because they do not.
And they should be embarrassed to call themselves fans. -Not because they gave him fingers... you're missing the bigger picture if you think that's all that's wrong here. But the fingers are a symptom of a much larger illness.
You know when you're not sick yet- but you can feel a cold coming on? That's what the fingers were for me. -I was hoping I wasn't going to be sick; but I just knew it was coming- and none of the IDW medicine they were Tweeting-out could stave it off.
So, let's go over The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of IDW's Free Comic Book Day offering:
ROM The Space Knight #0
Firstly: I'm not a negative person. And I fucking love comics- I've been reading them on a weekly basis since I was old enough to read- and I'm 36 now! So we'll kick things off with...
1.) It is the year 2016 and I am holding a brand-spanking new ROM: Spaceknight comic in my hands!
Let's not balk at that- just because it might not be what we wanted exactly. It's still a NEW ROM COMIC!
I never thought I'd see the day- just the fact that it exists is fucking amazing! I figured Marvel would hold on to, and do nothing with, the character for the rest of my natural life. So this comic's very existence is a positive in my book!
2.) The weapons. I love the weapon redesigns! Of course non-boxy Neon Genesis-ROM can't have a giant box for a weapon. That would just look silly.
-The Energy Analyzer!
I like it the most: That. Looks. AWESOME! Two big red eyes/censors on the back of his hands! -The pose he makes... it's fantastic looking! That was a really cool moment for me (that was quickly ruined- see way further down below).
2.5) I also liked when the facade of the Dire Wraith's was fading- and you could see their rifles were really these weird bio-mechanical guns... It's a nice little touch I wish there was more of:
3.) I'm going to put this panel in the positives, even though I did not like the overall design of the "Wraith Hawk"- I liked the gross, moving, pulsating, organic feel to it in this single panel. Reminded me of the Lexx ship from the science-fiction show of the same name...
Again, more of this- less of just about everything else:
4.) I'm really reaching for nice things to say... in an attempt to be as fair as possible. The over-all redesign (although I'm not a big fan) CAN look pretty damn awesome with a better artist at the helm, as this ad for issue #1 in the back of the book proves:
-That looks fucking amazing! Why couldn't he look like this on the inside of the book?!?
In fact; just about EVERY variant cover I have seen has a better looking ROM on it then we get here, or are going to get in issue #1, (still) by David Messina.
Now, one thing I am NOT going to do is pull up images from the original Marvel run and compare them to this- because that would not be fair to this AT ALL. It will stand or fall on it's own merits.
1.) That being said: anyone else notice the writing on this is...... not so great?
ROM's dialogue is horribly groan-worthy and jarring...
The writing's not consistent with it's own continuity either- look at the text block preamble here:
-Okay, that's perfect! Right?
So why is it that the Dire Wraiths are not only not scared of ROM at all when they see him; but act like his order is the one that has already been defeated, and not theirs?
-They show no fear, no hesitation- they attack him head on! Like he's not a big deal at all- and certainly not the one who "alone could wipe them off the face of creation."
There's not one line of 'Oh, no! It's HIM!' or 'What are we going to do?' or a scene of one Wraith who maybe panics and tries to run away... Nothing. They basically just say 'fuck you, ROM!' and rush him like he's the last guy they need to take out to win the war!
-Where was ANY of that in the book itself? I know it was only 13 pages- but come on.
That's some inconsistent storytelling.
That's like if the preamble block of text in a current Spider-Man comic talked about him being married to Mary Jane. Is it so hard to pay attention to what's happening in your own story???
It just makes it more obvious there are two separate writers (Christos Gage and Chris Ryall) and one came up with the over-all story bible, and the other is writing the individual issues- but they are not communicating well, or at all.
2.) Shouldn't the Analyzer expose the Dire Wraiths in their true forms? -Especially in ROM's own damn point-of-view shot???
|"It is him." is just a factual statement- there is no fear or worry behind it: so point #1 still stands.|
Ohhhh... this different color circle means they are Dire Wraiths... that's... that's...... lazy art.
3.) So... How big, exactly, is the re-ROM? In the first shot of him- he seems towering! As he should be! ROM always seemed to be a good seven or eight feet tall in the original books. And he was built like a tank. A fucking war-machine.
But there is only one, ONE, panel in this entire book that shows ROM in proportional frame with an average human... and he's in a weird hunched over position:
Why? Again, a bad (or lazy) decision by the artist- here was your ONE CHANCE to show his relative height. "-Behind me human!" -as the massive alien knight stands in front of the indigenous life-from to shield him from harm! What an impressive shot that could have been!
But no... he looks feeble instead.
The only other shot where people (Wraiths in disguise) are in frame with ROM makes him look like he's just slightly taller than an average male. -From a story-telling perspective: If ROM was shown to have a good two and a half foot height differential on the cops/soldiers/Wraiths in disguise- then when you saw the first Wraith(Wolf) attack ROM and it was hulking over him; it sure would have been a lot more impressive.
It's like Mr. Plinkett says "You may not have noticed it… but your brain did."
1.) What's with the altered striations on the back of ROM's head? I know I used this panel in The Good segment- but this part of ROM's re-design is just ugly...
That panel takes place after ROM in knocked back by Earth's "crude weapons." So my initial reaction to it was: "Holy shit, he got all dented up when he fell back on his head" but no, no... that's not battle-damage; just bad art on a weird design choice. Usually you can't see it- but look:
-The art here makes it look like a brain.
That just looks awful. The entire panel is terrible- but his head looks especially bad.
I think they are going for the face-plate being able to be lifted up- like on an actual knight's helmet? Like it would hinge at the ear... But that makes no sense.
I miss the toaster-head. I know it technically had them too- but not like this.
...not like this.
2.) The Wraith Hawk is our first look at a brand new Dire Wraith design... and it is terrible:
It looks like what you'd get if you told a little kid to draw a monster with his crayons- and then you took what he drew and applied whatever artistic skill you had to make it look slightly better...
I know there will be other designs for different Wraiths- but they lead with this one?
-That does not inspire confidence.
3.) This art, in general, is just not good art. It's stiff, not fluid or conducive to storytelling- I often could not tell what was going on, or where people were in relation to one-another.
ROM was drawn first by the amazing Sal Buscema, then later on by (how you may feel about his current work notwithstanding) The Legend: Steve Ditko. So you WOULD THINK IDW would try and pull a top-name artist to do the book, or a fantastic new up-and-comer. Someone's art you would look at and go: "WOW! This is continuing the legacy!" Especially for the first, and free, issue that's being used to promote the ongoing book! They should have went ALL OUT. -This is ROM's return to comics! It's a celebration! Right?
This... this is not "all out." This is generic, middle of the road, standard indy-title fare.
Some people are comparing this comic's art to the art in the much maligned Spaceknights mini-series Marvel put out in 2000, but...
...no, just no. Like that series or not- and the art may suffer from the same kind of stiffness; but it's award-winning compared to this. I would MUCH rather have that artist on this book. -I mean, if the DeviantArt-anime-style is the look they were going for anyways for this reboot- Chris Batista did it better:
The comic ends with a display of some armor variations- because I guess it can morph to be adaptable to different situations, which is a cool idea...
...but honestly; the differences are negligible to the point of "why bother..."
And it's yet another failed opportunity- to have his most armored form resemble his classic design. Seems like that would be a no-brainer.
3.) The cash-grab.
12 variant covers (and counting) to books ROM has nothing to do with. -And you couldn't even put out a decent "first" issue? This is pathetic.
And ROM The Space Knight #1 is going to have 12+ variant covers as well. IDW seems more concerned with banking off of legacy and nostalgia then they are at putting out a decent product. And that is both obvious, and sad.
If they would have put half the energy into the writing and art that they did with Tweeting shit about it- this could have been a pretty great book.
In conclusion: The entire thing seems like it was slap-dashed together over a weekend.
I'm getting NO sense of love or care going into this- despite their MANY Tweets to the contrary...
I will check out issue one- in spite of issue zero, not because of it- in that regard they failed big.
But I want to see what a full issue will look like. This was just 13 pages. -And it feels last-minute and rushed as fuck. I'll read a full issue- but chances are it will be more of the same... And that's SUCH a shame.