RUN: 75 issues 1979-86
KEY CREATORS: Bill Mantlo, Steven Grant (1 story) (writers) Sal Buscema, Joe Sinnott, Steve Ditko (artists)
OUTLINE: Rom comes to Earth to rid it of the evil shape-shifting Dire Wraiths
STANDOUT ISSUE: #50 with the Torpedo's death and origin of the Dire Wraiths
DUD ISSUES: No one issue stands out
OVERALL: I recently bought a bunch of back issues and really wanted to like them.  After all, more than most non-Epic titles of the title, it offered an alternative to standard superhero fare. And indeed there are some really good plots to be found here.
 Unfortunately the scripting is painful to read, kind of like Mantlo aping Thomas aping Lee.  Partly it might be a personal taste.  I find that increasingly, melodramatic speech simply does not work for me, whoever is writing it.  And one soon gets really sick of hearing someone refer to Rom as the Greatest of the Spaceknights.  This point is hammered down so often that one wishes that someone had finally showed up with proof that Rom was merely average.  And since the series is hell-bent to establish how great Rom is, it makes it harder to connect with the hero, which is fatal for a series where the hero has no mouth, and thus is limited in facial expressions.
 Not that having a mouth is always beneficial. Steve Jackson's prejudice to Rom's inhumanity gets old fast, though even so, he doesn't deserve one bit of dialogue that comes out of his fiancé Brandy's mouth after Steve reminds Brandy (who is has feelings for Rom which are played out in later issues) of their engagement, Brandy replies, "I don't want to talk about that Steve -- Not now! I just want to find some way to be reunited with the man I love!"  One suspects that Steve was pretty dense not to realize
that a successful marriage was not in the cards at that point.
 I don't want to knock the series too badly.  Mantlo came up with a solid back story, threw in some interesting twists and turns (eventually adding magic to further complicate Rom's life) and made the Spaceknights a colourful bunch.  Even in the plotting end there were some flaws (not enough individuality among the Wraiths, the Spaceknights' leader creating a suit which somehow soaks up just his evil side) but the majority were solid and varied.  It is unfortunate that his scripting was
not up to his plotting
 While the art is solid throughout most of the run, Ditko is not at his best when he takes over, and his art further drags down the last few issues.
RECOMMENDED OR NOT? It's better than a toy tie-in could be expected to be, but despite enjoying most of the plots, the scripting pushes the title into the Not Recommended side
CONTINUITY NOTES: Rom still shows up occasionally in non-powered form, with Turbo taking over the Torpedo suit