Rom #64

Issue Date: 
March 1985
Story Title: 

Bill Mantlo (writer), Steve Ditko, P.Craig Russell (artists), Janice Chiang (letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist), Mike Carlin (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in chief)

Brief Description: 

While Forge still works on his Neo-Neutralizer, Rom returns to Earth to help alleviate some of the suffering caused by the Wraiths’s spell. He touches base with General Locklin, just missing his friends. After Brandy and Rick prevent Cyndi’s suicide, they decide there has to be some way they can help as ordinary people. Rom finds a congregation of desperate people in a church and tells them his story. However, when he materializes his Neutralizer, they reveal themselves as Wraiths and paralyze him. While Rom is helpless, an increasingly desperate Forge waits for him in space and Rick and Brandy summon all heroes Rick knows to help.

Full Summary: 

There’s panic on the streets, as the Wraiths’ worldmerge reaches a new high and Wraithworld is drawn into our solar system. All across the Earth, cataclysms and conflagrations erupt, triggering devastating climatic change. Seasons reverse themselves and nature herself goes mad, as the sudden manifestation of another world in orbit about the sun disrupts the pull of gravity upon out planet. All across the Earth, the governments of man react to the threat of an alien enemy the existence of which they had hidden from their populations for fear of causing a worldwide panic and issue a desperate call or calm. But all across the Earth, the call for calm comes too late to be anything but ignored. And the panic authorities sought to avoid takes hold.

Meanwhile, up in space, a team led by Rom and the mutant inventor Forge try their best to construct a Neoneutralizer meant to save Earth. Rom announces that Wraithworld has completed its mystic transport through space. The Dire Wraiths have drawn their distant world to this solar system. Is there still hope for mankind or have they labored in vain?

Forge replies that they had hoped to use his Neoneutralizer powered by Rom’s weapon to banish all Wraiths from Earth, but he was leery of training the weapon on Earth anyway. True, it would neutralize the Wraiths’ mysticism, but it might also negate the super-powers of those special beings possessed of them. He cannot allow the governments of Earth to strip superbeings of their power, simply to foster their own sense of security.

Inside the space shuttle, Agent Gyrich observes the two of them discussing matters, wondering what they are talking about. But he cannot eavesdrop as Forge is somehow jamming their ability to monitor his flightchair. He is convinced the “lousy mutant” is up to something. He doesn’t trust him… or Rom.

Forge is aware of Gyrich’s scrutiny and doesn’t trust the agent any more than the other way around. But the Neoneutralizer is almost completed and Forge will allow it to be aimed only at the targets he chooses.

Rom tells him to keep on working on its completion while he seeks to alleviate the suffering of Forge’s fellow men. Forge just asks him to return in time. The Neoneutralizer needs Rom’s Neutralizer to work. Forge returns to work, wondering if Gyrich sees the irony of the situation, that the fate of mankind hinges upon the labors of a mutant and a man from another world.

Rom flies downward, seeing a plane in trouble due to gale-force winds caused by the worldmerge. Inside the cockpit, the crew is helpless while the passengers stay calm, resigned to their fate. The turbulences send the plane plunging downward, but suddenly they stop falling. What seems to be a miracle is actually the work of Rom, who buffeted its fall.

Rom gently lands the plane on a destroyed airfield. Passengers come from the plane, believing him to be some kind of robot. Who programmed him to come to their aid? they ask. Rom introduces himself. Once he was human like them, until the same threat that imperils their planet cast its shadow over his. He has fought to preserve their world from the wounds the diabolical Dire Wraiths would inflict on it and, though doom closes fast upon Earth, he prays to the gods of Galador to give him strength to prevail. With those words, he soars skywards and soon reaches the encampment of General Merriwether Locklin and his elite commando of Wraith hunter-rangers.

Rom informs the general that Forge’s neoneutralizer nears completion. Can his device raise the dead or undo all the destruction the worldmerge has so far caused? the general asks rhetorically. No, but Forge hopes to fend off Earth’s ultimate destruction, Rom replies. How, Locklin wonders. He could understand when he hoped to neutralize the Wraiths’ magic before the worldmerge had commenced but now there’s another world hanging in the sky. The idea is that by destroying the Wraiths they will negate their plans, Rom explains. And if that plan should fail? Locklin wonders. If they destroy the Wraiths, but their world continues be drawn nearer to Earth, what then? Then, Rom replies, Earth is doomed.

Not far away. Climbing up a Cliffside Bandy Clark and Rick Jones are looking for Cyndi Adams. She was depressed, feeling responsible for the worldmerge. They find her atop the cliff side, ready to kill herself to get rid of the Wraith mind within her. The outcropping she kneels on begins to crack beneath her. Rick Jones reaches out and catches her at the last moment. However, wrecked by a spasm of his own illness, he himself begins to go over the edge when Brandy suddenly reaches for him. For a moment, Brandy seems to glow like he sun and display the strength of Starshine as she drags them safely back up. Relived, the two of them hug Cyndi, who realizes she’s loved and decides that she doesn’t want to die after all.

Unaware of their proximity, Rom soars forth to face further planetary perils. His friends though see him and Brandy cries helplessly at her inability to aid him. There have to be other ways for humans to fight in the defense of their world, Rick decides and they’ll find those ways… together.

Already miles distant, Rom rockets towards a rising column of smoke on the Atlantic seaboard. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… a conflagration consuming a condemned city. Horrified, Rom walks through the ruins, looking at the corpses. Then, he hears the sound of churchbells. In the ruins of a church he finds a group of survivors, a congregation singing hymns. Then the singing stops as the survivors spy the silver spaceknight and ask who he is. Not wishing to add to their fear, Rom feels compelled to explain.

Rom’s narration:

Once he lived on Galador, a far-off paradise world. But an invasion from the Dark Nebula compelled men of peace to volunteer for the defense of their world. They were surgical grafted into immensely powerful nearly invincible armor and then sent forth as Spaceknights to drive back the eldritch power of the demonic Dire Wraiths. The battle was hard and long. Though many of his fellow spaceknights died, in the end Galador prevailed, but the beaten Wraiths fled to other star systems, other world and preyed upon alien races with their malevolent magics. It became the continuing duty of the spaceknights to hunt the Wraiths down and destroy them on whatever worlds they be, among them Earth.


He says he came to save them, the priest remarks. Just look around at the death and destruction around them. Is this his salvation?

Rom is at a loss. Then, he materializes his Neutralizer, explaining that had he not come Wraithkind would have enslaved them long ago. He shall save Earth with Galador’s greatest weapon. The congregation begins to look greedy as the priest identifies the weapon as Rom’s Neutralizer. They know of it? It has been the bane of their existence, comes the reply as the men and women turn to Wraiths, with their spells quickly trapping him and rendering him unable to help himself. Immobilized, he stands as the Wraiths triumph.

In space, the mutant Forge grows increasingly concerned as there is no sign of Rom to power the finished Neo-Neutralizer. While in what remains of the Wraith-hunter ranger encampment Rick has summoned all the heroes he can. They are probably already helping, he tells Brandy, but once they realize that the final battle against the Wraiths will be fought where Rom is, he’s sure they’ll hasten to his aid.

Characters Involved: 

Brandy Clark

Cyndi Adams

Rick Jones
General Merriwether Locklin
Agent Henry Gyrich

Shuttle crew
Dire Wraiths

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
Written By: