I like the high amount of ideas thrown at the reader and the denseness of each issue. I also find myself caring about the characters and wondering what will happen to them! Also, it really does have a sense of 'any character can be killed at any time', which adds genuine tension. Yeah, there's a huge amount of cheese (which is a part of the fun), but I think a lot of contemporary comics writers could learn a lot from Mantlo's pacing.
There is indeed a lot packed into a given issue of ROM, which is a lot of the joy of it. I'm up to #24, and it struck me that you would build an entire Mini-series around the invasion of Xandar these days. But for Rom it is just another months work, and then on to the next issue. It is certainly different in feel from a lot of other comics of its era - Rom has a bit of the hard-bitten soldier in him, unlike a Superhero he doesn't hesitate to use lethal force if he thinks it is mandated. And as Ralph observed, death is an ever-present force here. It isn't like an Avengers comic where you know they'll turn up in time to save their supporting cast from a horrible fate. In Rom's world there is a sense that folk can just die, and it isn't fair or just or right.
A very different feel to what I had expected. Rather enjoying what I have read of it, bonkersness and all.
"I used to think it was a terrible thing that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'what if life were fair, and all of the terrible things that happen to us came because we really deserved them?' Now I take great comfort in the general unfairness and hostility of the universe." — Marcus Cole, Babylon 5 — A Late Delivery from Avalon
I now see that in the ROM universe, Wales is part of "the nation-state of England." Hmmm.
Well, seeing as Rom is from as far away as the Golden Galaxy, and even folk comparatively next-door in the Confederated States of America have trouble getting it right... I think we should probably take heart that Rom is knowledgeable enough to even know that Wales exists - and to come and preserve it from the foul science and sorcery of the Dire Wraiths.
Hopefully it won't have smog, taverns and footpads like England did in the 1970's in "Brave and the Bold".
I had a dream last night in which ROM was flying through the sky when suddenly a rectangle appeared behind a cloud in which the Wraith Dweller On The Threshold was hanging on to the sides like a monkey swinging on bars and shouting "ROAARAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!".
"NO!" cried ROM.
Suddenly, in Edinburgh, Princess Street (represented by a 2-D cardboard cut-out, in fine Captain Pugwash style) fell into the sea with one cardboardy swing. Then the people of Edinburgh jumped into powerboats which raced into the 'gap' where Princess Street had been to 'fill in the line'.
Yeah, the latter stages of the book read so much like what Secret Invasion wants to be it's not funny. Just finished Annual #3 and my next issue is #61 (Ditko has just arrived on pencils - very striking work). I love the way the book just opens up and the tension goes through the roof. Anyone can die at any time. Mantlo really could deliver the goods. His appeal is beyond cheese. This stuff really does need to reprinted.
Good grief, #61 was utterly mental. The Wraith plan is now so bonkers and audacious it's brilliant and exactly the kind of thing some writers would take 6 issues to do now, but Mantlo sets it up in half an issue. It's also interesting how the cheese level has dropped dramatically and the title has morphed into a proper war comic. In #62, Forge turned up. I wanted to punch him in the face. What an arse!
Wow. The last 3 pages of ROM #74 contains one of the finest "And now I shall tell you my evil plan while being very calm" scenes I have read in comics (and I kid you not, there are some writers who would have wrung a 6-issue miniseries out of that bit alone). The tension is unbearable! Only one issue left! The epic finale of ROM! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!