January 3, 2011

ROM #69 [1985]

ROM #69 [1985] is one of five issues of Ditko's run on the series inked by P. Craig Russell, with the 22-page story "This World Alive". The story is, as always, by Bill Mantlo.

This story features ROM, in the aftermath of the defeat of the Dire Wraiths, searching for others of his kind, humans from Galador who had been converted to robotic forms to fight the Wraiths. His search takes him to an odd world which... well, it's Ego the Living Planet. The cover gives that away, so does the story title to a lesser degree. A shame, as that's the kind of reveal that would have made a nice surprise. Anyway, Ego was a great concept introduced by Jack Kirby in the pages of THOR back in the 1960s, and by this point had returned a few times to encounter the Fantastic Four.  ROM's quest for his comrades takes him deep into Ego's ecosystem, where he first encounters the Kirby-designed antibodies that are always on the attack against intruders, and then some half-digested Wraiths on his way to the brain of Ego.

Enjoyable stand-alone story mixing in one of the great cosmic concepts of the Marvel Universe.  Ditko's art works well on the almost abstract enlarged organic designs needed for Ego, and Russell's inking is really sharp, and the printing shows it off better than some other issues in this run.

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