Now that Rom has met the Jack of Hearts and the Plunderer, he's ready to meet a REAL Marvel character. I mean, they weren't really A-list, were they? Or even D-list.
For Rom Spaceknight #14, Marvel finally let Mantlo at the big toys. Maybe a Fantastic Four villain? A smart FF villain? A smart FF villain that's been known to build androids?
"Sorry Bill, you can't use Doctor Doom right now."
And so: The Mad Thinker. Seems like he's been observing the events of Rom's first battles with the Wraiths in Clareton from afar. He's been buying the toys, but as you know, it looks nothing like the real Rom.
Actually, his homemade action figure there is a pretty good likeness. Oh maybe the eyes don't light up or anything, but it's amazing what you can do with a Heavy Metal Heroes Silver Surfer and some putty. The Mad Thinker has his finger on the pulse of fashion, as you know. He buys or makes all the great toys, dresses in trendy overalls, has a beautiful ladies hairdo, and his android? Totally awesome.
He has, however, miscalculated. He wants an android upgrade, to trade in his Awesome Android for a Gnarly Android. But Rom isn't an android.
And now, Rom and the Android fight.
Hey, ever wonder what a shape-shifting robot looks like on the inside? Wonder no more!
It's the cutaway the Thinker didn't want you to see. Now we can all build one in our garages. It can make hammer fists, turn into fire, even into Rom's armor:
When the Android is defeated, the Thinker miscalculates again. I don't know what else to call it. He comes out of his ship to attack Rom by himself! Alone with just an android-controlling wristwatch. But like I've been saying, Rom ain't no android!
Of course, Thinker should have his watch checked, because even the Awesome Android disobeys him after that, tucks him under a massive gray arm and leaves. Even a robotic slave tries to avoid fighting Rom a second time. Way to grow some sentience, A.A.!
Meanwhile, in Clareton, VA...
Brandy is trying on her wedding dress and Wraith-Steve comes calling. Wraiths just don't respect our primitive human traditions.
Ewwwwwwwwwww, Brandy just kissed a Wraith. Gross. Can she really tell something's wrong, or is it just natural jitters?
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC...
I haven't talk about her, but for the last few issues, "Ace" O'Connor has been on Rom's trail, taking notes and pictures. She's a spunky journalist, sort of like a blond Lois Lane who's about to get punked by Dire Wraiths.
Cuz yep, Perry White is a Wraith.
You can tell he's evil because he smokes a cigar.
Meanwhile, a couple hundred years ago...
We meet a couple of other Spaceknights, including the original Starshine (she'll become verrrrry important to our story) and a totally hardcore knight called, what else, Terminator. When he flies to the farm planet of Agricon (coming soon to a hotel near you), he doesn't think twice before frying the kids.
Dude's called the Terminator. He'll shoot anything. Kids, old people, even ghosts.
But wait! These Wraiths have taken Rom's beloved Ray-Na hostage! In the ensuing fight, she gets shot (not by Terminator, honest) and dies.
So THAT'S why Rom allows himself to love another. When he talked about returning to his love, it was always going to be some kind of ritual suicide. Wow that's grim.
You know what else is grim? Next issue:
BONUS BASEBALL SCORES
(From the letters page, of course.)