Rom Annual #2 takes us back a couple centuries, before Rom left for Earth, before even the Dire Wraiths left Wraithworld. The Spaceknights were at their apex, and Rom was the greatest and most famous of them all.
Still is. I'm just saying it wasn't a long, hard climb for him.
As for the Wraiths, this story proves the female Wraith Witches, with their funky hands and drill tongues, were there all along. So this was a time before sorcery was apparently gave way to more technological means of fighting the Knights, a pendulum that might just be swinging back.
Let's join the story already in progress, all those years ago, as Rom bears down on a Wraith armada.
See? Ships were co-ed in those days. After he blows up a few ships or starts sending their pilots to Limbo, the witches send those huge Deathwings to eat him up. But this is Rom in his prime, baby!
That's three in one shot! Cutting their losses the Wraiths run back to Wraithworld.
Wow, cesspool. Corrosive atmosphere, disturbingly-shaped mountains, a black sun... Rom follows the last ship to the Wraith capital and makes it crash into their fortress.
From there, it's a simple task to banish the entire civilian population to Limbo.
EVIL civilians, of course. And since it's Limbo, you can't call it genocide. Well, you can, but Rom won't let you.
He gets into something sticky however when Wraith witches confuse him with the illusion of Wraith masses (or I guess you could call them wraith Wraiths), and abandon their homeworld while he fights phantoms in perpetuity. It'll be up to the Spaceknight Squadron to rescue him.
Who are these guys? They were apparently conceived and created by artist Richard Konkle who will supply a pin-up in Rom #50. He's responsible for other minor creations Bill Mantlo used in his Marvel Comics work. The Squadron includes:
Tarm the Seeker!
He turns into a biooootiful butterfly and needs his fellow Spaceknights to regularly pull his metal bacon out of the frying pan.
Raak the Breaker!
Though he's pretty tough and serves as a mobile microwave, his main characteristic is that he thinks he's better than Rom. Like, why is this comic not called Raak Annual #2?!? Where's HIS toy? Dude, hate to tell you this, but it's your silly cat-ears.
Skera the Seeker!
Her senses are so acute, she can't STAND it! Buscema, Akin & Garvey are indeed intense.
The unfortunately named Plor the Pulsar!
The darling of the female Starknights, this golden cyborg throws these circles around. Pretty flashy.
Unam the Unseen!
He can turn himself as invisible as he feels in the eyes of...
Vola the Trapper!
There's a reason all the boys want to get with her. She takes down the two last elementals guarding the deserted Wraith fortress, giving them access to the crazed Rom who sees Dire Wraiths simply everywhere.
Obviously, Raak starts shooting at Rom like he's a popcorn bag. Maybe get his name on the cover or something. Unam grows a spine just then...
...and talks Rom down. No microwaves, no punching, no powers. Just reasoned talk between well-spoken cod Shakespearean Spaceknights.
There's a lesson in that. Next week: Punching!
And while you wait, more Bonus Rom Content!