So yeah, I've decided to keep this going beyond Rom's "best before" date. Spaceknights is a five-issue mini-series that is at once a labour of love from artist Chris Batista and a labour of hate from writer-for-hire/telephone caller Jim Starlin. What does that do to a comic? Apparently, relegate it to "it never happened" status with the fans, as much as Star Trek V or Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars or even Teen Wolf 2.
But we're gonna give it a shot. It's not like every comic I've ever featured on this blog has been GOOD, right? And the creative team did have a number of challenges to overcome. One of which was doing a series that spun out of Rom without having the rights to that character. I do like their solution: Elevate Rom to sainthood and explain the backstory in tinted glass. That gives the artist all kinds of creative license!
Tinted Glass Rom has a halo and Neutralizer energy coming out of his hands...
He is a god among men.
Strong opening to the series. Now, another challenge was the whole matter of repopulating Galador. At the end of Rom Spaceknight, we were left with the impression that Rom and Brandy were going to pull off an Adam and Eve and do it all alone, but it's now some 20 years later and the planet's got a population and only two Spaceknights identified as Rom's sons. Further, as we start things off, we meet a member of the angel elite who is the only one of his subrace ever to genetically qualify for Spaceknighthood.
Pretty cool, but surprising, as the angels all seemed to have been killed by Dominor's NextGen Spaceknights. So did Rom harvest DNA from various corpses and surviving Spaceknights (cuz where are THOSE guys now?) and grow his civilization back in test tubes? Or did we only see events occurring in the capital city and there were a number of other enclaves around the planet? Since there are some old men walking around shouting advice, I guess it's probably the latter. Or are those older characters Spaceknights who have cloned their humanity back? It's not real clear, and it may just be that Starlin never read the key issues.
And what of Rom in this new world? Well, we can't really call him that, so they call him "First One" (confusing the issue of who begat what further) and "Prime Director" (that's the highest position in the land) and "Father/Dad" (his sons only) and "Artour" (his first name finally revealed? More on that later). In any case, Rom's cameo is very brief indeed. Seems like he was killed just before the series started.
So the series is really about Rom's two heirs, Balin and Tristan, both NextNextGen Spaceknights and deep in a Cain and Abel relationship. Balin is the volatile "bad" brother who has inherited Terminator's title (a nice nod to the fact that Terminator stole half Rom's humanity) and Tristan is the "good" brother all in white (he's the new Rom in all but name). It's a Marvel comic so they fight.
These new Spaceknights can apparently switch to and from armored mode. I guess Rom didn't want anyone to lose their humanity ever again. Those things are so easily mislaid, stolen or destroyed. With Rom gone, Brandy tries to take the reins of leadership, but she's not a real Galadorian, which weakens her claim to the throne.
That must suck about as much as being called Brandy Prime. She should have kept her maiden name.
So she names Prince Balin, Sir Terminator, as successor, and he must confirm that succession by pulling out Axadar, the Neutralizer recast as a sentient object that only allows itself to be yielded by someone worthy of it (and that apparently has had a big makeover).
That's a fail. If you haven't clued in yet that the series is robbing Arthurian Myth blind... We've got Rom being called Artour (Arthur), we've got the Neutralizer turned into Excalibur, we've got his sons named after knights of Earth legend, and we've got brothers sure to be pitted against one another (à la Arthur and Mordred).
Balin isn't the chosen one, but no one thinks to let Tristan try, so the darker brother inflames the crowd with his charisma and takes on the mantle of leadership anyway. Just in time, because a corrupted Spaceknight has forced the planet Trion to declare war on Galador.
Frankly, despite the dissonant transition between series and complete lack of mittens, it's not a bad start. Next: Things get worse. (Am I talking about the situation or the comic? Come back and see!)