Spaceknight Saturdays: Man, the Torpedo!

Rom's thinking hard about going back to Galador, but he needs someone to take care of Clairton during his absence. Could rookie superhero the Torpedo be the perfect choice for the job?

I was under the impression that the Torpedo was created for Rom, but no. This Marv Wolfman creation first showed up in the pages of Daredevil, then moved on to a solo piece in Marvel Premiere where he didn't catch on. They can't all be New Teen Titans. So Mantlo picks him up, dusts him off, retcons his entire origin story to make his enemies Dire Wraiths in disguise, and presto! You've got an ally for the Spaceknight!

That origin: Some scientist made a jet-powered suit [for the Wraiths] and gave it to football star Brock Jones to fight the evil Rocketeers [Dire Wraiths and Wraith pawns] who wanted the Torpedo suit's upgrades. Aside from jet-powered punches, the Torpedo has a couple of unique talents even Marvel Universe Deluxe fails to mention. First among these, Super-Coincidence!

Brock has a young wife and three kids, and once the Wraithketeers start attacking his home, he flees to a backwoods town where they won't be able to find him and his family. That town: Clairton, VA!
What were the chances?

Clairton is REAL happy to see new people arrive to fill the former Wraith households emptied by Rom's crusade, but Rom isn't part of the welcome wagon. He's in the basement reading.
Leave it to Rom to make reading crazy and dynamic. He's learnin' himself but good to better fight the Wraiths wherever they might be, and he's got his trusty Google Earth to let him know where the enclaves are.
Is that a Wraith enclave in Newfoundland? I knew it.

Rom should really have gone up and introduced himself to the new arrivals, because once he flashes through the sky, ROCKETEER-LIKE, you know there's going to be a misunderstanding. Also: This is the Marvel Universe.
Torpedo's other mad skill: Dramatically ripping his shirt off. He hits Rom square in the back, and in another example of Super-Coincidence at work, the Spaceknight falls to the football field where Brock is due to coach starting next Monday.
By the end of the fight, it's hard to say if Brock'll have a place to work in Clairton at all.
Now, Rom's fought the Jack of Hearts and the X-Men before, so he knows how this is going to go down. Some critics say that Hamlet got away from Shakespeare. Well, Rom gets away from Mantlo here and tells him point blank to stop using that cliché:
When the Torpedo realizes Rom's not fighting anymore, he comes to his senses. How dangerous is a jet-punch? Once thrown, it can't easily be unthrown.
A page of comparing notes later and the two conclude they're on the same side. Rom invites Torpedo to take care of business while he has to go away and that's that.

Meanwhile, 200 years ago, ye olde narrator makes quite a claim:
It's just like Heaven, without the beatific presence of God, clouds and Philadelphia cream cheese. But it does have angels.
Galador is Thanagar, apparently. And the Terminator's not dead, as we already knew. But what's he doing? All will be revealed, but first, the key to another mystery.
That's right. The odd sound effects that start with "SV-" (Svam, Svak, etc.) are those of BONES BREAKING! Thanks for making me realize those weren't as pleasant as I first thought. As for what Terminator is doing there:
He's destroying any chance of Rom and the others ever getting their humanity back! (Although it looks like Javelin was never getting his mislabeled body back.)

Can Rom get there in time to stop Terminator from doing it? Only if it takes Terminator centuries to complete the deed! Stay tuned!


mwb said...

"Is that a Wraith enclave in Newfoundland? I knew it."

If Canada falls, so falls the world!

I think that there really needs to be a Rom essentials book

Siskoid said...

Well, if Newfoundland falls, not sure many would notice. INSIDIOUS!

Anonymous said...

saturdays always take so long to come around.

reading comics always brings out the worst in me. It's like, well, if this jet-punch is so powerful, wouldn't the torpedo's hand be crushed every time he used it?

I'm sure there is a name for this phenomenon: it's a bit like those people who roll their eyes at independence day--how on earth you could upload a virus to an alien computer? It's an unwillingness to suspend belief?

Siskoid said...

Sure, it's a grand old tradition in the geek community called Nitpicking.

One can only surmise that the Torpedo suit protects the wearer from the force of the blows.

Bauble said...

Sadly we may never see the books reprinted. Unless of course a publisher who loved them decides to buy the rights.

I've noticied that the Star Wars and Conan books published by Marvel are being reprinted by Dark Horse, I think it has something to do with the rights, however I'm curious as to how much Dark Horse has to pay Marvel to use their material.

Siskoid said...

Conan is one thing. He exists in his own universe.

Rom interacts with the Marvel Universe directly, so I don't think another publisher could reprint the series. It's not that the rights are expensive, it's that they're in an international legal tangle. I don't think anyone properly knows HOW to get them and from WHOM.


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