The peaceful planet known as Galador was threatened by a fleet of ships manned by shape-changing aliens known as Dire Wraiths. Galador's ruler, the Prime Director, calls for volunteers to be transformed into cyborg warriors called ' Spaceknights'. Afterwords, they can defend the planet from the invaders.
The volunteers were promised that their "humanity" (the body parts that would be removed to accommodate the bionic armor) would be preserved and restored to them after the threat was over. Rom, a poet on his home planet, was the first to volunteer, and was transformed into a large, silver humanoid that at first glance appeared to be totally robotic. Rom was also given Galador's most powerful weapon - the Neutralizer - which on one setting could banish the Wraiths into the Limbo dimension (a pocket universe) forever.
The people of Galador were inspired by his example, and a total of 1,000 Galadorians volunteered and were transformed into Spaceknights, each with his or her own unique armor, powers suited to the individual who wielded them. The Spaceknights were victorious in stopping the Wraith invasion, but Rom decided to follow the remnants of the fleet back to their home planet –(the Wraithworld ) which orbited a black sun. The un-prepared Wraiths panicked, and after a futile counter-attack abandoned the planet and scattered throughout space.
Rom now felt responsible for spreading the creatures' evil across the universe, and swore he would not reclaim his humanity until all Dire Wraiths had been banished to Limbo. His fellow 1,000 Spaceknights, including comrades Starshine I and Terminator, swore the same oath and left Galador .
Rom, the Spaceknight comic was based off a toy created by Bing McCoy and Richard Levy and made through Parker Brothers.
Parker Brothers licensed the rights to Marvel Comics to increase sales of their toy product. Rom made his first comic appearance in Rom #1, 1979. The comic book was given to Bill Mantlo as writer and Sal Buscema as artist. Bill Mantlo held the helm for 75 issues till Marvel lost the rights due to lack of sales of their toy product.
Mayor Story Arcs
200 years later Rom arrived on Earth falling like a shooting star to the ground . Landing near the town of Clairton, in West Virginia, Rom encountered a young woman named Brandy Clark. After seeing Rom battle with the Wraiths, Brandy comes to understand his mission and helps to hide Rom from prying eyes.
This becomes necessary once Rom uses the Neutralizer in public, as witnesses only see a "killer robot, like something from the old movies of the 1950's" disintegrating innocents - they do not realize that Rom is in fact banishing Wraiths who are hiding in human form. In time Brandy's boyfriend, Steve Jackson, also accepts and helps Rom in his mission, although when Brandy began to fall in love with the noble Rom her relationship with Steve was horribly strained.
Fight Against the Wraith
During his time on Earth, Rom fights and banishes thousands of Wraiths. Meeting many heroes and making many allies such as the X-Men, Luke Cage and Rick Jones who at the time possessed the powers of the Hulk along his journey. Rom's war against the Wraiths takes a turn for the worse - a new form of Wraith appeared on Earth, and appeared to be far deadlier and sinister than the first variety.
It is later revealed that these are female Wraiths, who rely on sorcery and magic, as opposed to the much weaker males who placed their faith in science and technology. Unlike the males, the female Wraiths chose not to attack in secretly and openly attacked Clairton while Rom is away, killing everyone (including Steve Jackson and superhero Torpedo) with exception of Brandy Clark. Furthermore, they also make the strategic mistake of openly attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, the Helicarrier, which removes all doubts of the Earth authorities of the existence and threat of the Dire Wraiths.
Rom, however, manages to destroy them and banish their planet with the aid of his super-powered allies which included Forge, Rick Jones, Brandy Clark, Cindy Adams and members of the U.S. military.
Rom leaves Earth soon after the battle and returns to Galador. Unknown to Rom, however, Brandy had accidentally met the entity called the Beyonder, and asked him to transport her to Galador. The Beyonder complied and Brandy found herself on Galador, now occupied by a new group of Spaceknights that had been created in the absence of the originals .
The new Spaceknights had been corrupted by their power, and feeling superior to normal Galadorians, massacred the entire race. In an act of sheer spite the new Spaceknights also destroyed the frozen humanities of the original Spaceknights. Rom arrived too late and could only save Brandy. Enraged, Rom summoned the original Spaceknights and together they destroyed the rogue Spaceknights.
Rom then made a surprising discovery, his original humanity persisted within the entombed body of Terminator. After reclaiming it, Rom became human again and finally admitted his love for Brandy. The two chose to remain on Galador to re-populate his native world, while the other Spaceknights, their humanity now destroyed, set out to explore the universe and help defend other planets
During the years Rom battled the the increasingly desperate threat of the Dire Wraiths, the monsters created new foes for Rom, such as the magically created Devil Dogs, robotic Watch-wraiths and false Spaceknight Firefall - a fusion of human and Spaceknight. Two of Rom's greatest foes are the aptly named Hybrid (hideous result of a combination between Wraith and human) and Mentus; a suit of Spaceknight armor occupied by the dark side of the Prime Director's psyche. Many other opponents were more traditional and hailed some from the Earth itself such as the Mad Thinker, the Space Phantom, and even the herald of Galactus, Terrax.
Rom made a brief appearance at Rick Jones wedding, out of costume, along with love interest Brandy in Incredible Hulk #418, published in the mid 90's. He has been utterly absent from the Marvel universe ever since.
In the mid 2000's, generic SpaceKnights started appearing again in the storyline "Annihilation: Conquest". A few years later, in the aftermath of another cosmic event, a new team of heavy hitting cosmic level heroes called the Annihilators is formed. A Space Knight named Ikon is on board, seemingly to lead the team. Ikon refers to herself as the 2nd greatest of the Space Knights, likely referring to Rom as the greatest, but doesn't mention him by name.
Marvel is likely forbidden at this point to so much as utter his name in print due to copyright conflicts. The same keeps the entire run of Rom's series out of print, though the series' 75 issue run is the perfect number of issues for a 3 volume "Marvel Essentials" reprinting.
Powers and abilities
: Rom’s cybernetics provided him with superhuman strength; extreme durability; flight and the ability to travel through space through a backpack ion jets and to breathe in any atmosphere, including space. The silver armor also contained the immensely "Solar Charge" that could be used as a weapon and could also drain power sources by mere contact. It also gave him the ability to summon three pieces of equipment stored in “ a subspace pocket”:
The NeutralizerUsed to banishing Dire Wraiths to Limbo by opening a dimensional portal, this hand held weapon could fire energy beams and neutralize various forms of energy. This device was designed so that only Rom would be able to discharge it. The mutant Wolverine once tried to use the weapon and received a near fatal blast of feedback energy. The designs for this device were also used by Forge to create a power neutralizer that was intended to be used on the mutant Rogue, but instead robbed Storm of her abilities.
- Allows Rom to see shape-changed Dire Wraiths in their true form and could assess the energy and potential of any object or entity. Unfortunately, the analyzer resembles a handgun, and Dire Wraith impostors have often taken advantage of this fact to fool human into thinking that Rom is attacking them.
It could also be used on an item which represented a world, such as a globe, and would display lights corresponding to Dire Wraith infestations at that point on the planet.
The Universal Translator
- Allowed Rom to instantly learn the language of any creature, irrespective of their origin. This was also used to scan and store printed information from an encyclopedia or any printed media in Rom's memory system for future use.
Rom exists in the Earth X reality, but is only referred to as 'the Greatest of Space Knights' because of copyright reasons.