In a stunning announcement, Marvel has revealed that they have entered into a partnership with Hasbro to reprint the original ’80s adventures of Rom, Spaceknight, an alien sworn to protect his homeworld of Galador.
First revealed via Omar of Near Mint Condition, the reprints will begin in January 2024 with Rom: The Original Years Omnibus – Volume 1, collecting the first 29 issues of the series, along with Power Man and Iron Fist #73, which had previously been unavailable in collections and Marvel Unlimited.
Here’s Marvel’s official description of the first of these ‘Rom’-nibuses*:
ROM: THE ORIGINAL YEARS OMNIBUS VOLUME 1 will collect ROM (1979) #1-29 and POWER MAN AND IRON FIST (1978) #73. He strikes from outer space…and nothing can stop him! Marvel Comics is proud to present the iconic early adventures of the greatest of Spaceknights — Rom! Centuries ago, Rom pledged his life to protect his planet, Galador, from the evil Dire Wraiths. Now, Rom has tracked these vile creatures across the cosmos to Earth, where they have infiltrated the highest levels of power — including S.H.I.E.L.D. itself! Armed with his energy analyzer, only Rom can see the Wraiths’ true form — and with his neutralizer, he can blast them into Limbo! But what will Earth make of this armored invader? Will Rom’s quest be aided or hindered by encounters with the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Jack of Hearts, Nova, and Power Man and Iron Fist? And when Galactus targets Galador, can Rom and his fellow Spaceknights save their homeworld from destruction?
The omnibus will also feature four covers by the likes of Frank Miller, Sal Buscema, and the late George Pérez.
However, prior to this initial volume, September 2023 will see the release of a facsimile edition of the first issue from 1979:
ROM #1 FACSIMILE EDITION boldly re-presents ROM (1979) #1, one of the all-time great Marvel comic books, in its original form, ads and all! Long ago, Rom offered his life to serve his planet of Galador as a Spaceknight — an armored warrior, sworn to protect his people from the vile alien invaders known as the Dire Wraiths. Now, his solemn vow brings him to Earth — the latest front in an ancient cosmic conflict! The Wraiths can assume human form, and they’ve been worming their way into our society. Only Rom’s trusty energy analyzer can detect them — and with his powerful neutralizer, he can banish them to Limbo! In this landmark first issue, Rom blasts his way into the Marvel Universe, meets his future ally Brandy Clark and begins his quest to free Earth from the Dire Wraiths’ invisible infiltration!
Based on a Parker Brothers action figure, the series was originally published from 1979 to 1986, and featured Rom and his fellow Spaceknights battling the Dire Wraiths, an evil alien race spun out of the Skrulls. Bill Mantlo helmed the series for most of its run, along with Steven Grant, Jo Duffy, Sal Buscema, Greg Larocque, and Steve Ditko.
After the series concluded, the rights to Rom himself went back to Parker Brothers (later bought by Hasbro), though the Spaceknights and Galador remained within Marvel continuity. The original Spaceknight was surprisingly vital to a number of in-continuity stories, including many of the earliest appearances of Forge of the X-Men, who used Spaceknight tech to build the infamous power neutralizer that sapped Storm’s powers for almost four years. These stories have been missing gaps for decades, as Marvel has been unable to reprint those issues until now.
Since Marvel lost the rights to use Rom, the Spaceknights have made sporadic appearances in various titles, with a sneaky Rom cameo at Rick Jones and Marlo Chandler’s wedding in Incredible Hulk #418, a Jim Starlin helmed 2000s mini series, their use in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning‘s Annihilators, and the destruction of Galador in 2013’s Infinity event. The Spaceknights even found an important role in Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto‘s recent Cable series, where a young Cable utilized a sword known as the Light of Galador, which put him into conflict with a few knights.
Rom was briefly seen at IDW from 2016-2020, appearing in his own ongoing series and a number of Transformers comics. It remains to be seen what the status of the Rom license is outside of these reprints. Who’s to say whether Marvel will feature Rom and the Spaceknights in a new ongoing, but it’ll be nice to be able to finally catch up on the newly reprinted adventures of the surprisingly impactful Spaceknight.
*I do not take credit for the wonderful portmanteau that is the ‘Rom’-nibus