Spaceknights #1 Review
Lee's "Rom Evangelist" Reviews
SPACEKNIGHTS #1 - "Ebon Tidings!"
Marvel Comics; Oct 2000
22 pages; $2.99 US, $4.50 CAN
Writer/Plot: Jim Starlin
Penciler/Plot: Chris Batista
Inker: Chip Wallace
Letters: Jon Babcock
Colors: Tom Chu & Illusion Art Studio
Editor: Mike Marts
Chief: Bob Harras
Nice, crisp and clear art with straightforward page layouts. Good
coloring (with some cool special effects) and lettering. Story is
mostly set-up and introduction of two key characters, plus a couple
retcons. Recommended (but I'm biased)!
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
In case you didn't know, I seem to be one of the biggest (or at least
most vocal) Rom fans on the Internet. Therefore, this review is
biased, but I'll try to keep it balanced.
I'll start with the art. I think it's great! Batista, Wallace, and
Chu make a good team and produce clear, crisp art. The layouts are
fairly basic (yet modernized with overlapping panels and such) and
easy to follow. I like the stained glass effect on the opening
pages, where the ROM series is summarized in 250 words or less. And
I *love* the effects when the Spaceknights summon their armor from
subspace. The new Spaceknights have a definite manga/Robotech
influence on their designs, which I'm not a big fan of, but if that's
what it takes to get today's readers interested, I'll live with it.
Also, the lettering is good, although I sometimes thought the balloons
were placed too far from the speakers (with tails that are too long).
On the story side, it's all set up. We meet the two protagonists,
get a glimpse of the enemy, and set up the conflicts. We really
don't get to meet the rest of the new Spaceknights in this issue. I
felt the story was paced well, neither stretch out nor rushed,
although it does skip around a bit in the first half. The story plays
well for new readers, but old time Rom fans will have lots of
Some of my questions were answered in my discussions with Batista via
e-mail, but are not addressed in this issue. I can only hope that
they will be in future issues. Perhaps what this series really needs
is a text page for fans of Rom in one issue explaining what's happened
since his series ended. That way the story focus could be kept on the
new characters without forced explanations and older fans would feel
appreciated. Of course, just the fact that Marvel has the guts to
print a series that's an offshoot from a licensed comic they stopped
publishing about 15 years ago should make us feel appreciated.
Here's where I start ranting as an big Rom fan. Retcons were kept to
a minimum, thankfully. The biggest and most irritating was giving
Rom's neutralizer a name and hinting that it might be sentient.
Whether that's foreshadowing or not, I don't know, but I hope not.
The neutralizer is also completely redesigned, looking nothing like
it used to. I guess this was necessary to avoid licensing issues, but
I just don't like it. On the other hand, I thought the way they got
around showing Rom's armored form in the beginning was clever and well
The other retcon I found annoying, and again is related to licensing
issues, is this "Prime Director Artour" stuff. Is this supposed to be
Rom's never-before-revealed last name? If you read through the issue,
it's obviously trying to draw several parallels from the King
Arthur/Knights of the Round Table legends, and this is just one
example of that. I found some of it a little overdone and
distracting, but we'll see how it plays out as it could get
interesting, but hopefully not too predictable.
Speaking of which, would I be a comic book fan if I didn't speculate
on where this series is going? We have a character (Balin/Terminator)
who's named after two tragic characters; one a Knight of the Round
Table, the other a supporting character from ROM. Is he destined for
a fall or what? (Or is that too obvious?) I'm also curious where
this fake Spaceknight/Nazgoth stuff is going, although I do have a
teeny bit of inside information there. (Not enough to spoil it all,
In the end, I think this is a solid start to the series and I can't
wait for the next four issues. I'm particularly looking forward to
meeting the rest of the Spaceknights, who I assume we'll get to meet
more thoroughly next issue. I do hope comic fans old and new will at
least give it a look, because I don't think they'll be disappointed
with it. I'd appreciate your feedback.
(BTW, you might also want to check out the Spaceknights Annotations I
posted on racmu. They're also available at my Rom, Spaceknight
Revisited web site (http://home.hiwaay.net/~lkseitz/comics/Rom/.)