Review: Rom: Revolution #1

Rom: Revolution chronicles the Space Knight's contribution to IDW's hero-on-hero crossover event. Like most superhero events, this one is predicated on supposedly adult protagonists refusing to be mature or reasonable. There's a lot of fighting and very little discussion. Even within that framework, one can tell a rollicking story. This issue doesn't manage it, though. The story here, apparently set before the events of Revolution #1, operates on the premise that technology is magic. A mysterious ore just works with completely unrelated in-development power armor. A special mental interface that doesn't work suddenly does after a week of unspecified tinkering. It's something I could forgive if the rest of the book would carry its weight. It doesn't really. Rom's spoken lines read like an inner monologue. He rom-rev01_cvrcomes across as a bit dense at times. But that's somewhat endearing. It works for the noble, other-worldly throwback. It works less well in the mouths of contemporary humans. Two people working on the same project probably shouldn't have to explain said project to each other. And it's probably a bad idea to, as a third party, introduce yourself to members of said party by subverting their security. And it's definitely a bad idea for the heads of the project to immediately capitulate to the supposed military reps who simply ooze false trustworthiness. Things progress through the graces of convenience. Further, the writing suffers from frequent and needless flashbacks. They may give you a better understanding of the issue's antagonists, but they don't fit neatly into the flow of the story's battle. These flashbacks interrupt the centerpiece of this issue with very little impact outside of interruption. The scrambled, nonlinear storytelling really hurts the issue. That's not to say this would be a good read if told in a more straightforward manner. A straight line from beginning to end would probably benefit the story, creating a more stable presentation.

The comics medium allows for scenes of action that actually earn the “epic” description. Unfortunately, Rom: Revolution #1 doesn't fare well in that regard. The action feels strangely muted, confined by mundane settings and tepid banter. The art is fine if more than a little messy. Every panel is a little too heavily inked for my taste. The fights are certainly illustrated decently and with enough clarity that they are never confusing. Rom: Revolution's main problem comes from its structure. Rom tries to avoid a Wraith fight; Wraith eggs him on; Rom reluctantly fights Wraith while struggling to understand his opponent. It's repetitive to a maddening degree. Coupled with the non-linear structure of the plot, the repetition is difficult to settle into. Or care about. Or recommend.

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Rom: Revolution #1 Writer: Chris Ryall, Christos Gage Artist: Ron Joseph Colorist: Jay Fotos Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital