|Publisher||IDW Publishing, Greg Goldstein|
|First published||April 11, 2018|
|Cover date||April 2017|
|Written by||Christos Gage|
|Art by||Paolo Villanelli|
|Colors by||Alessandra Alexakis|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Chronology||Current era (2018)|
Rom and the Micronauts return to Earth but are they too late?
In Gokseong, South Korea, the situation is grim for the heroes. The Dire Wraiths have pinned down both the Space Knights and their human allies and are moving in for the kill. At the forefront is Axiom, whom the Wraith Sorcerers sic on the Knights as they hold them in magical bindings. A sudden Neutralizer blast slays the Sorcerers and heralds the arrival of Rom and the Micronauts. Axiom decides to immediately report back to Baron Karza, allowing the others to begin mowing down the Wraith Hawks. Though Rom remains at Microspace-size, Biotron observes the Repto are scaled for Earth and wonders if Rom may regain his size in such a manner only for Camilla Byers to overrule that idea. The Repto gained their size via a combination of magic and science that has the virtually negligible side-effect of causing the subject to violently explode.
With their numbers ever dwindling, the Wraiths take their leave, allowing the heroes time to regroup and strategize. Though the first conduit has been destroyed, the villains will have rebuilt; there now only hours left to prevent the rise of the Presence. Fortunately, the Space Knights have tracked Baron Karza to Hashima Island. Unfortunately, the Japanese government has been heavily infiltrated by Wraiths who have turned the populace against the Space Knights. Larissa proposes an open attack while the Micronauts use their size to sneak in and allow Rom to enerchange with Karza. Though the plan is reckless, it is the only one they have and Orphion begins to brief the Micronauts. Rom takes Livia aside and reveals his theory that enerchanging may hold the key to removing Space Knight armor. Livia however has no desire to remove the armor. She felt helpless when the Wraiths attacked them back in the mine and she swears to never feel that way again. With that, she takes her leave, declaring she is no longer the woman Rom once loved. The conversation is overheard by Acroyear who watches Livia's retreating form.
Within a former mine shaft on Hashima Island, D'rge is troubled by Axiom's news while Karza considers their foes irrelevant. Atypically, the Absence shares D'rge's concerns fearing what havoc could be wrought while they continue to mine the Entropy Cloud. Karza reveals he can accelerate the process but...how strong is the Absence's devotion? The question sends the spectral Wraith into a fury. He has sacrificed much to become who he is and exists solely to serve the Presence. Grinning, Karza begins...
Back in South Korea, Acroyear approaches Livia and reveals he too is a hybrid of organic and inorganic and his envy of Livia's casual acceptance of such a fate. Livia reveals the loss Rom suffered prior to becoming a Space Knight and that, to him, life as a Knight represents a loss of innocence and family, feeling Livia can empathize with but cannot share. Acroyear reveals his transformation cost him his memories but they have recently begun to trickle back. Livia spies his glance at Phen and understand his reasoning now. She reveals that she has witnessed love bloom between all manner of alien life forms, some radically different from their partners (even a Space Knight and a Wraith once found love) but it can only endure when a heart is free from fear. With that, she returns to her weapon testing. Soon after, the group moves out with Acroyear taking Phen aside...and wishing her good luck in the coming battle.
Arriving at the island, the Hawks and Wraith Soldiers charge at their foes only for Axiom to take note of how they are deliberately pinned. Noting that "the little ones" are absent, he leaves the foot-soldiers to their fates while he goes after Rom and the Micronauts. Proving too powerful for the miniature heroes, Rom simply enerchanges with Axiom stealing his size and power while banishing him to Microspace (probably). Though restored to his full size, the clock now ticks for Rom and he must enerchange his energies back from Karza to prevent himself from exploding. The heroes follow Karza's signature but begin picking up a second reading, something abjectly evil. Turning a corner, they find they are too late...
...the Presence has awakened!
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|Micronauts||Dire Wraiths||Space Knights||Others|
"If you knew what a Wraith must endure to become an absence, you would not raise the question. I exist but for one purpose: To replace absence with presence. Her Presence. Whatever you require...it shall be done."
"Excellent. Then let's begin..."
- -The Absence may have just tipped his hand to Baron Karza.
"Perhaps one day I shall tell you the forbidden tale of the Wraith and the Solstar Knight whose enmity turned to respect and then love."
- -Tell us now Livia. Tell us now.
"Phenolo-Phi...before we go, I wanted to say..."
"Good fortune in the battle ahead."
"Uh thanks, you too."
- -Smooth Acroyear, very smooth.
"Indeed it has, fools. But don't despair. Rejoice, instead...for you are witness to the second coming of a god! The goddess of the Dire Wraiths awakens!"
- -Baron Karza triumphant.
- Holy returning villains Batman! Remember Axiom? The human/Wraith hybrid first appeared in ROM: Revolution and last appeared way back in ROM #10.
- Livia alludes to the events of the ROM 2017 Annual and the helplessness she felt before being enveloped by her armor. Rom mentions how the armor has formed a seemingly unbreakable bond with all its wearers. The only Knight seen thus far to remove their amor was Stardrive.
- Acroyear mentions the heavily invasive surgeries he underwent to become who he is and the resulting amnesia, established in his Hasbro Heroes Sourcebook profile.
- As established in ROM #6, Livia fires light missiles.
- The Micronauts' ship has now reverted to its appearance from issue #1. Is it supposed to be changing appearance based on which universe it's in?
- The Repto violently exploding after being super-sized is consistent with science's current understanding of the square–cube law.
- Needing no explanation, Axiom's cry of "What a world, what a world..." is ripped right off from the Wicked Witch of the West who famously screamed the phrase as she melted.
- Regular cover: Rom and Acroyear vs Baron Karza, by E. J. Su.
- Subscription cover A: Rom, Acroyear, and Phen fly through space, by Giannis Milonogiannis.
- Subscription cover B: Rom and a bunch of alien hands, by Robert Csiki.