|Publisher||IDW Publishing, Ted Adams|
|First published||February 8, 2017|
|Cover date||January 2017|
|Written by||Chris Ryall and Christos Gage|
|Pencils by||David Messina|
|Inks by||Michele Pasta|
|Colors by||Alessandra Alexakis & David Messina|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Editorial assistant||David Mariotte|
The origin of Rom!
On the planet Elonia, a series of asteroids land on the planets surface, penetrating the energy shield that surrounds the planet. A group of meteorites land near the Thrail Mountains, in front of the home of the K'atsema family. Mothers Benna and Shah go outside to investigate while their youngest son Reyn goes to collect rocks. Benna and Shah decide to call their older son, a geologist named Rom, to help them examine the rocks. Reyn pulls one of the stones out of the ground to show his mothers and it begins to glow in his hand. Rom heads home with his university friends Livia and Fy-Laa, excited to see what secrets the asteroids hold. As they near his house, they see the building explode.
Members of the Solstar Order, including evidence recorder Whrrr, Lieutenant Diavod, and Commanding Officer Orphion, arrive on the scene, detecting energy signatures matching those of the Dire Wraiths, as well as Shah, who survived the explosion. They take her to the Solstar Academy Medical Center where Diavod informs Rom and Livia that while they're doing everything they can, she's likely already infected. Rom suspects the meteor shower was an attack since they only landed near settlements and wants to know who killed his family. Diavod is hesitant to tell him, but the three then notice the victims sitting up. Rom asks what is going on, only to be attacked by "Shah" now transformed into a Dire Wraith. Diavod readies his Neutralizer, but loses it in battle with the Wraith. Realizing that this creature is not his mother, Rom grabs the Neutralizer and fires at the Wraith, knocking it back and forcing the Wraiths to flee as Solstar officers Maur and Q'b arrive. Diavod is impressed with how Rom handled his Neutralizer and offers him a place in the Solstar Order.
After Rom, Livia, and Fy-laa are inducted into the Order, they are briefed on the Dire Wraith and the threat they represent. Rom is angry that Imperator Carax didn't tell the Elonians about the Wraiths sooner, but resolves to eliminate the threat now. As the trio begin their training, Orphion tells Diavod of his doubts they will accomplish much. Rom and Livia also grow more romantically entangled, much to the chagrin of Fy-laa. After graduating to cadets, the three are assigned to guard a potential Wraith command post at the Thrail Mountains. Rom is frustrated that the Order won't give them a real mission, but Orphion tells him that if he wants respect, he should earn it by doing his job.
As the group prepares to settle in for the night, they are attacked by a cadre of Wraiths, including the one that infected Shah. Livia calls Orphion for backup, but the Wraiths easily knock away their Neutralizers and strike Livia, destroying one of her eyes. As his Wraith-infected mother tells Rom to submit, Rom grabs his Neutralizer and fires it into the ground, blowing a hole in the ground and leading the three to fall down one of the mine shafts. Rom tells the others to run as he holds them off, but his Neutralizer's power is empty after its prior use. Refusing to go down without a fight, he grabs a stone from the ground, to which the Wraiths react in fear. The "Ore" as the Wraiths call it then begins to surround Rom's arm. One of the Wraiths approach the Elonian, but he strikes it, managing to actually hurt it. The Ore surrounds Rom's body, causing him to convulse over in pain before standing up, revealing his entire body covered in crystalline armor. He reaches for his Neutralizer, only for the armor to absorb it, allowing him to fire its energy from his hands. Livia and Fy-laa also grab some of the Ore to create armor for themselves. The trio use the enhanced abilities of the Ore to destroy the Wraiths. However, when they try to remove the armor, it refuses to come off. They are now permanently bonded to the Ore.
Later, the Solstar Order has begun to harvest the Ore for research, seeing the potential of its use against the Wraiths. Rom is hesitant to believe their current situation is a blessing, but Livia and Orphion both agree that regardless of the cost, this armor is the best chance they have to combat the Wraiths. Orphion volunteers to undergo Ore conversion and says that he will lead the Knights of the Solstar Order, but that all future Knights must be experienced warriors who volunteer. As Orphion and the others leave to return to the test site, Rom flies back to the remains of his home, using his Neutralizer to shine a beam of light into space as a reminder to both himself and the universe what he is fighting for. So swears Rom, the Space Knight!
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|Solstar Order||Dire Wraiths||Elonians|
"I'll need my Neutralizer back now, boy. But the way you handled it... maybe we can get you one of your own."
- —Diavod to Rom
"The Wraiths are parasites. They merge with us and kill. But the armor is symbiotic... it makes us stronger."
- Elonian religion apparently has six hells. That is awesome.
- Rom has mentioned the devastation of his homeworld by the Wraiths in ROM #1 and several issues since.
- Issues #5 and #6 mentioned a previous relationship between Rom and Livia that ended, which happens in this issue.
- Several Space Knights seen in a flashback in issue #2 receive names in this issue.
- The Space Knights' armor is revealed in this issue to be a strange extraterrestrial ore discovered on Elonia. Coupled with the fact that in Revolution #3 Rom's armor responded to the presence of a Cybertronian spacebridge, and that the Dire Wraiths seem to have some connection to it much as they did with Ore-13 in Revolution, it seems to be heavily implied that the armor is formed from one of the Regenesis ores created by the Cybertronian Shockwave. This would later be confirmed in Unicron #0 with the armor being Ore-12.
- The early Neutralizers used by the Solstar Order are based on the original Neutralizer toy.
- When Rom first merges with the Ore, his armor has the "mitten hands" of his original toy.
- Towards the beginning of the book, Rom complains that he isn't considered a "true Knight of the Order", yet later questions Orphion's use of the phrase "Knights of the Solstar Order" as if it were the first time he's heard it.
- When this issue was first released digitally, it was missing its last page, making it look like Rom just sort of trailed off before saying his name. This was subsequently fixed.
- Originally solicited for release in January, this issue arrives a month late in the second week of February.
- Regular cover: Rom and Livia hold one another, by David Messina.
- Subscription cover: Rom gaining his armor in homage to a Bob Larkin Hulk cover, by J.K. Woodward.
- ROM #8
- ROM #9
- ROM #10
- ROM Vol. 1 trade paperback
- IDW "Annual Offensive"