Earthfall: Part Three
|"Earthfall": Part Three|
|Publisher||IDW Publishing, Ted Adams|
|First published||September 21, 2016|
|Cover date||September 2016|
|Written by||Chris Ryall and Christos Gage|
|Art by||David Messina|
|Inks by||Michele Pasta|
|Color assist by||Alessandra Alexakis|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
Rom gains a new ally in his war with the Wraiths as Darby faces enemies everywhere she turns.
Rom and Camilla Byers are held captive on a beach by the Dire Wraith sorcerer D'rge. D'rge taunts Rom, questioning why he is alone when Space Knights normally travel in pairs. D'rge then begins to siphon energy from Rom’s armor. Camilla Byers snaps at the Wraith, telling him to leave Rom alone. D'rge feels Camilla’s rage echo in his mind and looks inside hers. He tells her that she will soon see things quite differently thanks to the Wraithmark on her face. Camilla tells the sorcerer that humanity will never let the Wraiths take their planet from them. D'rge tells her that they aren’t here to take Earth, but to save it. He shows her a vision of Dire Wraiths arriving on Earth in the 1800s, offering peace to humans. D'rge says that if they wanted to destroy Earth, they would have done so long ago. The Dire Wraiths are simply refugees, looking for a home. Camilla senses he is telling the truth, and D'rge offers to remove the “taint” from her. However, all the talk between Camilla and D'rge has given Rom the time he needed to channel his Neutralizer’s beam into his wrist Analyzers, destroying a Wraith soldier and freeing himself and Camilla. D'rge escapes as another Wraith soldier is easily executed by Rom. Rom uses his Analyzer to examine the Wraithmark on Camilla, and he informs her that it is spreading, slowly, and that he may be able to cure her of it. However, he cannot guarantee that it won’t kill her. He offers her a third option: use her psychic link to the Wraiths to sense their true forms.
Meanwhile, Darby Mason is being escorted out of Vandenberg Air Force Base by Dave Dubosky, Dr. Shen, and her former commanding officer, having been retrieved from Blind-Eye Cave by the military and taken to Vandenberg. Darby tells them that the "alien killing machine" may have a person inside of it, but she withholds Rom's true nature and information about the Dire Wraiths, unsure who to trust. Dubosky gives her a GPS phone and a "neural disruptor" to defend herself if the "machine" comes back before sending her on a bus to visit extended family. However, after she boards the bus, she begins to imagine her fellow passengers are Dire Wraiths in disguise. She gets off the bus and waits by the coast to collect herself. An hour later, Darby notices Rom, carrying Camilla, flying by above the ocean, firing the neural disruptor in the air to get his attention. Rom recognizes it as a Wraith weapon, but is relieved to see Darby, telling her that he returned to the cave, but she had already gone. Camilla introduces herself and, using her psychic connection to the Wraiths, confirms to Darby that Dubosky is a Wraith. While Darby is initially hesitant to trust Camilla, she ultimately accepts her. Realizing that the military is filled with Wraiths, the three decide to find a way to get inside Vandenberg and find out if there are any humans left there. When Rom asks how, Darby pulls out the phone Dubosky gave her and says that he won't like her plan.
Having returned to his base at a lighthouse on the coast, D'rge reflects on his recent encounter with Rom, and the ever-changing nature of the war between Dire Wraiths and Space Knights. He walks down a stairwell to an underground chamber with an old man strung up. D'rge absorbs the man's appearance and returns to his home, where he psychically reports to a ghostly Dire Wraith. He confirms that this is indeed Rom, and that they were successful in blocking his Analyzers, but that he sensed the Space Knight has changed from his long crusade. D'rge insists Rom be taken out now, but the other Wraith reminds him of another opportunity: the Cybertronians. Soon, the moment to strike will be near.
Elsewhere, Darby has called Dubosky to pick up her and Camilla, who is ranting to the pair about shape-changing aliens infiltrating human society. As they arrive at Vandenberg, one of the guards asks to check their truck's cargo. While Dubosky tells him to simply "call the General," Darby tells the guard exactly what's in the back: the alien that killed her parents – Rom has been captured and restrained in the back of the truck!
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|Space Knights||Dire Wraiths||Humans|
"And you, Wraith, step away from the human. And become a butterfly. Camilla Byers, what is a butterfly?"
"Okay, we're good. I trust her... She's not a Wraith, anyway."
"This is welcome news. But we are not enough. Your military–"
"Is lousy with Wraiths. And you can't tell who they are. But she can... if we can get her on base."
"Ever heard of the Trojan War? Star Wars? Yeah, didn't figure. Let's just say I doubt you're gonna like it."
- —Darby Mason and Rom
- Camilla was first infected with the Wraith-mark back in ROM #0.
- Dubosky tells Darby that special armor is being developed to fight Rom, referring to the Axiom armor featured in the ROM: Revolution one-shot, which chronologically take place after this story arc.
- This issue establishes that Darby's parents were infected by Wraiths during her deployment before her return in ROM #1.
Real life references
- The human author quoted by the Wraith is Richard David Bach from his book, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.
- Darby figures that her parents were infected while she was stationed in the Green Zone during the United States' invasion of Iraq.
- Darby compares her plan to the Trojan War (obviously referring to the Trojan Horse gambit from Greek mythology) and Star Wars (where characters Luke Skywalker and Han Solo infiltrated the Death Star disguised as Stormtroopers).
- Regular cover: Rom emerges from fire, by Bill Sienkiewicz.
- Subscription cover A: Rom crouched with his Neutralizer, by David Messina.
- Subscription cover B: Rom flies into space, by J. K. Woodward.
- Subscription cover C: Rom fighting a tentacled alien, by Steve Scott and Lovern Kindzierski.
- Retailer incentive cover: Rom blasts a Dire Wraith, by Marcelo Matere.