Long Roads to Ruin, Part 4

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ROM #14 main story
ROM 14 regcvr.jpg
It's the end...but the moment has been prepared for.
"Long Roads to Ruin, Part 4"
Publisher IDW Publishing, Ted Adams
Published in ROM #14
First published November 1, 2017
Cover date September 2017
Written by Chris Ryall & Christos Gage
Pencils by David Messina
Inks by Michele Pasta
Colors by Alessandra Alexakis
Letters by Shawn Lee
Editor Carlos Guzman
Editorial assistant David Mariotte

The Space Knights begin to uncover the extent of the Wraith infection of Earth.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

In Factory Butte, Utah, Orphion slithers across the landscape to the tented structure his Energy Analyzer has been leading him towards owing to its strong Wraith stench. Within Kagan Knight is giving a speech to a large group of humans promising them life eternal...as food for the Presence. Orphion arrives too late to save the humans but witnesses the horrifying spectral form of the deity. Vowing to stop the Wraiths' horrors and perversions, Orphion slays the expendable Wraiths before wrapping Kagan Knight in his tail and demanding answers. Despite being crushed, the Wraith Sorcerer insists nothing can deter their mission. Extending his serpentine tongue from his armor, Orphion disagrees...

Far below the Strait of Messina, Livia attempts to interrogate the Wraiths who mimic Scylla's own words. While attacking Scylla with a Neutralizer spear however, Rom has a brainwave. Ordering Livia to come to him, the two find themselves quickly surrounded by the army only for Rom to expertly throw his spear through two of Scylla's heads. Their destruction causes a wave of confusion to spread through the army confirming Rom's theory that the soldiers are nothing but puppets under Scylla's thrall. Livia fires her light-cannons at the heads which causes Scylla to unleash ink as a defense tactic. While the Wraith army retreats in the confusion, Livia and Rom, now familiar with the ink, use sonics to track their foe to a crevice that leads down below the planet's crust.

Back in Utah, Orphion tracks the energy Kagan Knight released to a similar fissure in the ground. Observing the crack, he wonders why the Wraiths willingly dumped so much psychic energy within and whether the crack is a natural formation, the energy burrowed into the Earth forming the crack or worse...if something below ground formed the crack. As if in response to his queries, an eldritch green light shines from the crack as it seals itself leaving Orphion to wonder why the Wraiths are channeling so much energy below the planet's crust. Unbeknownst to him, his actions are observed by D'rge and the Absence. While the latter is bouncing with glee, the former still advocates caution noting that they have lost Kagan Knight and Orphion is close to finding answers. The Absence is unconcerned however, the endgame is upon them all and the Knights are too late to stop what is coming. The seeds of the future have been planted and they will soon sprout to the Wraiths' designs.

Catching up to Scylla, Rom advocates a cautious approach which Livia predictably ignores in favor of revenge. Livia's threats do not faze Scylla however who is content in the knowledge that she has done her part and that "she" stirs. Ghostly tentacles then burst from the ground, carrying Scylla upwards who boasts that the Wraiths have been on Earth far longer than the Space Knights. And that, although they had intended to simply conquer Earth, the energies surrounding Earth made it ideal for a new homeworld. Collecting energy from whatever source they could, the Wraiths have been feeding their god, who slumbers beneath the planet, a god who at full power will allow the Wraiths to conquer the universe. Information she is giving to the Knights only because they can do nothing to stop it. Though Rom is given pause by her words, Livia is not and rallies her partner, their combined weapons managing to slay Scylla and dissipating the tentacles.

With Scylla's demise, the Analyzers show no further Wraith taint. Alas, it is a small victory in light of the looming threat of the Wraith god, the very same being who drained Livia's energy. Conceding that her and Orphion's initial plan of attempting to destroy Earth would only have hastened the god's growth, Livia asks what their next move will be. Rom says that all they can do is keep fighting until the scourge of the Wraiths is wiped from existence.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Space Knights Dire Wraiths Humans
  • Audience (3)

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"Hold! The Earth trembles! The very ground before me closes! First the ocean, and now this. The Wraith channel their energies into the very heart of the Earth. For what purpose?"

Orphion has clearly spent too much time around Rom.

"We take the fight to the Wraiths as never before, and hope that our might is enough. We fight for Elonia. We fight for Earth. We fight for the entire universe! And we never stop fighting till we have ended the threat of the Dire Wraiths for all time!"

Rom closes out the series.

Notes[edit | edit source]

Continuity notes[edit | edit source]

  • Orphion went off on his own in issue #11 to investigate Wraith activity on the 37th parallel of the United States which, yes, is in Utah.
  • Kagan Knight returns despite having seemingly given his life to the Absence in ROM #9. He didn't last too long against Orphion however.
  • D'rge and the Absence observe Orphion from the same room in which they discussed Rom's arrival and Ore-13 back in ROM #3.
  • Scylla mentions that the Wraiths have been on Earth for far longer than the Space Knights. As flashbacks have previously shown, the Wraiths have been here since they went to war with the Solstar Order in the 1800s. This issue establishes that the Dire Wraith homeworld was destroyed before the Wraiths arrived to Earth.
  • In Scylla's evil monologue, there are flashbacks to Kagan Knight sucking the life from humans in issue #7 and the Absence draining Orphion in issue #9.
  • And to top it all off, Scylla mentions that the Wraiths are gathering energy for their Dark God, the Presence.
  • After Scylla's demise, Livia realizes that her and Orphion's original plan to simply destroy Earth would only have fed the Presence. ROM #9 showed the Absence grinning happily at the Neutralizer energy Orphion was giving to the Wraiths.
  • It is revealed that Livia's energy was in fact drained by the Presence herself in issue #12 rather than Charybdis as was thought to be the case.
  • Issue #8 and #9 had the Wraith Sorcerers dumping their bounties of psychic energy below ground via the drill of an oil platform, we know this was because the Presence is incubating below the Earth's crust.

Real world references[edit | edit source]

  • The Wraith fish heavily resemble Sloane's viperfish which are known to inhabit the Strait of Messina.
  • From afar, the crack Orphion approached appears based on the cracks in time from Series 5 of Doctor Who.

Other notes[edit | edit source]

  • Orphion can extend his tongue out of his armor. It is monumentally creepy to look at.