Old Marvel comics get new life at IDW. When I was growing up, there were a plethora of toy-based comic books on the shelves, some good and some not so good. But among those good ones were ROM, Spaceknight and Micronauts. The license for those toys reverted back to Hasbro who has a licensing deal with IDW to develop comics based on their properties. Other popular Marvel properties like G.I. Joe and Transformers have already been adapted by IDW and now are forming a cohesive universe with these Hasbro lines. The comic series Revolution unites the “Joes” with all of these other characters as an attack upon the human population by ROM is being seen as the beginning of a robot takeover. From there all sorts of chaos ensues.
ROM with his glowing eyes was an interesting action figure on his own, but the comic book introduced all sorts of other cool characters and the folks at Marvel developed a really intriguing background. The idea of a group of people so dedicated to doing good that they would give up their humanity for the sake of saving others really hearkened back to the days of Camelot. The Dire Wraiths were evil foes and there was a dichotomy between the magic using shape-shifting wraiths and the science-created spaceknights that pitted science against magic. But overall this was a classic good vs. evil battle.
In the case of the Micronauts, the comic book was definitely better than the toy line. For me, the idea of these heroes operating in a universe not parallel to ours but right under our noses was an interesting premise. Like ROM, the Micronauts found a way to interact with the heroes of the Marvel Universe. And also like ROM, the series outlasted the toys it was based on. Both books lasted from 1979 to 1986 at Marvel until being discontinued. Unlike ROM which has largely remained shelved since then, the Micronauts have been revived twice both times having only very short runs.
Having read issues from both series, each has been done well. The art in both is good and the stories are familiar yet with their own twist. ROM so far doesn’t quite have the feel of the old comic. Something about the idea of giving up humanity in a noble pursuit made the Marvel book filled with purpose. So far, this version of ROM has been seen largely as a threat and his mission at odds with humanity which they have emphasized a lot at the beginning. Also, the Dire Wraiths don’t seem as evil as their Marvel counterparts. Instead they seem like a race seeking asylum from a being who is so dogged in his pursuit that they are relentlessly hunted down. Of course it is very early in the series and the groundwork is still being laid, but it is a worthy read. The same is true for Micronauts. It’s a good book with lots of potential and the way they’ve written it so far leaves them room for creative license. In particular the dynamic between the team has a family feel to the book that is done just right. Fans of the old Marvel books certainly won’t be disappointed. If you were a fan of these Marvel classics, these new books are worth a try!