Friday, October 24, 2008

ROM: Spaceknight (and how to fight Dire Wraiths)

After this decent start, Michael Golden
gave us covers that simply rocked.
In the late 70's, Mego, Hasbro and Mattel began having comics made from their toy lines. These were the early days of cross-over marketing, and it worked surprisingly well with G. I. Joe and The Micronauts having issues running for years after the primary toys stopped production.

But one toy that had NO other extras, no villains, no vehicles, no other accoutrements or any other physical support did exceptionally well in comic format. The toy itself lacked a lot of mobility, but it had electronic sounds and flashing lights so it was cool enough for us.

ROM the Spaceknight!
As I said, Rom as a toy did not do much. He had cool rocket sounds and flashing lights, but that was it. The arms and legs had very little mobility and frankly, were a bit spindly for the body and head. In the comic though, his proportions were nicely captured in a more heroic posture. His name was taken from the "Read Only Memory" drives - R.O.M. But Bill Mantlo, the main writer for ROM: Spaceknight gave us a more righteous reason for his name: on his home planet of Galador, Rom means "first". He was the First Spaceknight of all.

Spaceknights were cyborgs, dedicated men and women, who gave up their lives and their humanity to be encased in robotic shells so they could fly through space and do battle with the Dire Wraiths - wicked, magic-using and shape-changing aliens who had nearly destroyed them and now infiltrated our more primitive Earth. In classic "Monster-Is-Good, Trusted-People-Are-Bad" Sci-Fi fashion, ROM lands in a small town in Virginia and begins dispatching said Dire Wraiths with his "Neutralizer" - a hand-held weapon that sent their alien forms into "Limbo" a sub-space realm of imprisonment (sort of like Superman's Phantom Zone) with one unfortunate side-effect.

It turned their human shells into dust.

To any outsider, it looked just like Rom had vaporized a human being. (Remember that scene in War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise running his tail off? There you go -just watch this clip if you don't recall or haven't seen it.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYGWG2_PB_Q#t=44

If you thought that might cause problems, you'd be right.

He ends up having only one ally - a young woman named Brandy. She falls in love with the man under the armor - talk about an unrequited love affair!

Does this concept of a cyborg alien knight fighting undercover aliens sound cool to you? It did to me.

Rom would show up, face these evil beings and in purity and power, demolish them. In an encounter with Hybrid, a Human/Dire Wraith offspring, he is attacked by the villainous Rogue from X-Men, who tries to absorbs Rom's "power". She ends up absorbing part of his goodness and nobility, which changes her soul. Soon afterwards, she repents and leaves her villainous cohorts to join the X-men - to become a heroine. A very popular one, in fact.

Rom was the cause of that ladies and gentlemen. Wow.

Is it possible to terrify people as you step out to save them? Do people always see the exercise of goodness and power as helpful?

Nope. In fact, the spiritual warfare we wage as Christians is so subtle sometimes we are in danger of seeming to be kooks for even mentioning it - but it is real nonetheless.

Mark 3:10-12
For he [Jesus] had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God!" But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.

Sometimes it is best to keep a low profile. Rom was not too good at that.

Our Lord was.

But when the True Hero does show up to kick some evil tail, the demons all act the same: they start screaming and running and begging and crying out.

Mark 5:6-16
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"

Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"

"My name is Legion," he replied,"for we are many." And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man — and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

I loved Rom coming from another world to destroy the Dire Wraiths.

What do you think Jesus is doing here? Yeah. The same.

God was reaching my heart before I knew it. He was touching my imagination and my desire through a toy and a comic book based on that toy, but still it came down to destroying the works of the devil, to being a knight in shining armor.

I have seen the demon-possessed in India. I have not had the privilege of setting someone fully free, but I have aided and/or alerted another so they could. We had a success. We had a failure. But we knew what we were dealing with, and it was not human.

Its cool, you know? To find you can do something like Jesus. To set people free.

Does this upset you? It should. We are talking about unnatural things that can overrun the human soul.

There are Dire Wraiths among us. There are those who want to use humans as playthings. We can invite them in; we can cast them out. But that last ability is only by the Spirit and the Name Above All Names.

Jesus wins. Just be sure you know Him and He knows you, or you might find yourself getting beaten badly.

Be the first to be a spaceknight on your block: call on Jesus Christ, the Firstborn of God to empower you.

Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment