Spaceknights #3 Review
Lee's "Rom Evangelist" Reviews
SPACEKNIGHTS #3 (of 5) - "Redemption!"
Marvel Comics; Dec 2000
22 pages; $2.99 US, $4.50 CAN
Writer/Plot: Jim Starlin
Penciler/Plot: Chris Batista
Inker: Holdredge & Cannon
Letters: Jon Babcock
Colors: Tom Chu & Illusion Art
Editor: Mike Marts
Chief: Joe Quesada
More wonderful art, although I have a few quibbles with it this time
around. The story is a definite improvement over last issue, but I
feel like something's missing. Maybe I should wait to read them in a
more comfortable setting instead of reading them as soon as I get to
my car. Still, recommended.
*** BEGIN SPOILER SPACE ***
In case you didn't know, I seem to be one of the biggest (or at least
most vocal) Rom fans on the Internet. Therefore, this review is most
likely biased, but I'll try to keep it balanced.
*** END SPOILER SPACE ***
Before I say anything else I have to get this off my chest. Page 5,
panel 1: Tristan's mother (Brandy) was *Starshine* for a time, not
Scanner. This really, really bugged me and hampered my enjoyment of
the next few pages. This kind of blatant error should have been
Okay, I feel better now.
I've been negligent in giving a plot overview in the past, so here it
is. Tristan has visions of attacks which quickly come to pass. The
Spaceknights fight the Wraithknights, barely holding their own. Then
the Wraiths call in a Deathwing. A strategic retreat is in order, but
Tristan apparently starts having another vision as they need to make
their escape. Meanwhile, the Dire Wraith Lord Gaspar has planted an
implosion bomb to destroy Axadar on Galador.
Now, the art. Again, another solid issue over all. I didn't even
notice the change in inkers until I checked the credits for this
review. I guess that's a testament to the strength of Batista's
pencils. I do have a few criticisms, though.
We get a new effect when Tristan has a vision. (His eyes are
highlighted while the rest of his face is shadowed.) It's not a bad
effect, but I think they need to pick one and stick with it for
Next, the blurring effect has been used successfully in previous
issues, but in this issue I feels it's overdone. First, Tristan's
first vision is completely blurred so much that it's somewhat hard to
make out. Blurring the edges would have done. Then, page 10 (Dammit,
Marvel, number your pages!), panel 1, speed lines would have sufficed
for the Wraithknight coming up behind Liberator. The blurring could
make it easily confused for another of his visions instead. Likewise,
we don't need the double image in the next panel to know the
Wraithknight is falling back from Sentry's blow. And page 13, panel 3
has blurred edges for no apparent reason, other than artistic, I
suppose. Really, guys, comic books have done just fine without these
special effects for decades, so please use them only as needed.
We also have the problem of the invisible Spaceknights. Several
Spaceknights are struck down by the Wraithknights this issue. That's
fine, but where did they come from? We only see them when they're
hit. It's okay that there are Spaceknights who we don't know anything
about, but their presence needs to be established in other panels.
When I saw the first one struck down, I thought it was Terminator
because we hadn't seen any Spaceknights except the ones we knew up to
There's also a disappearance. Where did Terminator go in the final
two pages of the issue? Did Liberator put him down or hand him to
another Spaceknight? Putting him down wouldn't seem wise since
they're about to evacuate.
And as an old-school Rom fan, I have to comment on the new look of the
Deathwing. What's up with that? In ROM, Deathwings were solid black
with red eyes. This one's got funky green lines all over it. I don't
mind the look being slightly updated, but this was overdoing it. I
found they're shadowy, black forms more menacing.
And while we're on the subject of designs, I'm a little confused about
how the new Spaceknight armor works thanks to Vanium. We've seen
them remove their helmets and raise their faceplates, so there would
seem to be a full head under them. But Vanium has these large open
spaces on his helmet that seem like they should be exposing his face
much more than is advisable.
Speaking of Vanium, I'm a little confused how his power works. He's
apparently creating some kind of portal back to their ship, but I see
no evidence of one.
On the plus side of the art, maybe it's just me, but Brandy looks a
little older this issue. When I first saw her in issue #1, I thought
she looked almost as young as she did in ROM. Considering the time
that's passed, she should look more like she did this issue. (Even if
Galador happens to have the technology to keep people younger longer.)
Also, we get to see a bit more of the Spaceknights powers and weapons
this issue. In particular, Javelin's javelin and Terminator's eye
beams. It also appears that Sentry has the power to summon multiple
types of archaic (energy?) weapons, such as a big, honkin' sword (seen
previously), a bow with energy arrows (which reminds me of the one
from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon), and a battleaxe.
Okay, on to the story. A two hour delay seems like an awful long time
for Lord Gaspar's bomb. Maybe a "quarter sec" is bigger than I think,
but how long does it take him to get away? The longer the delay, the
more likely it will be discovered.
Later, when the Spaceknights finally kill two Wraithknights, I
realize they don't have much time, but I can't help but feel grabbing
a body for later analysis would have been a high priority, considering
how little they know about their foes. No one seems to even think of
this. And Tristan's "victory is ours" cry; that seems a bit premature.
And lastly, we have Firefall's mysterious "he who I share my existence
with." Pulsar cuts him off, but dang, I wanted to hear *that* story.
(Okay, actually not that story because I read it in ROM #19, but the
story of this Firefall's origin.) It seems Tarn has a lot closer ties
to his Spaceknight predecessor than most. I hope they have room to
expand on this. Perhaps, considering how many characters are in this
series, it should have been six issues instead of five. (Just how
many five issue limited series have their been before, anyway? The
only one that comes to mind is the first PUNISHER LS.)
Other than that, the issue is mostly one long battle. And that's not
necessarily a bad thing. The Spaceknights are warriors, after all. I
just worry that whatever happens in #5 will seem like a cop out since
this issue rather effectively showed how ineffective the Spaceknights
are against the Wraithknights.
(BTW, you might also want to check out the Spaceknights Annotations I
posted on racmu. They're also available at my Rom, Spaceknight
Revisited web site (http://home.hiwaay.net/~lkseitz/comics/Rom/.)