ROM #47-49 (1983)

A grotesque Dire Wraith rises from a swamp and takes over human hosts.

With these issues, Rom takes a strange turn into horror. The story is even called “One Man’s Toys Are Another Man’s Terror,” emphasizing the movement of this book from a toy spin-off into a “real” story aimed at the typical comic book reader: A male early teenager, not a person who plays with action figures.

The female Dire Wraiths are introduced as emerging from a swamp and having mouth-tentacles that puncuture humnas’ foreheads and “feed on their brains.”

It’s pretty badass.  The new design was courtesy of Walt Simonson, just as he was landing his gig on Thor.  A very important creator trying to help upgrade a very unimportant comic, ROM.  Above is the clip from Marvel Age Magazine, a 25 cent promotional comic that was basically one long Bullpen Bulletins.

The horror motif continues to the cover of #49, which appears to be dripping in blood (it’s actually rock formations in a cave, colored red for effect).

The story ends with a tease for #50, as a mysterious spacecraft lands in the wrath-infested town of Clairton. It’s full of skrulls.

Also across these issue, Starshine and ROM continue to develop their romantic relationship.

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