Just in time for Halloween, we’re back to feature all those creepy, kooky, and scary characters of comic book lore! This time, we’re going to take a look at monsters from the vaunted House of Ideas. So, enter, if you dare, for Comic Book Monsters 2012: The Mighty Merry Marvel Edition!
Comic Book Monsters – October 19th: Dire Wraiths
Whoa-ho boy do I love talking about anything related to the late 70s Marvel series Rom: Spaceknight. The basic premise of that series was that Rom’s home planet, Galador, was attacked by the shapeshifting Dire Wraiths. Galador’s defense force, the Spaceknights, was able to repel the attack. The Dire Wraiths returned to their home planet, Wraithworld, in the Dark Nebula. There, Rom followed and planned to wipe them out by banishing them to Limbo. Deciding that Rom’s presence only meant that they would soon have Spaceknights raining down their heads, the Wraiths decided to get the hell out of there.
A bunch of these Wraiths landed on Earth in West Virginia. They began infiltrating the town and soon worked their way into the governments all over the world. A few decades later, Rom landed on Earth to sniff out the Wraith infestation. He was able to wipe out the threat in the small town of Clairton. As the male Wraiths were starting to struggle in their plan to take over the Earth, the females came to Earth and really upped the ante.
The males of the species were a little more technical minded, but also had magical abilities. The Wraith species were red, chubby monsters that the males tended to try to hide by constantly using their shapeshifting abilities. The females, however, were a beast of a different type. The females that came to Earth weren’t just more powerful magically, or less ashamed of their true forms, but they were far more ruthless. While the males would simply take the form of someone they needed/wanted to impersonate and use magic to gain the memories of that impersonated person, the females took it one step further by killing the impersonated person. The females had a barbed tentacle that would shoot from their mouths and as they sucked the brains out of their victims, they’d gain their memories and form while reducing the victims’ bodies to a pools of goo. As a kid, that terrified me. The Wraiths did claim the life of a lesser known hero, the Torpedo, in this manner.
Eventually, Rom, with assistance from the Earth’s heroes, was able to banish the last of the Wraiths on the planet to Limbo. But that wouldn’t be the end of the Wraiths. While the Wraiths’ numbers were severely diminishd by Rom, they were still out and about in the universe. The race would be mentioned more and more often in recent years (probably due to writer Brian Michael Bendis’ love for the Rom series) until they would finally be seen again. When the Russian super team the Winter Guard, found a wrecked Wraith ship and used it as their HQ, they soon discover that long time team member Fantasma was actually a Dire Wraith Queen all along. Soon, a cosmic team calling themselves the Annihilators, uncovered a plot by a group of Skrulls that planned to bring Wraithworld back from banishment and help restore their population and powers to be used as a new weapon for the Skrull Empire.
By why would the Skrulls and Wraiths be inclined to work together? Becuase it was revealed during the Rom series that the Wraiths were an offshoot of Comic Book Monsters alum, the Skrulls.
Check back in tomorrow morning for yet another Comic Book Monsters. We move from aliens back to robots (because robots ARE monsters, dammit!). This particular alternative future robot has a fairly serious need to wipe out mutants!