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Byron Brewer

What the D'ast? Roma


(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)


By Byron Brewer

picAlthough I always enjoyed her appearances, especially in Uncanny X-Men, I have never exactly been able to figure out Roma’s place in the scheme of things. She is obviously a heavy hitter, and yet I never recall her hobnobbing with the Abstracts like the Living Tribunal … or even Molecule Man!

What I do know is that, along with her father Merlyn, Roma protects the Marvel Multiverse, empowering agents and manipulating events to handle threats on each Earth. On Earth-616, as “The Lady of the Northern Skies,” she picked Brian Braddock to be her champion, Captain Britain. He was tested and forged to be used against the reality-warping mutant Mad Jim Jaspers; even when Braddock was killed prior to confronting Jaspers, Roma and Merlyn resurrected him. But as Roma and her father monitored the battle they had so long prepared for, Merlyn unexpectedly appeared to die. Roma gathered the champions they had created and held a state funeral before assuming rule of Otherworld.

Though more compassionate than her sire, Roma proved no less manipulative, following plans Merlyn had set in motion before his demise. After Brian's sister Elizabeth joined the X-Men, Roma used the mutant heroes in her battle against the Adversary and then sent them through the Siege Perilous, letting the world believe them dead. She used Brian's grief over his sister's “death” as a catalyst in creating the U.K. superteam Excalibur, jinxing him so he could no longer work alone effectively and allying him with some of the surviving X-Men.

Even Roma seemed surprised, though, when Merlyn revealed he was alive moments before Excalibur's battle with Necrom, the foe they had been created to defeat. Seemingly angered at Merlyn's manipulation, she telepathically informed the heroes how to destroy his main power source.

Roma later aided X-Factor in destroying the resurrected Adversary, and presided at the wedding of Brian Braddock and Meggan. When young Franklin Richards created a duplicate Earth, Roma sent agents to abduct him, ostensibly to monitor and control his powers; but the pleas of the Human Torch and an assurance by Galactus (aha, there ya go!) that the word of the Fantastic Four could be trusted persuaded her to leave Franklin in his family's care.

When the sentient computer Mastermind and his army of Warpies attacked Otherworld, they killed most of the Captain Britain Corps and tortured Roma until she was rescued by Brian Braddock's New Excalibur team. After destroying Mastermind, Roma handed over rulership of Otherworld to Brian, saying her time there was limited and her destiny lay elsewhere. Shortly afterwards, when Abraxas threatened all Eternity, Roma revealed she had aided Franklin years earlier when he had taken his unborn sister from his mother's womb. Roma had raised the girl until she could be returned in a form able to assist Franklin in resurrecting Galactus, thus precipitating Abraxas' defeat. Before his downfall, Abraxas apparently slew Roma, but she was ultimately resurrected in the process.

Mad Jim Jaspers and Fury later return to attack Roma’s home, the Starlight Citadel, in a plan orchestrated by Roma's father, Merlyn. During the battle, Roma is again mortally wounded and gives all her knowledge to Sage before Merlyn removes the same knowledge and kills her.

I doubt Roma is dead; this appears to be an alien concept to many of these, er uh, aliens. Look for the Guardian of the Multiverse to reappear sometime soon.