To say that the news from San Diego Comic-Con that IDW will be launching a new ROM Spaceknight series in 2016 put me on Cloud 9 would be an understatement. Much like my dream of one day traveling into space, this is a wish that I’d long since written off as equally unlikely. I was familiar with IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall for some time as a fellow fan of the Galadorian gladiator, and that he’s campaigned hard to get the rights to IDW. He’s a likely candidate to write ROM’s return, and Ryall has some serious writing chops. I could go on and speculate, but suffice it to say as soon as I heard the news I was confident that with Ryall being involved we Spaceknight fans will get the series we’ve so desperately wanted for far too long.

All of this news did bring another comic book to my attention: ONYX. This four issue miniseries was created by Ryall and Locke & Key artistic mastermind Gabriel Rodriguez. The first issue launched shortly before SDCC (planned?) and I started hearing that the protagonist and plot are based on a certain cybernetic alien who shares a name with common computer hardware. I was intrigued, but I was hearing that the similarities were so strong as to question if ONYX is essentially a ROM Spaceknight knockoff.

So is it?

ONYX is indeed an alien cyborg come to Earth to protect us from an alien taint which corrupts all life it comes into contact with. If you’re a ROM fan then this sounds very familiar. Many of ONYX’s mannerisms and way of speaking are distinctly ROM, but this comes off more like a loving reference than a rip-off. Even ONYX’s first appearance is an overt reference to ROM, so they aren’t trying to hide any of the inspiration here. ONYX‘s twist on the plot specifics pleases me, and the craft truly is in the details. Ultimately though, it’s the characters (ONYX included) that grabbed me even from the few sample pages.

Rodriguez’s art is as gorgeous as you’d expect if you’ve ever even glanced at Locke & Key, and he revels in his first science fiction outing. Jay Fotos renders superb colors that make everything pop and click. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a new comic more than once, and when I’ve finished this review I’m going to sit down for my third read; yes, it’s that awesome.

If you’re a fan of ROM, then get this book. If you’re a fan of speculative sci-fi, then get this book. If you’re a fan of Locke & Key, both for it’s art and it’s character driven narrative, then get this book! If you’re a fan of innovative original stories then get this book. That’s right, original stories. ONYX may draw from many inspirations, but what the creative team has come up with is something unique.

Get yourself hooked like I did on these opening pages then get yourself a copy

Is ONYX more than just a ROM Spaceknight knockoff?