Written and penciled by Adam Pollina
Inked by Guillermo Zubiaga
56 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Adam Pollina made me buy X-Force. No, it’s true. When he was drawing X-Force I bought the book every month, desperate to see how Pollina would draw the cast every month. You can imagine my delight, then, when I found out that Pollina had a new book being published by Image Comics. I had no idea what Romp would be about, but if it was Pollina, I’d be there.

Romp has been training for a while now, to become a superhero. He’s going to save all the oppressed from the bullies and gangs, thanks to his amazing fighting abilities. After all, with the help of his trainer Chi Chi Gigante (a one-eyed midget that used to be a professional wrestler), what more could he possibly need? All right, perhaps having arms would help, but that’s not going to stop Romp.

Based on the setup for Romp (boy with no arms decides to fight the gangs with wrestling training from a drunk midget), this book should’ve been hysterical, or bizarre, or off-beat… at the very least, fun. Instead, well, what we get is almost 56 pages of a gigantic woman and a no-armed boy wrestling. There’s almost no plot here to speak of, and while Pollina may be a gifted artist, his writing could still use a little hope. The entire book is narrated by Romp’s never-ending internal dialogue with himself, and while it’s certainly realistic that the height of Romp’s mental facilities consists of, “That’s it, come to poppa, bring that sweet ass home,” it’s hardly the most intriguing of stories. Really, the problem is that there’s almost no story here whatsoever, just two people beating the living daylights out of each other.

The art in Romp, on the other hand, sure is pretty. It’s a shame, though, that with the slightly wider dimensions of the pages that they aren’t filled up with Pollina’s art. Instead almost every page has three panels (stacked one on top of the other), floating in a huge amount of gutter space that goes mostly unused. In many ways, Romp reminds me of a set of movie storyboards. Each panel is a sharp focus on a character, often their face for a reaction shot, or the current action. There’s almost no unneeded panels here, every bit and piece used to let the reader catch the movement of the characters as they circle and dance around each other. Pollina’s slightly off-kilter way of drawing people is just as great as I remember it, with fantastic facial expressions and movement that almost glides across the page. I don’t remember seeing Pollina inked by Guillermo Zubiaga before, but the match is perfect here; if I didn’t know better I’d have thought Pollina was inking his own pencils.

Romp is, in the end, a fantastic set of movie storyboards for one of the dullest movies ever made. Every page is fantastic to look at, showing once again that Pollina is an incredibly talented artist. I just wish he’d teamed up with a writer who could’ve made the story interesting. There’s a lot of potential in the setup here, but it just never follows through. Buy Romp for the fantastic art, just know in doing so that it’s the only real draw, if admittedly a strong one.

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1 comment to Romp

  • hello I would like to get in touch with your ink “guy” Guillermo Zubiaga, he is an old friend of mine..Imsael Valenzuela 9104675742. Thank you.