August 11, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #389: Romulus

So, there was this Wolverine-like character who was something of a mastermind but is probably just a liar.

Writer Jeph Loeb has this habit I have noticed where he writes these characters that tend to be really overpowered in ways that I sometimes found annoying.  He’d have Batman knocking out Doomsday clones, and the less said about the Red Hulk, the better.  So, really, learning he was the creator of the character of Romulus isn’t all that shocking.

Who is Romulus?  Well, he’s probably a liar.  Or he’s really, really old.  And he hates Wolverine.

Romulus first appeared as a shadowy figure in Wolverine, Volume 3 #50, but was actually visible in Wolverine: Origins #38.  Worth noting that shadowy appearance came out in March of 2007 but he didn’t actually appear in full until August of 2009, so the creators must have hoped the readers thought the guy was worth it.  Was he?  He seems to be more of the sort of character who was always just one step ahead of the hero in a way that was theoretically supposed to make him more formidable so his final defeat would be more satisfying, but I tend to find it more annoying than anything else when this suped-up character that is always winning just keeps winning even if the hero eventually prevails in the end.

Take the Red Hulk for example.  Loeb basically had the guy beating up everybody.  He manhandled Iron Man, She-Hulk, dozens of SHIELD agents, Spider-Man, punched out the Watcher for no reason, and even used a lame excuse to beat Thor with his own hammer by claiming zero gravity or some such.  Oh, and then he smacked around the Banner-Hulk.  Worth noting this run came just after Planet Hulk and World War Hulk when the Hulk was smart and going by the name “Worldbreaker”.  Then again, Loeb wrote the Hulk as stupid again, but he’s as bad as Geoff Johns for resetting the clock to the Silver Age all the time.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  Romulus.

Romulus is basically Wolverine on steroids.  He has similar hair but with an Omega Red ponytail, and yeah, there are claws and a healing factor.  But he’s also taller and a lot more muscular.  Wolverine is famous for being short, but Romulus is bigger than Sabertooth.  Oh, and he’s also some kind of genetic genius, giving depowered mutants Feral and Thorn their powers back, making clones of Sabertooth, and generally just being That Guy.

You know.  That Guy.  The guy in the shadows that suddenly turns out to be behind so many of the hero’s problems.  Romulus, for example, kidnapped Logan’s infant son Daken after the birth killed the boy’s mother and raised Daken to be the sort of sociopath that would always give Wolverine problems.  Romulus even eventually grafted adamantium to his claws because why not?  Oh, and he had some minor telepathic powers as well.

As for his origins, Romulus claimed he was very old.  Like, a onetime Roman Emperor old.  He said he was a different kind of mutant, one descended from wolves instead of apes, and even Nick Fury found evidence that he was a very old man who had been messing with the entire Howlett clan for generations.  So, he just really had it in for Wolverine and all his ancestors.

Or, he didn’t.  Or at least not as much as he claimed.  See, what good is a Romulus without a Remus?  There was a Remus in the form of Romulus’s twin sister.  She’d show up from time to time, a much more benevolent figure, and basically say her brother was a huge liar who made a lot of that stuff up.  And yeah, Wolverine did eventually beat him in some fights.

Has Romulus been seen much since Jeph Loeb stopped writing Wolverine’s adventures?  Admittedly, I don’t know.  But he sounds like the kind of character I wouldn’t like very much, so I would be very glad if that was the case.  He sounds to me like a real snickerdoodle.

Then again, I never really liked That Guy.

%d bloggers like this: