Real Name: Unrevealed (possibly Astra)
(Galadorian) cyborg (Spaceknight);
active circa the late 1700s and the modern era, at least
Occupation: Spaceknight, warriorGroup Membership: Spaceknights of Galador (Hammerhand, Javelin (Dara), Rainbow, Rom, Screamer, Starshine/Landra, Terminator, numerous unidentified; possibly Roamer)
Affiliations: Angel Elite, Prime Director;
formerly/briefly Galactus (Galan)
Enemies: Dire Wraiths,
Galactus (Galan), Mentus (the evil aspect of the Prime Director), Terrax the Tamer (Tyros of Lanlak);
formerly Terminator (Spaceknight);
fought the Angel Elite when they were allied with Terminator (who posed as Rom and was manipulated by Mentus)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
presumably born on Galador, third from the sun in the Taloman system, Milky Way Galaxy
First Appearance: (Alleged (or possibly just behind-the-scenes); unidentified) Rom#25 (December 1981);
(as Astra) Rom#26 (January 1982) - ???
Powers/Abilities: Astra had an unspecified level of superhuman
strength. Rom, "greatest of the Spaceknights," could lift around 15
tons, but we don't how Astra and Rom's strength specifically compared.
Astra was presumably resistant to injury by conventional means due to his Plandanium armor, and he could survive for extended periods in the cold and vacuum of space. His armor was likely capable of withstanding temperatures similar to other Spaceknights, ranging from perhaps 8000 degrees Fahrenheit to –350 degrees Fahrenheit (or possibly somewhat lower on the high end of the temperature range), and was a hermetically sealed, vacuum tight, seamless shell (including articulation). His armor may have been capable of withstanding ballistic impacts of up to large antitank weaponry, and pressures of up to 40 pounds per square inch (the equivalent of the blast effects of 1000 pounds of TNT at the range of 100 feet) without damage or impairment of functions.
Assuming Astra's construction mirrors that of other Spaceknights like Rom: Astra is composed of a heavily armored cybernetic exoskeleton, an electrically maintained flexible metallic armor, Plandanium, which included fluid “motors” that gave him strength. Astra's central and autonomic nervous system were “genetically grafted” into a computerized cybernetic exoskeleton. His brain was augmented by organic computer assemblies and kept alive in a blood-like fluid that still had to be circulated through his body’s vital organs to be provided with essential enzymes and vitamins with trace elements. Certain components of the “blood’s” plasma-like fluid were added to by automatic machinery that required occasional replenishment; this eliminated the need for breathing.
Astra’s natural organs within his armor were augmented by automated micro-functioning circuitry. Astra’s cyborg form was designed with numerous site of redundancy programming so that his body could not lose her various abilities through damage or malfunction.
Astra could fly, both within an atmosphere and in space. He may or may not have been equipped with rocket pods mounted in twin nacelles on his back. If so, these pods would have been electrically powered, low-density plasma engines with sufficient velocity to achieve solar system escape velocity (36 mile per second, out of atmosphere). His peak speed within an atmosphere was unrevealed but likely comparable to (or perhaps somewhat slower) than that of Rom, who could reach a maximum speed of Mach 4 (about 3000 miles per hour) before heat buildup from friction caused detrimental effects to his external sensor arrays. Cool atmospheric re-entry was likely achieved through rocket-assisted deceleration.
Like some other Spaceknights, Astra likely contained internal sensing devices that allowed him to locate space warps (topological folds in the space/time continuum that permit “shortcuts” across vast interstellar distances).
Astra presumably possessed a translator similar to Rom's, though perhaps built-in, to enable him to communicate with any sentient being within seconds.
Although, as a cyborg, Astra did not sleep, he occasionally self-induced a “shutdown”
of all his major systems in order to give himself time to rest and dream.
Any unique abilities Astra may or may not have possessed were not demonstrated in his limited appearances.Height: (Cyborg/armored) unrevealed (approximately 7'); (as humanoid) unrevealed
(Rom#1 (fb) - BTS) - Circa the late 1700s by Earth reckoning, the Dire Wraiths threatened Galador and her colonies. Millions of youths volunteered to defend their homeworld by being bonded into cyborg armor to become living weapons: The Spaceknights.
However, only around 1000 were initially found to be compatible. One of these became Astra. He joined his fellow Spaceknights in forming a defensive ring around Galador when the Wraiths invaded the home solar system, and after a long and arduous fight, the battle ended with the Wraiths routed and fleeing.
(Rom#13/2 - BTS) - With Galador saved, the Spaceknights hoped to have their humanity restored, but Galador's Prime Director reminded them that the Wraiths still threatened other, less protected worlds, and Rom, the first Spaceknight volunteer and respected for his heroism in the recent battle, rallied his fellow Spaceknights to remain cyborgs for a while longer, while they hunted the Wraiths to the end of the universe.
(Rom#20/2 (fb) - BTS) - Like his fellow Spaceknights, Astra swore an oath never take an innocent life.
(Rom#14/2 -BTS) - Pursued by the Spaceknights, the Wraiths targeted Galador's outpost worlds and neighbors. As they hunted their quarry, the Spaceknights split into smaller squadrons.
(Rom#25 (fb) - BTS) - When Astra returned to Galador, he was met by fellow Spaceknight Terminator -- who had been given a form mirroring that of Rom by Mentus, the evil aspect of the Prime Director who had allied with Dire Wraiths and was in the process of transporting Galador to Wraithworld in the Dark Nebula -- posing as Rom.
Astra was presented to an adoring public as a conquering hero and then incapacitated and frozen in stasis by the Terminator.
Several other Spaceknights -- including Hammerhand, Javelin, Rainbow, Screamer, and Starshine (Landra) -- met similar fates.
(Rom#25) - Eventually the true Rom returned to Galador
freed the Prime Director, who in turn told him of the other
fate. Rom revived them all with his neutralizer; set on wide-beam, its
rays sought out the energy-field keeping the Spaceknights frozen and
neutralized it (see comments).
As the ice melted, the Spaceknights expressed joy at being freed, but Rom informed them that they still had to deal with Mentus, and so Astra and the other Spaceknights followed Rom into battle.
(Rom#25 - BTS) - They soon encountered Angel
Elite who believed Terminator to be the true Rom, and thus that the
were all impostors. Rainbow incapacitated the Angel Elite.
The Spaceknights then confronted Terminator, Mentus and the latter's Dire Wraith allies. Mentus departed to hasten Galador's approach to the Dark Nebula, after which Starshine got through to Terminator, allowing him to break Mentus' control, and he turned his neutralizer on the Wraiths instead.
(Rom#25 - BTS) - After Rom welcomed Terminator back into the Spaceknights' ranks, Astra and the other Spaceknights followed both of them in pursuing Mentus. They ultimately encountered the Prime Director's spirit, who told them he had dealt with Mentus, but that this had slain his frail body. However, though he felt his spirit would soon be drawn to become part of some greater cosmic intellect, he had held off doing so to warn them of a deadly danger approaching Galador: Galactus!
(Rom#26 - BTS) - Galactus' worldship, Taa II, approached Galador, and Galactus exited, his arrival announced by his herald, Terrax. When the Spaceknights proved defiant, Terrax struck the ground with his axe, causing a shockwave that temporarily knocked them off their feet.
The Spaceknights subsequently watched as the Prime Director's spirit sought to confront Galactus, only to be swiftly absorbed by him instead.
the Spaceknights to Galador's defense once more, and they flew toward
Terrax. Although Terrax slew Rainbow, Javelin and Hammerhand dropped Terrax.
The other Spaceknights watched as Terminator, slain in battle with Galactus, crashed to the ground.
(Rom#26 - BTS) - Meanwhile, Rom convinced Galactus to spare Galador and instead target Wraithworld.
(Rom#27 - BTS) - Rom returned alongside Galactus, revealing that he had convinced Galactus to instead feed on Wraithworld. Having worried that Rom had condemned some other populated world, the Spaceknights now rejoiced at this idea.
Galactus subsequently transported the Spaceknights to his worldship while advising them that he was beyond morality but that he would nonetheless honor his word. The Spaceknights were impressed with the planet-sized starship. They subsequently discussed whether Galactus could be trusted, but Rom advised that they had no choice but to take him at his word and that it had been the only way to save Galador from him.
After they arrived in the Dark Nebula, the Spaceknights watched as Galactus transported Terrax into the Dark Nebula, only for him to return, kneeling in terror. Galactus then transported the Spaceknights down to Wraithworld and then summoned his energy converter, only for it to be swiftly liquefied by Wraithworld's acid rain, which also threatened the Spaceknights' Plandanium armor. Galactus next tried to directly destroy the planet with anti-matter blasts, but Wraithworld fought back, agonizing Galactus; eventually Galactus assaulted Wraithworld's black sun instead, but it unleashed over a dozen Deathwings against him.
The Spaceknights returned to Galactus' worldship to protect themselves from the forces unleashed by and against Galactus, and eventually Galactus returned, realizing he could not withstand the Dark Nebula's magical nature.
Appreciating that Rom had led him to Wraithworld aware that it might
have destroyed him, Galactus honored his pact to spare Galador (and
save it from being pulled toward the Dark Nebula), but he transported
the world and its sun (perhaps the whole solar system) to parts
unrevealed, and he left the Spaceknights on some
Rom considered that if they dedicated themselves to finding Galador, they would doom hundreds of worlds to the Dire Wraiths.
(Rom#28 - BTS) - The Spaceknights resolved themselves to their current situation, and Starshine weaved waves of light about her fellow warriors, transporting them through space "with a swiftness that defies the imagination" to worlds suffering from Wraith infiltration.
(Rom#73-75 (fb) - BTS) - A Second Generation of Spaceknights was formed on Galador, and they destroyed the stored "halves" of the First Generation Spaceknights.
(Rom#75 - BTS) - After the
defeat of the Second Generation Spaceknights who had been tyrannizing
the Galadorians, the lost Spaceknights returned to Galador. Recovering
Terminator's cloned portions of Rom's human body, they allowed Rom to
return to his "human" organic components and restored Rom to his human
Unable to regain their own humanity, the other Spaceknights vowed to defend Galador in his stead, allowing Rom and Brandy Clark to begin re-populating Galador.
Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema, and Joe Sinnott.
Where is Astra (and Screamer)?
When the Prime Director led Rom to where the other Spaceknights were contained, Rom exclaimed, "Javelin! Hammerhand! Screamer! Astra!...Starshine -- she of the light eyes!"
When I reviewed the issue for this
profile, I could not find the name reference or any clear-cut images of
Astra (or Screamer)...and, in retrospect, I realize it it is because I
was only looking at pages/panels with Spaceknights (beyond Rom) in
them...and this one was a page before the Spaceknights were shown.
Fortunately, our own Loki had
written the Spaceknights profile for the Official Handbook of the
Marvel Universe, and he was kind enough to not only point out the
namecheck panel but also one certain and a number of possible in-story
appearances in Rom#25:
Okay, some huge assumptions here. Rom namechecked four Spaceknights in
the prior panel, so ASSume they are close to the door of the room and
so among the first he spots. ASSume the colorings are off. Then using
the very next panel, maybe (and it's a big maybe):
Fairly sure the one I marked J is Javelin - I can just about make out
his spiky ears and the raised bits on the shoulders.
Ditto Hammerhand - spiky shoulder bits and what look like large hands. So those two who were namechecked are definitely near the door.
The one I marked "A?" is in the right position to be the same Spaceknight I suggested might be Astra in the first panel I posted. So IF all three of them are close to the door, then the supposition that Screamer should also be seems not unreasonable.
We can obviously discount Starshine, which leaves only a few options.
ASSuming closer to the door rather than further cuts it down to the two I marked; of these I favor the top right one rather than the lower left, simply because he's facing Rom and we get a better look at him (which would also be true for Rom), despite lower left being closer to both Rom and us.
But of course this is all very much theory and speculation...
Short of some story that revisits these events and identifies Astra and/or Screamer, I don't think we're going to get a more definitive identification. Bill Mantlo and Joe Sinnott are both unfortunately deceased, and Sal Buscema is 87 years old at the time this profile was written...and even for a younger person, these are exceedingly minor characters from a story published over 42 years ago...
I am ASSuming that Astra and/or Screamer were amongst
Despite showing various colorings
while frozen, the unfrozen Spaceknights were all colored silver on the
following page. Other colorations started popping up inconsistently
after that page.
I adapted a significant amount of the "generic first generation
Spaceknight" abilities and stats from Loki's Starshine
Much of it is extrapolation based on the detail provided in Rom's own OHotMU entries. It seems very likely that most Spaceknights had similar construction/function; although Rom was considered the greatest, he was not necessarily the strongest, fastest, most durable, etc. Rom's status may have been due to his valor and skill, rather than his power.
Their armors are composed of the same type of metal (Plandanium), then they should have had a similar level of durability.
Their flying speeds would also seem comparable.
In Rom#75, none of the lost Spaceknights looked particularly like Astra. Perhaps he had his armor altered over time, or perhaps it was artistic license, or perhaps Astra was not among the lost Spaceknights.
Regardless, neither Astra nor any of the other First Generation
Spaceknights were seen again in the Spaceknights series or any other
appearances, so we don't know if he returned.
Perhaps he never returned and met his fate or continues to have adventures elsewhere.
Or perhaps he returned to Galador and subsequently either perished or departed to deep space for further adventures and/or for some form of retirement.
Thanks to Loki for helping clarify some information about Astra
and his allies with regards to the second and third generation
Thank to Proto-Man for supplying the high-resolution digital headshots from the original OHotMU.
Some further discussion courtesy of Loki:
Galador was destroyed by the Builders in Infinity#1, though we later learned that at least two Spaceknights present on the planet at the time survived. No real clarification about the Golden Galaxy, though I'd agree that might just be poor terminology rather than an actual galaxy. It might even be that Golden Galaxy is just the Galadorian name for the Milky Way. Given that Rom didn't seem to know what Skrulls were when he first met them, I assume the Golden Galaxy probably isn't Andromeda, since that's the Skrulls' main stomping ground.I am looking forward to the Rom Omnibus (Romnibus) to get some digitally re-mastered images for these stories. I have all of the original comics, but they are over 40 years old, heavily-read, and pretty grainy...
Astra should be distinguished from:
Appearances: Official Handbook of
the Marvel Universe I#10 (October, 1983) - Tom DeFalco, Mark Gruenwald,
Mark Lerer, Peter Sanderson (writers), Fred Baumann, Myra David, Peter
David, Joanne Harris (research team), Sal Buscema (Spaceknights penciler), Josef Rubinstein
(inker), Michael Carlin (associate
editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Rom#25 (December 1981) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Al Milgrom (editor)
Rom#26-28 (January-March, 1982) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Al Milgrom (editor)
Rom#75 (February, 1986) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Steve Ditko (penciler), P. Craig Russell (inker), Mike Carlin (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#10 (October, 1983) - Tom DeFalco, Mark Gruenwald, Mark Lerer, Peter Sanderson (writers), Fred Baumann, Myra David, Peter David, Joanne Harris (research team), Sal Buscema (Spaceknights penciler), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Michael Carlin (associate editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor)Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II (Deluxe Edition) #12 (November, 1986) - Mark Gruenwald(writer/producer), Steve Saffel, Peter Sanderson (writers/researchers), Elliot R. Brown (technical illustrator), Sal Buscema (Spaceknights artist), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Marc Siry, Harry Eisenstein, David Wohl (editorial assistants), Howard Mackie (assistant editor)
First posted: 10/21/2023
Last updated: 10/21/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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