The Watchwraith demolishes Clairton

Classification: Robot synthezoid sentries/assassins

Creator: Male Dire Wraiths

User/Possessors: Male Dire Wraiths (females relied on sorcery), briefly Klobok

Enemies: Annihilators (Beta Ray Bill, Gladiator, Ikon, Quasar, Ronan, Silver Surfer), Rom, other Spaceknights, residents of Clairton, West Virginia, USA

First Appearance: Rom#16 (March, 1981)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The humanoid Watchwraith robots were covered in gold and blue armor that resisted bullets, and were created by male Dire Wraiths using Wraith technology. They had several cables connected to a back-mounted, armored powerpack. They stood about 10' tall and were designed to act as sentinels, guards and killers for Wraith bases scattered across the Earth. Rom was familiar with their design and had likely encountered them before reaching planet Earth. When not in use, they rested on giant slabs, but could be activated by triggers. The machines were programmed to be fiercely loyal to their Wraith masters and would seek out their Wraith creators once they were (re-)activated. They were self-aware and communicated verbally between themselves, and so did not have internal communication devices. They walked slowly on two giant thick legs, showed no flight capabilities and were susceptible to cold attacks, with ice freezing them up and terminating their internal systems. Severe impacts upset their internal circuitry and they could not swim. They had internal memory banks that stored information on Wraith enemies and could likely recognize their Wraith masters even when the Wraiths had morphed physical forms. Their power storage would have been limited as they were not constantly active, although their operating parameters were not defined.

They had four digits on each hand, plus a nozzle in the palm that fired plasmifire, a destructive, gel-like substance that was the Wraith version of napalm and which continued to burn after coating the victim; it was powerful enough to penetrate Spaceknight plandanium armor unless it was quickly cooled off. The Watchwraiths were also armed with single eyebeams that could fire concussive blasts, powerful enough to cause pain in Spaceknights. They displayed superhuman strength levels, being able to lift cars with ease, probably with superhuman stamina too, but with limited agility.

Watchwraith helmetHistory:

(Rom#16) - In the woods near Clairton, two boys, named Billy and Mark/Luke, were playing "space invader" with plastic toy guns until Mark/Luke found the entrance to an abandoned old mine and they ventured slowly inside. The mine was actually serving as a massive storage facility of Dire Wraith technology for their operations in the area. There, they came across a Watchwraith lying in stasis on a metal slab, but Billy's leg brushed past a secret alarm that activated the Watchwraith. Terrified, the children ran back to the apparent safety of Clairton with the robot in slow pursuit.

(Rom#16 - BTS) - The Watchwraith reached Clairton as the scared children found safety. The Watchwraith started destroying structures and firemen were called in to combat the automaton.

(Rom#16) - Sirens hailed the attack of the Watchwraith down Clairton's main street as it destroyed buildings and demolished cars. The town's firemen blasted the robot with high pressure hoses, but to no effect. One fireman rang Jonathon Clark to seek Rom's aid and the silver Spaceknight flew to the site of the giant rampaging robot. The Watchwraith called out for its Wraith masters but was instead knocked over by Rom's impact. The Watchwraith defended itself by blasting the Spaceknight with a purple eyebeam. It retrieved Rom's identity from its memory banks and, recognizing him as a Wraith enemy, violently attacked him with renewed vigor. Meanwhile, Mack Killburn, a Washington reporter in search of more information on Rom, heard about the battle on the radio and rushed to the scene for the story. Back at the main street, two Clairton civilians sniped at the Watchwraith with rifles with no effect, although the robot retaliated by smashing the building they were on, with Rom rescuing the men. The Watchwraith then blasted the Spaceknight with plasmifire shot from its hands, but was saved by Clairton citizens using an abandoned fire hose to cool Rom down. The Watchwraiths' eyeblastsThe Wraith robot then fired its eyebeams again at Rom and declared it would kill the humans for allying themselves with Rom. However, it blasted the Spaceknight into a Dairy King ice cream outlet where Rom spied a large freezer. The Watchwraith then pursued Rom into the store and the Spaceknight used his own power to augment the cable feeding the freezer with freezing freon gas, icing up the two combatants. Steve Jackson then switched off the power as Rom warmed up again, although the cyborg stated that the Watchwraith had been terminated. Killburn had found his story, but the damage was instead covered up the denizens of Clairton with a delivery truck driven into the store and iced up. This also served as cover for the disposal of the Watchwraith.

The deadly plasmifire blasts

(Rom#37) - Hunting at night for the children taken by Dire Wraiths near the Welsh town of Gwillyn Dale, Rom detected a Wraith energy signature that took him to the Keep of Morgan le Fey. Rom dispatched three hellhounds before coming across two Watchwraiths. The two automatons, which stood guard atop the last standing turret, were alerted to Rom's flying form and blasted the Spaceknight with their crimson eyebeams. Rom shrugged off their attack and knocked them over as he blasted past. The Watchwraiths then engaged their palm-mounted plasmifire blasters, coating Rom with the burning gel. Rom activated a defensive switch on his chest armor that plunged his armor to sub-zero temperatures, thereby cooling and hardening the plasmifire until he could crack it off. The two Watchwraiths then tackled Rom by closing in on him from opposite sides, with one punching him down while the other leapt at Rom, claws menacingly outstretched. Rom instinctively ducked and the two robots collided with each other, the momentum of one knocking the other over, and they crashed through the crumbling parapet. The collision caused massive systems damage to the robots and the two fell a considerable distance into the dark waters of the moat below. They never resurfaced.

(Rom#48) - Male sciwraiths and female witchwraiths confronted each other at the United Nations building in New York. The sciwraiths teleported in accompanied by several Watchwraiths, but were rapidly overwhelmed and slaughtered by the witchwraiths, who transformed into deathwings, and their hellhounds, which materialized their claws inside the metal constructs, disabling the robots. It would seem that all activated Watchwraiths were destroyed.

(Annihilators#4/1) - Klobok used Watchwraiths, Deathwings and Hellhounds to stop the Annihilators from interfering with his plan to shunt Wraithworld out of Limbo, but the Wraith weapons proved no match.

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo (writer) and Sal Buscema (artist)

No reason why there can't be more lying about, although the remainder may have been neutralized by the witchwraiths or by Rom after the Wraith war concluded on Earth.

Profileby Grendel Prime.


Watchwraiths have no known connections to:

Rom#16, p.10, panel 1 (main);
    p.11, panel 2 (head);
Rom#37, p.12, panel 1 (plasmifire);
    p.11, panel 2 (eyebeams)

Rom#16 (March, 1981) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Jo Duffy (editor)
Rom#37 (December, 1982) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Ian Akin and Brian Garvey (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Rom#48 (November, 1983) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Ian Akin and Brian Garvey (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Annihilators#4/1 (August, 2011) - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Tan Eng Huat (art), Bill Rosemann (editor)

Last updated: 08/08/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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