I have the stack of the first 12 issues sitting next to my desk, but have so little time for reading let alone writing reviews at the moment. It's sitting right next to he stack of Master of Kung Fu I wanted to read (I am like 2-3 issues ahead of your reviews but haven't read an issue in months), the pile of Araks for the reviews in the From the Sorcerer's Scroll thread, and the way too tall stack of new comics and trades to read. I barely have time to get through a chapter or two of Frankenstein a day right now, but we will see what I can manage. No promises.
Micronauts is one of my favorite titles ever. I'm shocked more of you don't know more about them. This thread should help. My brothers and I had the toys, and they were awesome, and that first issue with the super incredible Dave Cockrum cover meant I had to buy it.
Not disappointed at all, and one of the best villains of all time : Baron Karza !
Got tons of stuff autographed at Planet Comicon in KC, and got a Michael Golden original commission of Karza. It took him 2 days, but I love it. Every professional that went by was like, "Oh cool ! Baron Karza !"
I'll dig it out, scan and post it. I had asked him to sign it with his stylized original G but he refused.
I've read issues I had as a kid (only a couple)and the tail end of the series and the first half of the second Marvel series as they came out. I read the first 12 issues of the original series back in the late 90's when I first picked them up as a back issues, and I think one of the annuals with art by Ditko. Other than that, new territory.
People don't want the Truth. They want only information that supports what they think they already know. -Vess from Invisible Kingdom
I see a comics culture that preserves and appreciates its past, but doesn't wallow in witless nostalgia. -Scott McCloud
Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing…after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked -Buckminster Fuller
Synopsis: Steve Coffin (the boy whose yard the Micronauts appeared in) deals with the aftermath of the battle and his father returns home to find the remains of one of Karza's warships. Bug regains consciousness in the yard and realizes he has been left behind. Meanwhile Shaitan pursues the Micronauts who try to escape in the Endeavor. The reach Daytona Beach near the speedway when Shaitan catches up to them and a pitched battle ensues. Acoyear suggests taking the battle to Shaitan after the Endeavor is damaged, and the Micronauts manage to destroy most of Shaitan's battle group before Shaitan flees. Time Traveler appears to Mari and tells her 2 things-1) there is a tracking device on the ship Shaitan is using to follow them, and 2) Karza now knows about this universe and will seek to conquer it as well. Authorities get reports of the battle and investigate, but dismiss as a hoax despite several eye-witness accounts. However Steve Coffin's dad has ties to an institute at Cape Canaveral, and he makes contact wanting to bring Steve and the battle ship remains in. The Micronauts crew decides to return to the Coffin residence to find Bug before figuring out what to do about damage to the ship and Karza's ambitions.
Ratings Story: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Overall: 9/10
Comments:Bug is referred to as Galactic Warrior is the head shot roll call on the splash page, but nowhere else in the pages of the series so far. Somebody (letterer, writer, editor?) made the decision to put Microtron's dialogue balloons upside done when he was in the gun turret in the belly of the Endeavor and upside down himself. Maybe an interesting idea, but the way it's executed just interrupts the flow of reading, so doesn't work. The romantic attraction between Mari and Rann is being built up but so is the "obstacle" in that Rann feels he is too old since he is 1000 yeas old because of his hyperspace journey, and Mari gets offended when he calls her kid at one point.
Character personalities are starting to be developed clearly, as Mari, Microtron and Acroyear all get some spotlight moments that really help define them more for the reader. The plot is moving forward, however the battle scene was way too reminiscent of the battle of the Millennium Falcon to escape the Death Star with Han and Luke in the turret guns of the Falcon. Just felt too blatant to be anything but a copy. Golden's art continues to shine, but some of the colors/inks get a little muddy on the newsprint.
Comments:Bug is referred to as Galactic Warrior is the head shot roll call on the splash page, but nowhere else in the pages of the series so far.
That was true for "Space glider" too, right?
#3 is the first issue I bought at the newsstand and I was amazed by the Golden art. It wasn't like anything I had seen before. In retrospect I don't think Rubinstein was the best inker for him (I think Joe's sometimes very fine lines got lost on the newsprint, unlike Al Milgrom's a bit later on), but the designs and authenticity of the backgrounds were amazing. That was one of Golden's great strengths, compared to his contemporaries: when he drew a Chevrolet Malibu or a F-16 plane, you recognized them instantly. he never went for the "generic car" or "generic plane" approach. That was one of André Franquin's advices to aspiring cartoonists: always aim for authenticity. Even if you're drawing in a cartoony style, if you draw a car, make it one that exists (even if you caricature it).
The series being young, some of the props (particularly the attacking space cruiser) were still based on toys, but in later issues the general "feel" of the Micronauts toys would be preserved without putting the actual toys in the comic. The design of the Endeavour, as far as I know, is entirely Golden's, and it is among the most interesting spaceships I've ever seen drawn. Like Rann's helmet, it is a falsely simple design that other artists would fail to grasp (even great artists, alas).
Synopsis:Back on Homeworld, Karza sends raiders to root out the rebellious underground and collect bodies to use in the body banks. A former royalist sympathizer known as Slug is one of the leaders of the Underground, and the troops are seeking her out (though they do not know she is female). When they are captured, one of the others underground members claims he is Slug and Karza kills him (by firing his detachable hand a la the toy), allowing Slug to live and infiltrate the Body Banks to make contact with the captive Prince Argon. Back on Earth, Steve Coffin and his dad (revelaed to be an ex-astronaut) head for CapeCanaveral and Bug stows away for the trip. They arrive and go to the project headquarters-the project is called: Human Engineering Life Laboratories (of H.E.L.L.-something Mantlo makes sport of as narrator) and we meet the project head Professor Phillip Prometheus, who suffered some sort of accident while aboard Starlab orbiting space station (familiar tome from reading Avengers) and was relegated to desk work. The Micronauts crew struggles to get back tot he Coffin residence as the Endeavors damage worsens and systems begin to fail. Rann and Mari continue to bicker. and Microtron intervenes calling their bickering a lovers spat unnoticed to either. They barely make the Coffin place, and find Bug has left, detecting his thought waves somewhere to the south. Rann uses the detachable Astro Lab (yet another Micronaut toy) so they can continue the search while Biotron stays to repair the Endeavor. As they leave Biotron notes the tension between Rann and Mari is that of lovers but is surprised they do not recognize this. As an epilogue, we see Shaitan return in disgrace to the Microverse, where Karza greets them with a projection, severing their alliance because of Shaitan's failure. He also tells him the mental "thoughtwash" he had done to make the Acoyear people believe the true Prince as dead is not removed and Shaitan despairs knowing his people will kill him for the deception he perpetuated. (phew that's a lot of story packed into 17 pages....ah the glory days)
Commentary: Though not much moves the plot forward, it feels like Mantlo is finally hitting his stride with this issue and things are finally all in place. The first three were good stories but this one feels like a notch above (no obvious Star Wars nods except for Karza strangling the "Rebel leader" albeit with a detached hand, a la Vader strangling the Rebel in the opening scene of Star Wars. Golden's art still kicking tail and taking names. Again a little muddiness because of the colors and newsprint, maybe as RR pointed out a bolder ink line would help, nut that's beyond my ability to perceive.
I think the most interesting point her is Mantlo's subtext about human emotions, particularly love. The irony of both the robots recognizing that Rann and Mari are falling for each other and their obliviousness to it as the bickering and tension between the two ratchets up is a brilliant little piece of sci-fi commentary.
The other thing I want to comment on is the appearance of Phillip Prometheus. Whether it was Golden or Mantlo's decision, his look immediately sounds the alarm that something is wrong here, from the leering smile to the way his eyes are drawn, it's sort of visual foreshadowing (but combined with the expository explanation of the strange accident on Starlab) it's foreshadowing with a sledgehammer. Might aw well put a black cowboy hat on him as he enters the stage....