Monday, May 12, 2014

Micronauts Monday 5/12/2014

Hey there, Donist World denizens. Welcome back to Micronauts Monday, where I talk about my longtime favorite comic book series The Micronauts. You'll get a summary of the issue, my remembered reaction/experience with the comic book as a kid, and my thoughts as an adult after rereading the issues over the past week. The Micronauts is the book that introduced me to the wonderful world of comic book addiction. The sad thing about this amazing series is--as I explained in the first post here--is that if you haven't read the comics, doing so is going to be a bit of a hunt, since reprinting rights are firmly wedged into a Prometheus Pit of a printing-rights purgatory. But don't despair, it can be done, you can find them. has most of the main series for a fairly inexpensive price. If you want to dip your toe into the glory that is the Microverse before committing to a hunt for individual issues, then you could also check out the five "Special Editions," which I believe had two or three issues included in each. Or, better yet, if you have an opportunity to do some longbox diving into the $.50-$1.00 bins at your LCS, then I'm sure you can find many issues there. My only caution here is that the story has a tremendous narrative that builds over the course of the series, one that deserves to be read in order, but that said, any Micronauts is good Micronauts! 

Here we are, denizens. Face to face. A couple of silver…ugh, no, criminy, ack. Now I’ll have that dang song in my head all day. Let’s begin again…and we are here. We have reached the end of the first volume of The Micronauts, which is a whopping 59 issues of predominantly amazing storytelling (Bill Mantlo) and gorgeous art (Michael Golden, Pat Broderick, Butch Guice). I still have a couple annuals (you already know those make me nervous) and X-Men and the Micronauts (which I just noticed fall between issues 57 and 58) from the first volume to check out over the next couple weeks, at which point I will probably sum up both my younger and current thoughts of the first volume; if you’ve been following these posts, then you should already have a good idea of what I think of this series. After that, I will look at the second volume which is called Micronauts the New Voyages, which I remember as something that befuddled the bejesus out of Young Donist’s poor, itty-bitty mind, but let’s see how an adult handles that series. Anyhow, let’s wrap up the series proper…

Micronauts Monday

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Micronauts #58
The Micronauts # 58 - Written by Bill Mantlo, penciled by Butch Guice, inked by Kelly Jones, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. This issue takes place after the events of the four issue X-Men and the Micronauts mini-series. The Micronauts are once again leaving Earth for the Microverse, only this time it is without the Bioship, and it is Fireflyte and her song that transports thems. Unfortunately for the diminutive Enigma Force fairy, it will be a one way ticket. It is a treacherous, life-threatening ride, but it is nothing compared to what awaits our heroes back on the ruins of Homeworld. Baron Karza’s madness will end this day.

Young Donist - Holy spit! Just look at that cover will ya! I saw this and nearly peed my pants. Commander Rann holding Baron Karza’s head/helmet, yet no one looks overly happy about the victory?! Needless to say, when I got home from Andromeda Comics, I rushed to my quite place, took a deep breath, exhaled, and cracked the cover. I somewhat remember the X-Men and the Micronauts mini as having come out on a bizarre schedule that messed with the timing of this issue, but that was fine by me, I had The Micronauts #58, and that was all that mattered. The page 2–3 double-page spread blew me away, but I was strongly wishing someone would get Commander Rann’s shaggy-ace face a Bic shaver or something, but I pushed that thought aside. What followed were many pages of the Micronauts discussing how horrible Baron Karza is, and how he needed to be stopped. I soon began to worry that there would not be enough time to wrap up the story, that the cover had mislead me, but I pushed on. Finally, though, at around the half-way mark, we find Karza with a bunch of cool-looking monster guys. Then they fight as Karza observes from the sideline. But the fight essentially lasted for only one double-page spread; needless to say, I was bummed. Only Karza remained and my hopes rose as Mari led the charge against him. I cheered as Acroyear crushed the madman’s steel hands, and excited beyond belief I turned the page to find the villain…dead. The fight to once again end Karza’s madness, a battle that kicked off in the exemplary issue #50, wrapped up over three pages?!?! What?!?! What followed was nine pages of talking, and talking, and some more talking—although to be fair, it was cool to see the Homeworld refugees return to confirm the end of Karza’s reign. Are you kidding me?!

 On top of my disappointment with this rush-to-the-conclusion issue, there were plenty of unresolved plot points that I was curious about. What happened to all of Karza’s dog soldiers? Why build up Lady Coral to be a potential badass, only to have the Micronauts find her right before the moment of her death? On the subject of Lady Coral, the person the Micros refer to as Lady Coral looked nothing like her, but instead looked more like the woman D’ark, the leader of the dog soldiers who appeared to be a potential major player in the Microverse after the events of issue 57. Argh! Everything seemed so…so…so rushed. This was not the ending I wanted, but it is the ending I got, and there were some rather cool moments, with the Mari scene completely wowing me. I was relieved, however, that The Micronauts was going to be continuing, and I was greatly hopeful that what was to come would be great. This issue did have some cool, albeit painfully brief, moments, and Young Donist returned to this issue many times to revisit those 10 pages of battle that he wished had been at least 30. RECOMMENDED!

Current Donist - First off, I’m wishing I had read the X-Men and the Micronauts mini first to see if there are some answers to the questions that my younger self had; somehow I doubt it. After reading this issue and the past three or four before it, it seemed like Mantlo was setting up some grand events, whether it was Lady Coral striking back, D’ark having her time in the spotlight to plague the heroes, or what have you. What about the inmate allies from the prison planet and their vow to oppose Karza? Acroyear’s son? Cilicia? For that matter, where were all of Karza’s troops? Sure he was spread thin by sending them all throughout the universe, but wouldn’t he have called them home to protect his power now that he was no longer immortal? Speaking of Karza, what happened to Degrayde, his plotting chief scientist? It seemed as if the creators were building for that guy to usurp Karza’s power? Who knows? My guess is that either the editors pulled Mantlo off the book, or that he quit, but I will have to do a bit of digging on the ol’ interwebs to see if I can find out. Needless to say, the story wrapped up, but it felt extremely forced and unsatisfying. I guess this is why Young Donist had forgotten how it all went down; it just didn’t grab me like how 85%+ of the series as a whole had.

Still, like when I was younger, there are moments that are cool—I still have a “thang” for Mari—and the art is great, especially on the spreads and the image of Karza catching Mari’s sword. I also appreciate the wordier areas of the book, as well as the many moments of reflection, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this book was prematurely halted. Perhaps sales were declining and the powers-that-be decided a reboot with a new number one was the way to go, which is sad. What’s even more weird is the fact that issue 57 was a monstrous 48 pages with hints of ultra-groovy stuff to come, while Mantlo and Guice’s final issue was a rushed 31 pages that tossed all those new storylines out the door. Still, at least Mantlo’s 58 straight issues of life-changing material had an ending, and regardless of the reason(s) for abruptly ending with this issue, it was still an enjoyable read. RECOMMENDED!

The Micronauts #59
The Micronauts # 59 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, penciled by Kelly Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. In this exciting final issue of the first volume of The Micronauts, our heroes…talk.

Young Donist - Ummmm…what the heck is this? Last issues cover promised a battle to end all battles that did indeed see the battle end, only far too quickly for my liking. Now we have a shriveled looking Acroyear lounging in his bathrobe, Bug chomping snail loaf in his tightie-purplies, Huntarr cast so far into shadow that his orange hide almost vanishes into the darkness, Mari in her usual outfit, and Rann looking even more obnoxiously bearded. Barf. Not recommended.

Current Donist - <yawn> What time is it? Oh, 7:30 PM already? Wow…feels way later. All kidding aside, I was not thrilled by this issue at all. I like a couple of the little stories just fine, but by the end, I’m hoping that things turn around for the next chapter—I do remember Young Donist having problems with what is to come, though. We’ll see. Thus volume one ends with a whimper. I don’t hate this issue, I just can’t recommended it.

So, uhhhhh, I guess that’s it? 58 is not the ending I would want for this series, and 59 is…I don’t know what that is quite yet, but I will see when I get to volume two. Again, though, I still have the annuals to talk about, as well as X-Men and the Micronauts mini which I kind of remember as something that had Young Donist practically foaming at the mouth in excitement, yet that ended up confusing the heck out of the youngster; we will find out soon enough. Thank you for reading and thank you for sticking around for my looks at each of the issues in this overall phenomenal series. If you have any comments about the book, then please post a comment; I’d love to hear from my fellow Micronauts enthusiasts.

While writing this entry, I listened to Natalia Clavier’s beautiful “Nectar.”  Clavier sings on albums by Thievery Corporation and Federico Aubelle, which you should also check out.



  1. It's funny, but I couldn't even remember how the series ended. Clearly it fell flat. Did Mantlo walk? Must dig deeper. Please report when you find out what the hey happened.

  2. I just did a brief search and didn't find anything. Maybe some sort of explanation will pop up in The X-Men and the Micronauts series, or I will go back and check the last couple letters columns. I do know that Mantlo eventually quit Marvel to attend law school, so maybe the timing of that synced up with the too-quick-to-end ending. .