Monday, June 9, 2014

Micronauts Monday 6/9/2014

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! 

Whoa boy, okay. Last week we took a look at Micronauts: The New Voyages 1–3 and…well, it definitely wasn’t your grandpappy’s Micronauts. Translation: Baron Karza is dead, Mantlo went off to attend law school (I think), Butch Guice left, a new writer and artist came in, the tone changed from one of adventure and sci-fi conflict to one of exploration, Huntarr’s character design changed to make him look like a total goofball, words and words and more words filled all the pages. The only consistency from the previous series is the tragic continuance of Commander Rann’s horrible, no good, very bad beard…oh the horror. Don’t get me wrong, despite Young Donist having massive problems with the series, Current Donist took an open-minded approach (except for that wicked beard) and has found some nifty things to the story. I still GREATLY prefer the original material, but we have another 17 issues to go, so who knows what might happen as things progress. So, without further ado, let’s look at the next three issues!

Micronauts Monday

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #4
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #4 Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson and Akin and Garvey, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. The Micronauts have been pulled beneath the surface of the silver planet whose very atmosphere turns all light passing through it into a powerful laser. Unfortunately for Biotron and Microtron, they are still aboard the bucket-of-bolts ship, the Endeavor II (more like “EndlessFail II”) and are about to discover what happens when the sun rises on a silver planet. Mari and Rann suddenly faint and have odd dreams living a life that never happened, as Acroyear, Bug, and Huntarr fight some robots with orthodontia issues. Who lives beneath the surface of the silver planet?

Young Donist - Wait, this is the cover Marvel chose to go with?! Especially after issue three’s gorgeously painted cover — they even made goofy Huntarr, look less goofy — Criminy…okay, Young Donist liked this issue more than the other three, but only because he got to see Bug, Acroyear, and goofy Huntarr actually fight something. I loved how the robo-skeletons learned from combat and I actually liked seeing goofy Huntarr adapt to the fight ahead of his opponents, but the tusks growing out of his chin made him look even goofier. The biodroids were fine, but the stuff with Mari and Rann’s fictional dream dance…sorry, fell asleep for a second there…what was I talking about? Anyhow, the creatures below the silver planet’s surface look like big, goofy, pink kidney beans, and insulted me to the core. At the time, I did not realize that the pink alien shapeshifters might have taken those ridiculous forms to be less intimidating, but I distinctly remember thinking that aliens don’t need to look that lame. Only the fight (finally a fight!) with the robots can make Young Donist give this issue a RECOMMENDED!

Current Donist - Oh boy, I do not like this cover. The last thing I ever want to see is Commander Rann’s bearded floating head gazing upon anything. Dang, denizens, not only does he need a shave, the kid needs a dang haircut as well. Ugh. Within the comic, I like Jones’s backgrounds depicting the technology of the pink kidney bean aliens, and his line work during the robot battle is beautiful. As with the previous three issues, there are tons of words and explaining to sift through, but it is not overly exposition-laden and relates to the story at hand. The Mari and Rann dream dance scenes lost me for most of those sequences, but those darn aliens still make me roll my eyes…almost as much as seeing Rann’s mullet (yes, I know, it was the ’80s) grow to become of a length equal to his beard. I do like this issue more now as an adult than I ever did as a kid, but not by much. I like that the creators are taking chances with the characters as they attempt to show them trying to find their purpose in life, but after four issues, a purpose best present itself soon. RECOMMENDED!

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #5
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #5 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson and Akin and Garvey, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Huntarr’s appearance has changed once again, this time without explanation and no one says a word about it. The Micronauts talk with the pink, kidney-bean-shaped aliens about the Makers and the very fabric of the Microverse. They also recover the nearly melted Biotron who lashes out while saying, “Warn…you,” which goes unheeded as he dies for the umpteenth time. Bug contemplates the next part of his life as Mari and Commander Rann become closer once again, and he sees his place in the Micronauts as redundant.

Young Donist - <zzzzzzzzz> Thirteen-year-old Donist has no idea what the heck was going on. There’s talking and moping, Mari is digging Commander Rann (and his heinous mullet and beard-wearing a$$) over Bug, Acroyear’s eyebrows get lumpier, naked pink alien dudes, spiral something-or-others, Bug goes from thin to ultra-beefy on a panel on the last page, and then there’s Huntarr. I remember seeing Huntarr on the first page and doing a triple take; I even had to go back to issue four to see if I missed something. All of a sudden, and without explanation, Huntarr’s new, goofier look changes to a better character design. He still has the head-tail thing, but now he is more hunched, hulking, and with a pronounced underbite filled with gnarled teeth; this was a massive improvement. Still, try as I might, I could not find out why he had suddenly changed, and the not knowing was driving me mad. Oh well.

I laughed when I saw how the aliens had transformed themselves into versions of the Micronauts, and the one that looked like Huntarr with Commander Rann’s beard cracked me up, and I definitely thought the Princess Mari-shaped alien with the green skin and insectivorid eyes was mighty attractive, but as far as the story went, it didn’t grab me. Young Donist does not recommend this issue.

Current Donist - According to the letters page, “Small Talk,” readers are digging The Micronauts: The New Voyages, but I’m not really one of them. I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t feel like the characters have anything to do other than wait around for something to happen to them. Yes, we get a deeper look into their personal fears and doubts, but we’ve been seeing that for five issues now. The explanations the pink fellers give of the “Spiral Path” and the “Makers” are okay, but I’m unfortunately just not connecting with the story at this point.

I love the two-page spread of the city, although the art looks different than the rest of the issue, and I can see the difference between the three inkers (?) on this issue. I also find Huntarr’s new look a marked improvement over the other new look. My guess is that there were complaints about the goofy style and that rather than explain that the character was “still evolving” or whatever, Marvel just said to change him and not give a reason why. Again, he definitely looks better, but I still prefer his old orange Silly-Putty form. As for Bug…what does it take for Mari to like the guy? Does he need to grow a horrendous Rann-beard? I’m also confused as to why the Micronauts what to hang out with the pink aliens as they don’t really seem to be exploring, or finding their place in the universe. Current Donist only recommends this issue as some of the concepts buried in the dialogue and caption boxes look to appear later in the series and might be of some importance. RECOMMENDED!

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #6
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #6 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Bug has left the Micronauts in order to find his own path in life, preferably on his own homeworld of Kaliklak. He is joined by the pink, kidney-bean-shaped alien known as Solitare, who has thankfully changed her shape to that of Princess Mari, only with green skin, shoulder pads, and insectivorid eyes. On their journey, Bug frets over what might befall his comrades with him gone.

Young Donist - Okay, this was more like it. At least we are far away from the pink aliens guys and we get to focus on Bug and his hot girlfriend. Three make-believe tales about what could happen to my heroes in Bug’s absence was better than the real life sitting around. I could do without all of Bug’s moping though, but seeing a certain villain, even for one dream sequence panel, made me hopeful for what is to come. The three stories, although exaggeratedly silly, were still fun. Finally, Young Donist can say an issue is RECOMMENDED!

Current Donist - This issue ultimately achieves nothing. Bug leaves, thinks up three mini-tale scenarios for his friends and then changes his mind to return back to his teammates; they probably did not even notice he was gone. That said, it was indeed a silly issue, but I enjoyed reading it. I’m also wondering about the ethics involved of sleeping with a shape-changing alien who holds the form — mostly — of the lover you lost to “the other guy.” Yeah, thinking about that, it’s kind of a messed up scenario. The thing I like most about this issue is definitely the gorgeous cover, that also depicts Solitaire as looking less like Mari, and more like an insectivorid. RECOMMENDED!

Issues four and five were definitely a tad rough for both Young and Current Donist, but thankfully issue six broke up the slow pace of those issues and gave them something more tangible to grab hold of as far as the story was concerned. I have no idea where things are going, outside of a couple characters showing up at some point, but I am still interested in sticking around and reading the rest of the series, which says something. We shall see. Did any of you denizens read this follow-up to one of the greatest comic series of all time? If so, what did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

While writing this entry, I listened to the soundtrack to Pixar’s wonderfully beautiful film Ratatouille. I actually just watched the movie for the third time last night and love it even more than I had remembered.


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