Monday, July 7, 2014

Micronauts Monday 7/7/2014

Hey there, Donist World denizens. Welcome back to Micronauts Monday, where I talk about my longtime favorite comic book series The MicronautsYou'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! 

Really now? That’s how this is going to go down. <sigh> Okay, we kick off the next three issues of The Micronauts: The New Voyages by jumping into a CROSSOVER EVENT!!! In case you have not been reading Donist World for the past however many months / years, I generally do no like crossovers or events. They usually mess up the main story of the title forced to endure the interruption, and they have historically been used as a ploy to boost flagging sales on a “lower-performing” title or as a corporate money grab. The original Secret Wars was a 12-issue series designed to sell toys, which it did at the very least with Young Donist and the Younger Brother of the Donist. We bought each issue and most all of the figures (plus a vehicle or two)...corporate marketing campaigns for the win! The thing is, I kind of enjoyed Secret Wars, but even at that young age, I could tell something was off, that I was being given something that someone else determined I should like. It felt forced. Yes, the toys were pretty darn cool — I still have some of them out in storage — but the comic? Yeah, it had the components of things I should have liked, but the story was a freakin’ mess. Yet I continued to buy it. Then came the 9-issue Secret Wars II and I, of course, went and bought the first issue despite not really liking the original, even though it was supposedly everything a kid wants. I try to be nice here at Donist World — there’s far too much negativity out there — but the first issue of Secret Wars II sucked. It made little sense, and when I began to crunch the numbers of how many books I would have to buy to get the whole story, I learned at that young age, what it felt like to be “taken for a ride.” If I was to buy the entire Secret Wars II “event,” I would have to buy over 30 other comics — most of which I did not already buy because of limited allowance funds — putting me at over 40 comics to get the whole thing. I only bought the one issue of the mini-series. This is when I noticed something else...try as hard as I may, the event still found its way into my The Micronauts: The New Voyages. Uh-oh...

Micronauts Monday

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #16
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #16 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Captain Eo with a mullet…errrrr…sorry, my bad. Let’s start over. The Beyonder makes his way to the Microverse and totally fixes / messes things up. Scion shows up to rain on the parade of despair some unfortunate Kaliklakians weren’t expecting…or needing. Bug does something totally, uncharacteristically, horrifically stupid, that gets resolved away anyways. The Beyonder should hit up a fashion consultant as Scion kisses his butt, but all the butt kissing in the Microverse won’t save Scion from getting what he deserves.

Young Donist - Young Donist totally did not understand why Marvel had to interrupt his regularly scheduled program with something he did not want. He was already buying a book solely because he was in the habit of buying it, and for fear of something cool actually happening; this was not that book. Not only that, I was pissed that Bug, my favorite character, made the dumbest decision possible resulting in untold deaths, but I was equally pissed that this Beyonder chump fixed it all and then fixed Mari’s legs, then brought back Huntarr’s human form, and then stops the Pain (I think). I also failed to understand why it was necessary for the Micronauts to mess around trying to fix Homeworld when the Beyonder could just fix everything with a snap of his fingers. The guy had already fixed almost everything, why not finish what he started. Criminy. Young Donist does not recommend this issue in the slightest.

Current Donist - Yeah, I’m right there with Young Donist. Aside from my grand disappointment in the Beyonder’s hairstyle and his sleeveless, collared, brown shirt-thing, this issue was a complete and total mess. Aside from the forced nonsense of including the Beyonder in this book at all, this unnecessary addition goes and magically fixes a bunch of plot points that have been running pretty much since the beginning of the second volume...with a snap of his fingers. This is deus ex machina at its worst, but at least Mari is up and walking around again so she can actually do something…hopefully. I was, however, thankful to see Scion get blasted, but seeing him rise in a new form made me roll my eyes. What is this guy’s deal? Is he from the ’50s or ’60s, when adults did not understand how to communicate with one another? Hey Scion, here’s a thought…why not talk to the Micronauts? You appear out of nowhere, beat their a$$es on more than one occasion, and speak in cryptic riddles, while calling them “my Micronauts” and saying you know what‘s best for them. Seriously? How about this approach: “You don’t know me, but I used to power your ship. Please hear me out. The Microverse is about to step in the dog doo, Pain is everywhere, and I could really use your help fixing things and saving trillions of lives. Would you please?” Then there is Solitaire doing the same thing, minus the a$$-kickings. Let’s try this approach: “Hey Solitaire, you seem to know this Scion guy, and you are always speaking in riddles, and you exhibit some crazy-powerful tendencies; you also seem to know what is going on. Now, we appreciate you not dressing like our old commander’s long-dead mother, and it seems like the honeymoon phase of your relationship with Bug has ended, so would you please level with us about what the heck is going on?” There, one issue, maybe two, max and we can get on with things. Oh yeah, and keep Captain Eo out of it! Current Donist does not recommend this issue in the slightest either. The art is fine.

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #17
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #17 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Howard Bender, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Nelson Tomtov, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. The Micronauts glow. Solitare does not. Microtron, Huntarr, and Acroyear openly oggle Princess Mari as she performs some sexy bicycle kicks. Finally, the Micronauts arrive on Homeworld and attempt to rescue the in-pain Devil from the grip of Computrex(?) and the insane Worldmind of the planet(?). I think that’s what’s going on. Oh, and Commander Rann is back.

Young Donist - I don’t care anymore.

Current Donist - As I state above, I’m not completely certain what is happening. All I know is that Devil dies for the umpteenth time and is reborn as Fireflyte…again. So, yeah, the Micronauts fail to save Devil, after all of the buildup over the majority of the series thus far. Then Rann shows up — somehow younger, and without the white hair — as if nothing happened and everyone is happpppppy. The guest artist does a fine job, and his storytelling is strong, but with all of the exposition and the bad taste from last issue’s “event crossover,” I’m just not all that invested in this comic that happens to feature the Micronauts. Still, there are three issues left, so we’ll see what happens.

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #18
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #18 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by George Roussos, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. The Micronauts ponder stuff as Commander Rann tries to keep it under wraps that he is in pain. You see, he doesn’t glow, thus he has the pain of Homeworld, but thankfully Huntarr can make him glow…so that’s good, right? Solitaire cries. Mari Cries. Acroyear looks like his old self in every other panel, but then goes back to looking much older with those crazy-lumpy eyebrows. Otherwise, the Acroyears arrive to destroy Homeworld in a bid to cease the pain, but Scion and Solitaire have their rolls to play to heal Homeworld, as Acroyear sees the birth of his son.

Young Donist - Young Donist didn’t even read this. He flipped through the pages and went “nope.” He put it down and went on to read Batman: The Dark Knight Returns instead.

Current Donist - As you can probably discern from the above summary, I’m no longer taking my critique / reviews of this series seriously. This is probably because I’m just not taking the series as a whole seriously. For instance, in one panel Solitaire does some magical spell-type thing and admits that she could have teleported the Micronauts to Homeworld at any point in time. Are? You? Kidding? Me? I would be soooooo pissed at her if I was the Micronauts, that a quick trip out an airlock might be the only thing that could even the score. Not only that, things have been a bit too decompressed for my liking — I could see 15 of the past 18 issues being wrapped into two issues, perhaps three — but I appreciate the creators wanting to build something grand, something epic, but moving at the pace things have been moving, much of the energy has diminished. As readers of the first volume, we grew accustomed to having an actual nemesis to spur our heroes to action, and things moved quickly. I was glad to see Cilicia in this issue, and where Jones’s style on Acroyear seems to change from panel to panel for some reason, Cilicia looks better than ever. Aside from that, I’m sad to say I’m not jiving with this issue at all.

I feel so bad about this, but I just have not enjoyed this second volume very much, and I’ve been struggling to come up with reasons why fans of the original series would want to read this volume. I don’t want to be mean, as I said it’s not for me, but that does not mean you won’t love it, so give the first couple issues a shot and see…AFTER you read the entire first volume, of course. There’re still two issues to go, so anything could happen, but I kind of doubt it. Again, this is just me. So…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 a Spotify playlist called “Chill Out” that was probably a little too chill for an early morning.


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