Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 59 - HOMEWORLD



Micronauts vol.1 No.59
Writer: Peter B.Gillis
Artist: Kelley Jones / Bruce Patterson
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Ralph Macchio
EIC: Jim Shooter

Michael Golden returns with possibly his loveliest cover from a catalog of genuinely amazing contenders. What happens inside isn't his fault.

Here it is, the final issue of the first volume of The Micronauts -- a series about a bunch of cheap plastic toys which was turned into a strange and robust universe, an epic about the cost of humanity in the face of despotism, and a colorful document of war's stupid brutality. Although the book flirted with all of the standard tropes of fantasy and science fiction -- prophecies, enchanted weapons and the hero discovering a meaningful heritage -- it never surrendered to them.

Marionette hates it when Rann teases her about how she
became too callous and vengeful in the war, thus losing her
humanity...
Those contrivances were too clean and smooth-edged for Mantlo, I've come to think. He preferred messiness -- he wanted his wars to be a spectacle from a distance, but only tedious cruelty from a closer vantage point. Heroism cost more than it returned to the hero, or the heroine, and there was no saving the day until the day had already been more lost than not...

I'm happy enough imagining that the Micronauts ends with this cover. Before leaving Homeworld -- victorious, but limping and broken and sad -- they take one last look at their reason for existing, for the tyrant whose evils and excesses occupied their every waking moment for the last half of a decade. Acroyear knows war, and knows to walk away from the corpse. Rann, Mari and Bug, they'd been innocents before Karza's reign -- they look back with questing eyes, and Microtron watches his former mistress with roboidal concern. Where do they go from here? To another adventure ... but one we will never know.

Well, of course they actually go on for another twenty issues under writer Peter B.Gillis, with new penciler Kelley Jones, who together will continue the adventures of the Micronauts. Here's my takeaway:

I've met my fair share of folks who hated Kelley Jones' art. I've loved it since I recall first seeing it -- in Sandman, I think, and then Deadman. Here, however, he is Not. Ready. To. Helm. A. Comic.

One of the reasons I don't read much in the way of modern mainstream comics from the big two these days is that I can see through the digital colors. The novice artists they bring  in are usually saved by a good inker and/or a top-notch colorist, until they get their feet under themselves and can produce something that doesn't plainly look like an outright amateur's self-published book.

Jones' work in this issue is so baldly amateurish that it's unreadable.

That being said, I can enjoy the sense of promise provided by things like his depiction of Acroyear as a thousand-foot mountain of muscles and steel. Okay, I'm in.

My man? Oh, yes, my man works out.

I recall enjoying Gillis' Tailgunner Jo, an out-of-universe limited series produced by DC back in the days when they had a respectable sideline of out-of-universe sci-fi stories going on. I enjoyed it tremendously, although I wonder if that had a lot to do with the absolutely inimitable artwork of the late Tom Artis, paired with Ty Templeton and a spot-on Anthony Tollin.

Somehow he draws Huntarr
worst of all ...
I only say that because, while I think the dialogue is tighter, there's nothing else really going on in the story. It has the atmosphere of made-for-tv group therapy, they kind where everyone gets to tell a story and we don't really get to the bottom of anything.

After a brief introductory segment, the story involves Microtron and Biotron trying to fill in some empty spaces in their memory banks. Specifically they go around asking each of the Micronauts what simple human emotions mean, because I guess they don't have Wikipedia in the Microverse. Micropedia. Mikipedia. Anyway.

It goes like this: They ask Acroyear about Love, he tells them a story of how he lost his first love but gained a greater one in Cilicia. They ask Marionette about Fear and she tells a weird story about how she almost killed her father once. Bug's story about Beauty involves throwing a butterfly at a blind guy, Huntarr's Hope-related tale involves watching cops do graffiti, and then Arcturus Rann has a story about Death that involves a dead planet ghost woman and honestly I think he might've been high.

At this stage, I wonder if I'm going to continue with Micronauts: The New Voyages, the series' second volume. The point of the project was to finally collect and very slowly ingest this much-acclaimed series after decades of having never read a word of it. New Voyages may fall outside of that dictum, as no one has ever told me how great it was ... or mentioned that it ever existed. It fits both the "Gone" and "Forgotten" part of the mission statement!

But then he ended his first issue with poems dedicated to each Micronaut aaaaand I think I'm done.


"Biotron, Microtron, the musical fruit / The more they die, the more they toot ..."

---

It is weird to be done with this.

The project that led me this far -- idly picking up individual Micronauts issues as I found them in quarter bins and garage sales, waiting to read them until I had the collection completed, then approaching them weekly rather than in a few sittings -- filled up a greater part of the background noise of my life than I had realized. A part of my brain had been buzzing constantly with ideas and questions about Acroyear and Bug, Marionette and Rann ...

I ingested about half of the New Voyages after writing the above article, and it didn't do anything for me. The Micronauts are hardly characters in their own book, and the new mission they've undertaken requires their fiery spirits to be woefully neutered. It's a real let-down after Mantlo's admittedly often-rambling arcs, and a mistake to make the Micronauts supporting characters in their own book. Took a long time for Jones to get his sea legs, too, but it's all right.

Not that the New Voyages could possibly get a fair assessment; it's always going to suffer for succeeding the source material, by comparison.

The virtues of the Micronauts are many: Tremendous artists, stupendous colors -- Francoise Mouly over Michael Golden and Joe Rubinstein in particular being worthy of a mention. The core characters were tremendously rich, each one pursuing an arc, changing dramatically over the course of the series for better and worse. The interventionary Enigma Force provided mysticism and doubt without overreliance on it as a device of deus ex machina, and Karza was increasingly a bizarre and intense villain. I enjoy him tremendously as a baddie.

The faults of Micronauts are equally abundant. Mantlo either didn't see the bigger potential arc until the series had approached the fifty-issue mark, or couldn't convince his editor of the potential until then, and subjected the readers to three rambling years of fluctuating quality. The series was hard on ladies (Slug and Belladonna were building to an interesting subplot, only to be summarily snuffed. Lady Coral literally survived two genocides and an apparent one-on-one battle with Karza -- off-screen -- only to show up halfway to death in her final appearance, Jasmine, Nanobot, Fireflyte, etc).

The series wisely nurtured only one major villain. Lesser baddies ran the gamut from the likable weirdos like Odd John to the risible attempts of Computrex or Phillip Prometheus. Or The Death Squad. Oof.

Low points of the series: The crossovers with main Marvel characters were often disappointing, particularly a Fantastic Four crossover which should have yielded major dividends. Devil, Huntarr, Nanobot -- not just unlikable, but actually distracting characters who ate up time that would have been better spent ... anywhere at all. The origin of the Microverse seemed largely irrelevant to the larger story, and the Atari-esque quest for the keys which accompanied it, bleh. Prisonworld.

Best issues: The first twelve, of course, comprising the initial conflict between the Micronauts and Karza. The alliance between SHIELD and the Micronauts in the face of a Karza-led Hydra contingent, wrapping up in a battle royale at a Florida themepark was ::chefs kiss," especially with Broderick showing his major chops on art. An oblique continuation of a John Byrne FF story shows what gold could have been mined in an earlier FF crossover. The start of the final arc, around issue 44, doubles down on the menace and threat suffered by the Micronauts, despite starring literally almost every annoying character in the series so far. Don't sleep on 44-50. And Micronauts ... Triumphant.

That seems about even. As many issues as were bland or toneless, as many were superbly executed -- maybe even a few more. For a series inspired by a kid's toys -- literally, as Mantlo's son's affection for the Micronauts was reflected in the actual storylines -- the Micronauts accomplished something great, turning in some of the grimmest and most engaging storylines of the era. A very good epic storyline could be made by carefully selecting about two dozen of these issues into one volume...

What's next after Micronauts Monday? I'm tempted to try the same procedure with ROM: Spaceknight, even though I've read quite a few of those. I managed to recently pick up a whole run of Team America from a quarter bin but I've never really heard a lot of buzz about it. I dunno, anything with a supernatural motorcyclist is always interesting on the face of things. I'd love to hear your suggestions but, for right now, I'm going to put Micronauts Monday in the Hibernation Couch for a thousand years or so...


Monday, August 6, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 58 - THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD!



Micronauts vol.1 No.58
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Butch Guice / Kelley Jones
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Ralph Macchio
EIC: Jim Shooter

Well, here we are. Technically speaking, there's one more issue of the first volume of Micronauts yet to come -- and I'll be sure to include it in these write-ups -- but this is the big finish. Macchio comes back as editor, Kelley Jones continues to feel his way around the look-and-feel of the book he'll soon be penciling, but the big news is --- this is Bill Mantlo's last go-around with the Micronauts.

(It's really only occurred to me at this point -- probably owing to the fact that I have been comfortably up to my chin in Mantlo's Micronauts for the last year-and-a-half, and I've never known a Micronauts without their nominal creator -- but Mantlo probably would have been brought on as writer for the new IDW franchise, wouldn't he? Even as just a guest writer. There's no end of tragedy involved in the hit-and-run which has left Mantlo hospitalized for these last couple of decades, but that he's alive at a time when his (semi)creations have been revived and he's incapable of contributing to them is wildly sad. PS Glad to start this one off on a happy note).


The Micronauts are returning from Earth, possibly for the last time. With Bioship having died on Earth and probably on eBay as we speak, the team must rely on Fireflyte to provide them with protection from the elements, air, and thrust sufficient to take them home. The complication here is that the Time Travelers have grown super-huge and reactionary, and have decided to BUILD ... THAT ... WALL in order to prevent Earth from sending any more dangerous criminals past Microversian borders. There have only been two that I recall -- Phillip Prometheus and The Entity -- but in this instance, I see their point.

With the Enigma Force folding in on itself, Fireflyte's power wanes quickly. Thus it relies on Huntarr turning himself into a giant scrotum to protect all of his friends from a rapid planetfall!

At'sa a spicy meatball!

On Homeworld, they find nothing but destruction. The planet, as a whole ... a graveyard. Not that Homeworld died at once, they discover as they pass through the wreckage. Some small clues make themselves known here and there as they survey the damage -- smoldering infernos, flattened cities, twisted rejects littering the floor of the Body Banks, the unsuccessful experiments left to rot on the ground while more bodies are pumped through the vicious machinery.



They spend several  pages passing through the gruesome finale of their war with Karza, impractically piecing together the unthinkable events which occurred during the brief period when Karza had returned to the Microverse but the Micronauts were still in transit.

Lady Coral survives yet another apocalypse, but barely -- her sword lays by her side and her wounds are those gained in battle. A trident .. A FREAKING TRIDENT ... sticks out of her side. She's dying, but lives long enough to introduce this badass pinup ...


KARZA'S GOT UN-MEN!

The battle that follows is filthy -- just ugly as sin. Dirty, cheap, and a slugfest, and it's the inevitable conclusion to all of the other battles they've ever had. No Enigma Force, no Time Traveler, no aid from Earth's superheroes or distractions from its suckiest super-villains. No Captain Universe. Let me say that again ... no Captain Universe. Ah. Nice.

You've been tagging along for this whole series of inane write-ups so far, I think you should share in this too:






When the Micronauts next awaken, it's in a healing place. Mari awakens last, although Huntarr has suffered the greatest injuries -- I don't know why it's so funny to see "A LIVING WEAPON!!!" with cartoon bandages on, but it is. The Micronauts, during Marionette's slumber, have learned to embrace peace. Acroyear has surrendered his armor and sword, and choose a penitent path. Rann can barely comprehend the sacrifices involved in this war, and is desperate to start over in some new place. Bug is up for anything. 

And Mari suddenly realizes that she has come to know nothing but war and hate. Her allies promise to help her find peace again. I HOPE YOU HAVE GOOSEBUMPS BECAUSE I DO.

Not only is Karza beaten and slain in this story, he's humiliated. Left crouching by the edge of the pit which once powered the Body Banks, Mari's sword still implanted in his chest, Karza's corpse sits unmoving. As if on some unspoken cue, the sky fills with the ships representing the hundreds of worlds of the Microverse. Representatives disembark in the thousands --- to verify Karza's death. They poke and prod, take readings, a few guys just want to shoot the body until it's ash, but are restrained by hands tired of slaughter. Goddamn.

A revived Biotron and Microtron, thankfully unattended by the still-presumably-dead Nanotron, join the Micronauts on a new Endeavor, seeking a well-deserved world of peace and rest. 

I'd say it's a very sweet wrap-up to Mantlo's Micronauts run except I was cleaning up after the party and found this upper-decker



YEAH FUCK YOU TOO BILL

Last issue gets reviewed next week, but here's something to hold you over til then:



Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Monday, July 30, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 57 - THE WORLD OF NEVER-SUMMER!


Micronauts vol.1 No.57
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Butch Guice / Kelly Jones & Sam Grainger
Letterer: Rick Parker
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Ralph Macchio
EIC: Jim Shooter

As we start to wrap this up, we return to the official, crossover-free Micronauts universe for the issue which hit stands at the same time as X-Men/Micronauts No.4. I waited to cover it because it makes mention of Bioship's (fundamentally unnecessary) death in the final issue of the crossover series.

It's also a non-traditional Micronauts story, which our heroes operating largely in the background and an adaptation of an Ojibwe folk tale taking the lead. Before that, though, here's a summary of where we are: As of the previous issue, Rann and Karza had both rejected the Time Travelers' offer of godhood, rejecting the Enigma Force for separate reasons. Karza, knowing that godhood would dim his dreams of conquest, chooses instead merely to become the most brutally evil living being in the Microverse. Good work if you can get it.

Rann abandons his now-pointless meditations and returns to active duty with the Micronauts, discovering to his ... apathy? ... that Marionette and Bug had entered into some sort of relationship. In fact, Rann is just bothered by the changes undertaken by the Micronauts in his absence, which would have been a good character arc in which to indulge, before the series wraps up. We've only got two issues, though, so-o-o-o.

That's where we left off! Where we return to is the World of Never-Summer, a perpetually-frozen planet inhabited by half-animal/human hybrids. There, Ojeeg -- "Hunter, warrior. Cat's eyes." Those last two words were in their own caption and I think they might have been instructions for the colorist which the letterer accidentally wrote out. Get a room, you two!

Ojeeg leads the Wolverine tribe, our first line of defense against Soviet Invasion. He's also effectively leading a scavenger tribe, as the World of Never-Summer is so ice-blasted that food is almost impossible to find. Ojeeb reluctantly leads slaughter and raids on the Beaver Tribe, among others, then returns to his home heavy-hearted with guilt.

And ... scene.
His only ally in his regret is a blind old Shaman who recalls the days of Summer, and points Ojeeb to the top of a mountain where Summer may again be found! Okay! I can't speak to the accuracy of the adaptation here -- I looked around for something resembling this story in Chippewa and Ojibwe folk tale collections, and had trouble finding any reference to "Acroyear" in any of them, so I don't know what Mantlo was thinking.

Speaking of the Micronauts, they're involved in a full-fledged space battle with the heavily armed forces of Commander D'Ark, who I think last showed up in this book about fifty years ago. D'Ark makes for a great combatant for Marionette, whose bloodlust is equal to the Karzaite commander and also been a matter of concern for the recently awakened Rann. "We've always beaten Karza in the past precisely because we were different from him" he explains to his shoulder-mounted pixie pal Fireflyte, "Compassionate where he is cruel, merciful where he is murderous."

As far as Karza goes, the tyrant stands upon the very mountain which the Shaman had described to Ojeeb. There, DeGrayde and his engineers set up the Sun-Cannon ("Sunscope," I guess), the weapon which terminally dehumidified SeaZone. Karza intends to use the world of Never-Summer as an Alderaan, an example to the other worlds of the Microverse to stay under the despot's heel.

Scaling the mountain for the benefit of a surprise attack, the Micronauts end up carving a perfectly usuable path for Ojeeg. Thus, while our heroes dodge enemy fire, Ojeeg literally just walks up to the platform where Karza manipulates the Sunscope.

I mean, it seems to be working well.

Amused at the audience, Karza allows Ojeeg to watch the destruction of his world. Surprisingly, Ojeeg attacks Karza, plummeting over the edge of the platform in the face of a barrage of Karza's nipple-missles, cracking the Sunscope as he lands. While the terrible weapon burns his world before his eyes, Ojeeg makes one final sacrificial play, and pretends to be a wooden shoe. POP. The whole Sunscope perishes in the face of this pyrrhic act of bravery.

And the world goes all Summer again.  ::champagne pop::

PILE ON KARZA!

ON THE WAY OUT, basically the audience is informed that Bioscope died after this issue, and is thereby celebrated with A HUGE PINUP OF HIS GROSS INSIDES! Have fun never sleeping again.

Bioship is really neat ... he is filled with Roboid meat ... we all love you Biii-ooo-shiiiip!


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Monday, July 23, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: X-MEN AND THE MICRONAUTS NO.4 - DOPPELGANGER!


The X-Men and the Micronauts vol.1 No.4
Writer: Bill Mantlo/Chris Claremont
Artist: Butch Guice / Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Rick Parker
Colorist: Julianna Ferriter
Editor: Bob Budiansky
EIC: Jim Shooter

How's my enthusiasm level? ::checks dipstick, frowns, tries to put on brave face:: Let's wrap this up.

I'm pretty sure that this issue begins with the Entity -- currently inhabiting Professor X's body, and rolling undetected around the X-Mansion -- psychically molesting Danielle Moonstar. Dani's been running around these four issues in bikini bottoms and a t-shirt, and now she's getting brain-raped by her headmaster's Naughty Thoughts Come To Life.

Fuck every single word of this.
This is a real problem with Xavier* and I sort of think it's his responsibility to mention it in the school literature. "My brain is often filled with evil versions of myself who can change reality on a whim plus sometimes when that happens my evil brain guy will touch your children. We also have donuts in the Student Union every Friday." Probably also Xavier primarily uses Cerebro to introduce himself to other psychics and explain that he's on the Psychic Sex Offender Registry ... "I'm required by law to inform you that I mind-groped a mutant."

(*The problem is with Claremont, and I've been wrestling for a little while with how to address the question in a single paragraph. I admire a lot about Claremont's infusion of admittedly-often-skeevy sex-positivity into his comics -- in the ever-chaste world of comics, at least sex existed in the X-Men! Maybe it manifested primarily as every female character roiling with pulsing sapphic desire, but there were frequent depictions of happy, rewarding sex between assorted characters and, you know, questions that the readers themselves might be wondering about with few other sources to provide guidance. But damn, the brain rapes and universal longing for domination and excess ... there were some bad, destructive ideas floating around there, but I may as well leave it at "In conclusion, Chris Claremont is a land of contradictions ...")

Grossed out by that, actually. A terrible way to open the story, especially since the last issue ended with Professor X's mean twin tryna stick his prong into a literal child. In fact, much of the comic has centered on Kitty Pryde's degradation, the violation of her principles, body and mind. She's about to get beaten up by her friends, too, let's watch and learn ...

Dark Kitty.
Karza, wearing Pryde's body, decides to kill all of her briefly-affiliated allies with a sniper rifle. That is a bad way to kill ::counts on fingers:: more than one person at a time, so it's no surprise that Nightcrawler pops up out of nowhere and belts Kitty across the mush. While Karza/Kitty (the tyrannical sci-fi version of Hello Kitty) retreats to his/her hideout in the Entity's fuck-attic, Xavier mentally connects with Kitty/Karza (the tyrannical sci-fi version of Kitty Kelley). This leads Kitty/Karza to a confrontation with Karza/Kitty that gets completely fucked up when the X-Men and Micronauts show up.

There's a brief irrelevant fight, after which everyone's on the same page. Karza/Kitty dons a new costume to show off how he's/she's evil, and it's hilarious. I wish they had given us a costume montage of Baron Karza picking out exactly which shade of high-heel magenta bootie to wear.

That's cute, but the Entity is now using Cerebro to attack the Enigma Force itself, threatening the Microverse in its entirety! The combined forces of the X-Men, the Micronauts, and a surprisingly okay-with-this-situation Baron Karza launch a final assault on the X-Mansion back on Earth. Unfortunately for them, the New Mutants have all been mind-controlled by The Entity and launch an attack on the returning Bioship (and its tiny inhabitants).

And since I'm on the topic of the New Mutants, it seems a good time to finally point out that this isn't really much of a Micronauts book. I suppose I could go back and re-read these other crossovers, but I feel like most of the early X-Men crossover series were really about the X-Men first and whatever other team second. Except the one with the Fantastic Four, that thing is golden. What was I saying?

I imagine him singing these lines.
So, yes, this is an X-Men story in which the Micronauts warm the bench for the most part. So very little of the Micronauts' universe plays a role in the story, besides the settings, and even the character elements of the narrative all reflect on Professor X and Kitty Pryde more than anyone else. Hindsight grants us consumers of entertainment a great deal of perspicacity, but there also seem to be four or five better premises for this crossover. Sorry Bill. Sorry Chris.

Lockheed is summoned to join the fight, cleaning house on the New Mutants. This is not terribly much help to anyone involved, since the New Mutants have basically murdered Bioship. Lying in a pool of team member Magma's mutant lava, the ship is rapidly perishing while he tries to keep Professor X's body alive by remote control. X and the Entity are battling it out on the psychic plane, while someone remembered that Fireflyte is basically a portable Deus Ex Machina and she manages to return Kitty and Karza to their own bodies.

Karza fucks off, Xavier beats the Entity, and Bioship fucking dies and it's never mentioned again. Storm even gives a speech about how they'll never forget Bioship's sacrifice, and no one stops to mention that actually probably they could've just picked him up outta the magma and let him rest up for a week?

Bioship literally chooses to die -- for expediency's sake.  The X-Men need to be returned to normal size, the Micronauts need to go back to the Microverse, and Bioship doesn't have the energy to do all of that AND live. So instead of putting the guy in the shop for a week, maybe patch him up with some'a that fancy Shi'ar alien technology, they just make him make the X-Men big again and he dies. I have so many questions about why that worked out like that. Also, Magma should go to jail.

The X-Men and the Micronauts, the end! Next week, back to the Micronauts for the last three issues of the original series, and then I need to figure out what I'm doing after that!

"Hello? Nightcrawler? Hello?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: X-MEN AND THE MICRONAUTS NO.3 - MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GORY!



The X-Men and the Micronauts vol.1 No.3
Writer: Bill Mantlo/Chris Claremont
Artist: Butch Guice / Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Julianna Ferriter
Editor: Bob Budiansky
EIC: Jim Shooter

Mantlo opens up the first 11.5 pages of this story, and if you're wondering how I can tell: The first half of the book is all murder and war, and then in the second half, the Entity tries to fuck Kitty Pryde. I see you, Claremont.

God no.
The Micronauts and X-Men -- all of whom are in the complete mental thrall of The Entity -- attack a dog soldier "kennel" on Homeworld, slaughtering 'em left and right. Kitty in particular exhibits a raving bloodlust, which manifests most ferociously when the surviving dog soldiers surrender and she offers to go kill 'em. This isn't anything we haven't seen in Micronauts before, but Huntarr is thankfully there to keep Kitty Pryde from being depicted as murdering unarmed men.

(Huntarr was previously depicted as the only Micronaut whose previous life had been apolitical and civilian. Every other one of these wonderful dopes come from military worlds or backgrounds, or are in the rebellion by the time we meet them. Huntarr -- whom I still maintain was a sex worker in his pre-snot life -- would reasonably be the only person on a team full of brainwashed spree killers who'd care about keeping blood off of a teenage girl's hands. For the first time, I sort of like Huntarr...)

Best scene in the series.
Whatever the case, it's almost all war until there's a teaching moment. The Entity reiterates his desire that his thralls just do bad things for the sake of it, and that's a whole kettle of of philosophical fish that I can't even begin to unravel. The Entity also provides audio-visual aids, which is to say that he turns Arcturus Rann to dust for talking back. (He'll resurrect him later. He can do that)

Checking in with the body and armor of Baron Karza, recently teleported to Homeworld, we find out that the brain animating the beast is still Kitty Pryde! And, darnit, she's trying her best!

Meanwhile, though, her body is in peril back with The Entity -- he's gonna fuck her! Hi Chris! Hi Mr.Claremont! How come half of the fuck fantasies that make their way into Claremont's X-Men involved tufted chaise longues and ivy-wrapped pillars? And a recessed pool? How wild does this guy fuck?

Since we've established that The Entity is some sort of reverse, evil Professor X identity -- a Cassandra Nova or just a Dark Xavier or something -- can the takeaway be that Professor X does not want to fuck his fourteen year-old charge? Because that's the only answer that I can live with.

While Kitty dodges the bizarro-Prof's dick, the rest of the X-Men and Micronauts are waking up with massive hangovers in the dank dungeons of The Entity's ... collection of set pieces. I don't know where we are, a castle or a planet or something. We're somewhere. 

He does this like once a week.
In any case, everyone wakes up in jail and Wolverine, The Hero Who Still Has Six Knives, does what he always does and tries to solve their problems with six knives. Colossus literally has to physically restrain Wolverine from murdering Storm in her sleep, pointing out that The Entity can revive them at any time anyway. Maybe that wasn't why Wolverine wanted to murder his friends, Colossus! You don't know his heart! With all of that being said, still, you guys should fire Wolverine before he kills you all for nothing.

Back on Earth, a comatose Professor X briefly possesses the mind of pantsless teenager Dani Moonstar, who has been walking around in nothing but a t-shirt for three issues. Does the X-Mansion not have air conditioning? 

Buff and naked, Professor X's astral form just needed to puddle-jump via Dani's entire self, and it makes it so much worse when Xavier apologizes by telling her "Forgive me child, for using you in such a manner." UGH GODDAMNIT CLAREMONT THAT'S WORSE.

He confronts the Entity in astral space, recognizing the armor and giving the readers at home a little footnote to follow if they want to read the adventure when the armor debuted (Uncanny X-Men vol.1 No.117, if you're interested). This is also maybe the fifteenth clue that the Entity is an evil Professor X thing.

Boy, everything wrong with this story in two panels. Convenient.
With his astral form fighting Xavier somewhere, the Entity's physical body is vulnerable, which is probably why Kitty/Karza stabs it with a huge knife and leaves it to die. Hoop! This encourages Entity to engage in a Hail Mary play -- he switches bodies with Xavier! Xavier is still in his coma, with the Entity's mind in his body! Xavier is trapped in the dying Entity's body! And Karza, thinking his foes dead, gets a gun and decides to shoot all the X-Men and Micronauts in the heads. The end.

No, sorry, one more issue to go! Let's see what happens, and also I forgot to mention that all the New Mutants have done for two issues is sit in a living room and give each other updates on whether Professor Xavier died yet or not. Put that in the movie.

So dumb.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: X-MEN AND THE MICRONAUTS NO.2 - INTO THE ABYSS!


The X-Men and the Micronauts vol.1 No.2
Writer: Bill Mantlo/Chris Claremont
Artist: Butch Guice / Bob Wiacek & Kelley Jones
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Colorist: Julianna Ferriter
Editor: Bob Budiansky
EIC: Jim Shooter

Mantlo's 11-and-one-half pages of scripting launches this issue, with the Micronauts awakening into a "realm of nightmare." Excepting Karza and Bioship -- who had escaped to Earth in the previous issue -- the remaining Micronauts find themselves subjected to torments created by the seemingly all-powerful Entity, who is evil Professor X even though they haven't said as much yet. I've admittedly read ahead, but it wasn't exactly subtle ...

"No -- not cucking!"
In the "realm of nightmare," the 'Nauts are being put through a reality-bending wringer. Bug is transformed into an actual bug-like creature which, for all I know, is actually good for his people. That might be what they're hoping for. "Even MORE of a bug? I'll TAKE it!" Acroyear discovers that the child carried by his former lover Cilicia was actually fathered by his albino usurper brother Shaitan (in the hallucination, anyway). I kind of think it's heavily implied that Fireflyte is raped by zombies (!!), Huntarr just cries about it, and Marionette is turned into a real marionette except a person, like how Kim Cattrall was a mannequin in that one movie, Porky's. Oh, and Rann just fails everyone again which is a harsh thing to say but I'm right.

The Micronauts bow and break under the pressure, becoming the Entity's devoted servants. Of course, he has all the power in the universe, so he could have just made them do that at first. I guess he had evil Professor X stuff to do before all of that.

(Speaking of which -- and I suppose I'll have a better opportunity to discuss this with the next issue, since I read ahead even though I know I'm not supposed to do that -- but Professor X has some deeeeeeeeply disturbing proclivities lurking around the cesspools of his mind. I know the contrivance in comics is that EVERYONE harbors ALL the evils known to mankind in the backs of their skulls but, here's a counter-argument: Maybe actually not? Maybe it's insane to suggest that, had they access to all the power in the universe, that one would destroy lives and planets for amusement? Maybe Professor X needs to step down, is what I'm saying, in favor of another leader who doesn't want to do what the Entity tries to do to Kitty Pryde next issue or so ...)

Not that picky, all things being equal ...
The Entity decks his enslaved Micronauts out in X-Men uniforms, and they'll come back around to fight Karza and the X-Men in a few pages. In the interim, this unhappy alliance has arrived on Homeworld, where the X-Men somehow just begin to figure out that Karza's a steel-plated shitheel.

Nonetheless, they Dr.Doom around with him, as you have to do when you're a superhero in the Marvel Universe. Yes, all of the bad guys are insanely bad and evil, but also we have to compromise our ethics and work with them. We gotta hang out with Magneto here, grab-ass with Namor there, mom says we gotta take Loki with us to the mall, etc etc.

Karza is perhaps a little over the edge, because the character from the git-go was a venal, power-mad brute who has literally ended worlds' worth of populations, and recently he'd dedicated himself to the very creed embraced by The Entity -- cruelty for the sake of proving that you have the power to be cruel. Perhaps I'm over-influenced by the current political climate, but it's hard to get around the scene where the X-Men reluctantly align with Karza. Surely there'd be a natural boundary of ideology too onerous to cross -- they don't team up with the Hate Monger, do they?

Anyway, Karza is still trapped in Kitty Pryde's body and Pryde in Karza's, although she's mentally dominated while she's trapped in his armor. Karza makes a play for the X-Men to leave Kitty behind, which is exactly the point I'm trying to make about how he's too evil to team up with -- "Tell you what, you've just learned that I took this universe by force and killed millions, how about you leave your fourteen year-old pal with me while you're in another dimension, okay?"

Keeping up appearances, Karza must teleport his body and armor back to his stronghold on Homeworld. You might think this would have led to Kitty Pryde having cool adventures as death-emperor of a twilight universe, but Karza uses his mental powers to make her shut up and stay still. So that's fun.

I forgot to mention that Bioship died. Heroically.
Bioship brings the X-Men to the Entity's realm, where they discover a recreation of their home at the School for Gifted Youngsters -- only much bigger! So, inside, it becomes a fight between the large Micronauts dressed as X-Men and tiny X-Men dressed as themselves. They naturally lose to the Entity, leading Butch to drop a masterful splash page outta nowhere, and Karza is shocked back to his body and armor - or is he!? He is not, I don't know why I led you on like that -- but it appears that he has, anyway.

Next issue: I am somewhat despairing of how this series is going. Let's see what the next issue does for me! And here's Guice killin' it ...

Damn, Butch...


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