Micronauts vol.1 No.2 (Feb 1978)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Michael Golden / Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Francoise Mouly (!!)
Editor: Al Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter
Leaving behind the oddly pro-Oligarchy glint of the first issue, the crew of the mighty Endeavor -- that's Commander Arcturus Rann, the desposed princess Mari(onette) and equally-deposed prince Acroyear of the Acroyears (argh!), the roboids Biotron and Microtron and character find of 1978 Bug -- find themselves pursued into the "Fringe" of reality beyond their world! That was a long sentence! I'm gonna go for brevity from here on out.
Their sometimes ally Time Traveler, wielder of the Enigma Force, briefly appears to warn them of a pursuing battleship and then fucks off to nowhere. This leaves the Micronauts a little time to assess their individual situations. This also fills in the new reader on the backstory so far. How are these short sentences working out? Still a little too long? I'll go for expressive grunts.
Rann provides the lynchpin for this cobbled-together resistance. Contained in his brain is the telepathically-gathered knowledge of a thousand years' worth of space exploration. Karza, having already conquered or destroyed dozens of worlds in his quest for total domination, fears that some hidden weakness might be gleaned from Rann's subconscious. Try asking Lucasfilm to sue for copyright violation, that'll do him in.
It's not an atypical plot device in toy-inspired stories to have the heroes mistaken for actual toys, but it's hard to imagine another writer/artist team besides Mantlo and Golden making it abjectly thrilling. Exploring the other-dimensional world on which they've crash-landed, the Micronauts barely have time to take in the implication of finding a backyard swingset the size of Kilimanjaro before they're attacked -- BY A GIANT COCKER SPANIEL!
The battle is briefly interrupted by a flash-sideways to Homeworld -- where we learn that Mari's brother and deposed Prince Argon (the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere, good for you Argon!) is alive and captive in Karza's bodybanks. The precise nature of the Bodybanks is a little ambiguous. The life-extending procedures are apparently dependent on sacrificing the lives of lesser classes so, in that way, it's basically the same cultural model as everything that already exists ever (citation: The World Book Encyclopedia, volumes The Dawn of Time through Probably The Future Too).
Meanwhile, the Micronauts' battle against a giant lapdog continues, and I can't tell you how enjoyable this is. That these stories aren't collected and reprinted is a legitimate crime.
They dispatch the dog (harmlessly, we'll find out next issue, which is too long to wait to find out if the dog is okay) and nearly bite it when confronted with a lawnmower. The hands which drive the lawnmower belong to the ominously named tween Steve Coffin of Daytona Beach, Florida. It's not the "Coffin" part that's menacing, it's the "Florida" bit.
Prince Shaitan, brother of Acroyear the Acroyear whose name is actually super-easy to pronounce so I don't know that Acroyear's damage is, finally catches up with the Endeavor. This results in a battle which devastates the Coffin's backyard. Shaitan is sent scattering when Steve smacks him with a rake, which is how I separate dogs that are fucking on my front lawn. Also, apropos of nothing, my spellcheck keeps trying to change "Shaitain" to "Shitstain" so now you have an adroit idea of what kind of conversations I have online.
The final shot of the issue is the devastated yard of Steve Coffin's suburban swamp home, rendered as beautifully as an aerial battlefield photo. It's a moment of relative peace for our tiny heroes, and it all picks up with more sci-fi action in the heart of Daytona Beach next issue ...
This issue's Mighty Marvel Bonus poster: