Monday, March 6, 2017


Micronauts vol.1 No.9 (Sep 1979)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Michael Golden / Allen Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Editor: Allen Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter

The Micronauts veer inexorably towards the climax of their grand battle against the tyranny of Karza, a climax which will end up taking an impressive three complete issues to tell in its entirety.

That's only fitting, though, since Mantlo now has to wrap up an entire universe full of characters and their assorted dangling plot threads, even though he hasn't finished introducing all the pertinent components of the Microverse. 

A complete set, mint!
One of these components is the world of Spartak, home of the Acroyear warriors of which Acroyear himself is the deposed prince. "Acroyear of the Acroyears" still bugs me, but I'm happy to see the character explored more deeply. I've really grown to enjoy him as something of a war-clad Superman -- his tremendous strength used solely for the benefit of justice, freedom and friendship.

There's always something compelling about characters who come from "warrior cultures," if only because it's a bogus conceit in the first place. Cultures developed entirely on war and aggression (and, inevitably, the "warrior's code" -- shorthand for "How do we get these characters into ritual battle?") aren't believable, because even our own world's most dedicated warrior cultures still had music, art, poetry, agriculture, politics, textile manufacture, pottery, architecture, naval craft and so on. Inevitably, writers are forced to find a way to wedge the semblance of a genuine culture into all the war and honor and blood oaths and what-have-you, and it's always interesting to see how they navigate the limitations set before them.

So, anyway, issue 9: The Micronauts return to the Microverse via the collapsing Prometheus Pit. With the tunnel destroyed, and its inventor in custody on Earth BUT incurably insane, that path between the two worlds is locked off.

They happen to pop out in the middle of an Acroyear armada. Not knowing that the "thought wash" -- which had turned the warrior people of Spartak against their Prince -- has been cancelled by Karza as a punishment against the usurper prince Shaitan, the Micronauts fear the worst. In fact, they're feted as heroes and Acroyear is returned to his throne -- and Shaitan goes to jail. Get to jail, Shitstain, you got rumbled!

I know I'm indulging in a lot of asides, but I just want to mention that Mantlo clearly had Spaceknights on his mind when he created the Acroyear warriors of Spartak. There's even a physical resemblance between these characters and the ones who will show up in ROM:Spaceknight (which debuts in December 1979, one year after the launch of Micronauts).

So, anyway, we meet Acroyear's girlfriend Cilicia, and see their creepy noseless faces. This is a big mystery about Acroyear, and it pays off -- his grim countenance makes for as striking a look as his armored body, and I can't think of many other characters about whom you could say that. Iron Man always looks cooler than Tony Stark, you know? I mean, your mileage may vary, but I always thought he looked like a porn addict.

Back on Homeworld, the rebellion is in full swing. Argon, as Force Commander, leads the uprising against Karza. They're outnumbered by Dog Soldiers and the innumerable weapons in Karza's armory,  but they have passion aaaaaaaand the Shadow Priests, using weird magic to fuck everything up. Stay tuned about the weird magic, we're getting ready to wrap this up.

While waging a full battle on Homeworld, Karza becomes aware of the return of the Micronauts and so launches a second front on Spartak. Never fight a war on two fronts, y'all. learn from the lessons of Adolf Hitler and Baron Karza.

The overwhelming firepower of Karza's space-forces threaten Spartak and her people, which is how we learn of a heretofore unmentioned special power of the Acroyear princes: They can commune with the sentient intelligence of their barren but living world, become bonded with it, and turn the entire planet into a fighting war-organism. Warganism. There are dangers, not the least of which is just fucking dying from the strain. Does Prince Acroyear have the goods? We find out ... next issue!

No letter column this time around, because everything else was just too awesome.


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