Monday, April 17, 2017


Micronauts vol.1 No.14 (Feb 1980)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Howard Chaykin/Al Milgrom
Letterer: Annette Kawecki
Colorist: Bob Sharon
Editor: Allen Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter

Bug and his people raid the palace of the Colonial Governor who'd sent the Insectivorid Micronaut to the gladiatorial arena of Karza's Homeworld. It's a bloody battle, as Micronauts battles tend to be, with enemies and allies alike suffering deadly consequences. There are laser-blasts to the face at point-blank range and a raft of soldiers crushed to death under a falling Phobos unit. Jasmine -- Bug's sometimes-inamorata and murder-happy assassin -- takes particular glee in blowing a pilot's head clean from his body. Gruesome types, these Insectivorids.

Good grief.
Meanwhile, Rann and the other three members of his cobbled-together crew prepare to leave Homeworld, to the approving cheers of its liberated people. "Hooray, Rann! Mari! Force Commander! Slug!" I'm having that made into one of those "John, Paul, George & Ringo" t-shirts.

Again with the face.
Argon/Force Commander sees the gang off, approvingly, as having Mari return to space with Rann was his idea. It's not played for menace, but you have to wonder if Argon -- a formerly deposed prince, wrapped up in his celebrity as the conquering hero of the rebellion -- just didn't want to get the other royal sibling off of Homeworld. He has a new queen, after all, in the person of the former rebellion leader, Slug (who's briefly shamed by Mari about keeping her rebellion-mandated alias, which Slug keeps willingly). Too many potential regents spoil the monarchy, you know.

Biotron states the explicit purpose of the relaunch of the Micronauts, as alluded to last issue; to bring news of the rebellion and support to the distant worlds still suffering the effects of Karza's bleak empire. And it's Microtron who suggests that it would repay a great debt to the believed-dead Bug to bring freedom to his homeworld of Kaliklak. Nice job, Roboids, you've moved the plot along!

On Spartak, Acroyear has come to a similar conclusion, feeling the confines and limitations of leadership to be more than he can bear. With his lover, Cilicia, Acroyear re-joins the Micronauts. This all feels like it'll end up as a big battle on Kaliklak, but Bug contacts them before they even make it planetside -- to announce that he's overthrown the colonial government and would like to re-join the group now. A happy ending for everyone! Hooray! He also shot the governor in the face at point-blank range again. I feel like Chaykin is mandating the short distance in these headshots. It feels up his alley.

He also clearly designed Jasmine's outfit.

Speaking of whom: Lettercol fun! "Howie" Chaykin gets a profile in Micromails (I still can't believe that they didn't call it "Micro-Notes"). The man's CV at this point in his career is tremendous. You can see the list below, but just for clarity -- he's got Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Iron Wof, Cody Starbuck, the Scorpion, Dominic Fortune, Monark Starstalker and Star Wars all under his belt at this time. And he hasn't even done The Shadow or American Flagg yet! Yow!

Next issue: The second Micronauts/Mainstream Marvel Universe crossover begins with The Fantastic Four!


Unknown said...

Howie designed Dominic Fortune for Marvel??? I thought he just took his unpublished Scorpion pages and changed some names? ;-)


Calamity Jon said...

Actually, yeah, that's pretty much exactly what he did.

neofishboy said...

Will you be doing the X-Men/Micronauts mini-series at some point? I seem to recall that had some seriously skeevy shit in there ... and you have to really bring your A game if you want to skeeve out a 14-year-old boy.

Calamity Jon said...

I will definitely be covering M vs X (that's how they do it now, right?), even tho I read it as a kid (courtesy of Marvel UK's Mighty World of Marvel, so I recall it with berserk coloring). I don't remember much of it except that Mantlo was nowhere near it, evidently, so it's going to be a decisive tone shift...

Rey Armenteros said...

I remember I had when I picked this one up - the second part of the story I had been missing for a couple months. I was enthralled by the story but so disappointed that Michael Golden had left. I remember hating Chaykin's here, and I still think it's some of the worst of his career, but I do love Chaykin when he's better placed. Thanks for the trip back!

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