Monday, July 24, 2017


Micronauts vol.1 No.27 (Mar 1981)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Pat Broderick / Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Louise Jones
EIC: Jim Shooter

Karza is alive again, HYDRA stands poised to conquer two universes, and Danny Bulandi is inking Pat Broderick. One of these is worse than the other two.

Just realized how much I want a
Conan/Micronauts crossover.
Bulandi isn't a bad inker, I suppose, although I'm not overly familiar with his catalog of work. He's poorly suited for Broderick, though, occluding his best linework and putting the weight of the shadows and lines on the wrong sides pretty consistently. You get really spoiled with Armando Gil on the job.

Anyway, back to the story: Karza has regained his former body and continues to rule HYDRA, despite being only six inches tall. This leads to a tremendously, if unintentionally, funny shot of a HYDRA agent holding a television camera like right up to Karza to make him seem normal-sized.

Karza's independent, launchable hand makes its first reappearance since the first arc, popping off the villain's wrist this time to savagely beat Acroyear's usurper brother Shaitan. The rebel prince is begging like a jerk for the right to kill Acroyear, and Karza is just beating the snot out of him about it. It's entertaining, I won't lie.

Karza has been busy since last issue. He's established a HYDRA launching platform from hidden caverns underneath an amusement park, he's tied up at least one Time Traveler and is leeching Engima Force energy from him, and he's beginning his assault on our universe, the fink.

Meanwhile, the Micronauts and SHIELD are getting their very tiny ducks in a row for a counter-assault on Karza's HYDRA. Complicating matters a little bit is Dagon, Spartak Captain of the Guard and formerly a prisoner of Phillip Prometheus' mint-on-card collection of dead Micronauts. Biotron ain't buying it -- Acroyear is also skeptical, but he's been going through some changes himself lately. Still, there's obviously more to be revealed about Dagon ...

The battle at the amusement park -- a very thinly disguised Disneyland, to the point that I actually recognize part of the Autopia track being used in one scene -- is a return to the war-form of earlier Micronauts battles. There's no not-grim way to depict an all-out battle between a fascist organization of world-conquering villains and the heroic espionage agency sent to defend freedom set right in the middle of a crowded park full of families and kids. For a decent example, look at any international coverage of American foreign policy.

Broderick straight earning his keep here.

So the explosions which send bodies spiralling off in silhouette, snipers on the roller coaster tracks, and a fleet of Microversian Dog Soldier ships coming out firing from a giant clown head in a crowded thoroughfare, and Dum Dum Dugan shooting dudes right in the face ... well, it's not polite, anyway.

The story wraps up on Rann discovering that Karza has possessed Argon. The shock leaves him vulnerable to Karza's laser face, and we end on Rann being tied up next to Time Traveler, while Shaitan once again muses on the benefits of treason. I hate to say it, but this book needs to stay in the anti-Karza fight, it's where the gold is, so far.

Letter column fun, this time it's Mantlo's somewhat heartbreaking confession. If only we'd gotten to one hundred issues ...

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