Monday, August 21, 2017


Micronauts vol.1 No.31 (Jul 1981)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Pat Broderick/Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Louise Jones
EIC: Jim Shooter

Frank Miller on the cover duties this time around, marking only the second time that the cover was illustrated by someone not involved on the interiors of the book. The other time was the first issue, so it's been a good run. Golden turned in some mind-numbingly great pieces, and Broderick owned that space all on his own.

Thanks to much of the first half of this issue, it's a mistake to call the book "The Micronauts," when the masthead should clearly read "Dr.Strange and a forgettable exchange with The Micronauts." I've turned into that guy from last issue's lettercol.

Strange really does occupy an inordinate amount of the book, but only because he's got to establish the stale mythology which will explain the upcoming "Origin of the Multiverse." This is a big, important arc and it's being presented as such, but the "plod around worlds looking for keys" plot, combined with the "ancient prophecy" bit is two marks against it. This book has been awfully unpredictable up until now, I dislike watching it fall to formula.

Anyway, Strange is meditating over the obelisk which bears the prophecy. Entering the astral plane, he follows some mystical tether to the scene of a great city beset by "strange, swirling demonic forces." This is as opposed to plain ol' swirling demonic forces. Strange places the city in ancient Bahawalpur, although he puts Bahawalpur in India, and I thought it was in Pakistan. I dunno.

It's the Goth Planeteers.

In Bahawalpur, Pindiastan, Strange witnesses four great champions stand on a battlement and complain about demons. What great champions! They are comprised of Dreamer (who casts illusions), Yama (who has a death touch), Agni (who uses something called a "fireflash," which sounds dirty and infected) and Kali, who is a fucking nutcase and keeps referring to herself in the third person.

The champions are led by Prince Wayfinder, a blind hero who spends the demonic invasion arguing with a sassy sword from Brooklyn. Bear with me. The sword -- called The Sword-In-The-Star -- speaks, and it speaks like Leo Gorcey Jr. "So sue me, kid!" it exclaims at one point, "Start giving with the miracles and they're never satisfied," it complains later. There is zero explanation for this. I assume they wanted something dumb as hell to punctuate this heavy exposition, to prove that we're paying attention.

Utterly pointless.

Back in Seazone, Lady Coral is leading a war against the subaquatic Oceanians, the leader of which is, unbeknownst to her, her transformed and presumed-dead brother Aquon. A-Rod commands hordes of undersea monsters, so the fight is pretty lopsided.

The siblings eventually meet, reveal all secrets, and then keep fighting even worse because Coral is insane and Aquon is some sort of dope. While the next wave of the prophesied cataclysm strikes Seazone, sending its chief city into the depths, Aquon makes use of the first key -- and turns everyone into a merperson! Including the Micronauts! Except Microtron, probably, although I'd love to have seen that.

Coral chooses to remain human as penance for fighting Oceania for so long, and having allowed so many of her people to die before Aquon could transform them to survive in the ocean. Aquon chooses to keep being a dope, but he gives Rann the key and reverses the merpeople hoodoo on the Micronauts. Off to Polaria! I wonder what that place's deal is...

On a one-page coda, Acroyear sees, once again, the Herald Comet which had marked the occasion of his birth, passing through the benighted Spartak sky. He pledges to follow it wherever it goes (hint: it's an oval) for some ambiguous reason! Okay! I accept as much! Next issue, Polaria! I can't really get excited about that!

Dang, lookit them fish.

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