Monday, September 4, 2017


Micronauts vol.1 No.33 (Sep 1981)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Pat Broderick/Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Simek
Colorist: Sharen
Editor: Defalco
EIC: Jim Shooter

DeFalco is on his own as editor here behind a Bob Layton cover. I like Layton, but I am worried about the increasing "whoever's available" sensation of the new cover philosophy. I know that assigning a dedicated cover artist to a book is a fairly new conceit (well, they've done it periodically over the years, as far back as Alex Schomburg illustrating every cover that needed to look like it came from a sociopath's dream journal), but there's not much of a rhyme nor reason to these assignments -- and the cover layouts are looking very typical of the Marvel line at the time.

Is it me or does he look exactly like Bobby Hill?
Acroyear lands on the world of Tropica, blinded by the glare of the comet which had decades earlier heralded his birth. This puts him on a collision course with two new characters who are about to join the Micronauts -- Devil and Fireflyte. I am familiar with both of these characters just by having seen them on the covers of assorted Micronauts issues over the years. Based entirely on those covers, and for few reasons that I could articulate, I do not like either of them.

This issue will go a little ways towards reversing my opinion, but maybe not that much.

The other Micronauts are preparing to leave the Subzero Zone for the next zone on their list in search for the final key. Before they go, they try one more time to get lovesick and bereft Prince Peacock to stop being a dick and use the key to save Polaria. He refuses, dooming thousands, and the Micronauts walk away shrugging like "Nothing we could do!" even though they literally have a thousand space guns and could kill Peacock, possibly with a lead pipe in the drawing room, and take the key. Do I have to think of everything here?

We also get to revisit the prophetic doggerel which is driving this ... slow-paced arc, in a scene where Argon appears to be showing signs that his brief flirtation with the power of Karza has corrupted him. Pharoid, for his part, merely resents that he has been secretly assigned by Argon to betray and capture the Micronauts, whom he admires. So do something about it, idiot.

"I desire fumigation."
Back on Tropica, A'yo has gotten into a brief, blind battle with the pink behemoth Devil and his glow-in-the-dark pal Fireflyte. It all ends amicably, and Devil introduces Acroyear to the really complicated culture of the ... Tropicana? Maybe?

We learn that all the Devils of Tropica are called "Devil," that they have some sort of intense cultural system where their greatest ambition is that all of the other devils of their race should be happier than they, and they're all stuck playing a game which a cloaked Time Traveler set them to play. Winner of the game gets a billion happiness points, losers get a Fireflyte to hang out with them, and which is apparently the equivalent of a Scarlet Letter in this culture. Tough burn on the Fireflytes.

The twist of the game is that any Devil acquiring true happiness would be happier than his peers, and the culture frowns on that. Why they play, I dunno, but it's one of only a few unanswered questions I have about these guys. They have cities, for instance, but they wear these torn-up loincloths that look like bath towels. Also, Devil has four legs the first time we see him, and then two for the rest of the times. Come on, guys. Get your legs together.

The game continues to be the focal point of the issue, when Fireflyte leads Acroyear to a bonus-sized version of the game, and a jealous Devil follows close behind. The two fight again, and a gamepiece is shattered -- and Time Traveler erupts from it like a stripper in a cake at a bachelor party. I heard that you've been feeling ill / headache, fever and a chill / I came to help restore your pluck / Because I'm the Time Traveler that likes to

Among the Time Traveler's revelations is that the Enigma Force really has passed beyond the vale of the Microverse, except he's here now, and all the Fireflytes are aspects of the Enigma Force, oh, and hey A'yo, here's the third key. Hold onto it while your dumb friends make idiots of themselves looking for it. A'yo is off to Deadzone! Who names these things?

Here are the rules of the game, so I don't have to explain it.

Speaking of Deadzone, Dr.Strange is already there, discovering an empty mausoleum of the ancient Indian champions whose legacy he pursues. Then he gets attacked by a demon as a cliffhanger. This is dragging on and I don't really think more antagonists are gonna help.

Lettercol fun! There isn't any! There hasn't been a lettercol for a few issues, and I don't think that bodes well. Even if it's a financial issue, better-selling books didn't have the same limitation. The other alternative is that they weren't getting any letters worth printing, so ... I mean, I sympathize.


Jonathan Hendry said...

"Based entirely on those covers, and for few reasons that I could articulate, I do not like either of them."

Same. Wasn't a fan.

Unknown said...

"Alex Schomburg illustrating every cover that needed to look like it came from a sociopath's dream journal"

I so want to see an article from you talking about Alex Schomburg's fantastically weird Marvel covers. 8-D

Although, IIRC his Xela covers for other publishers were more restrained.


Popular Posts