Monday, January 1, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 37 - THERE'S A REASON THEY CALL IT THE DANGER ROOM!


Micronauts vol.1 No.37 (Jan 1982)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Keith Giffen/Greg LaRocque and Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Novak
Colorist: Sharen
Editor: Tom Defalco
EIC: Jim Shooter

The last issue of Micronauts found the other-dimensional do-gooders trapped on Earth (again), pursued by a group of microcosmic heels imaginatively dubbed “The Death Squad,” and killing a lot of time throwing office supplies around. Issue 36 was no great shakes and, in fact, might have been the worst issue of the series so far. But number thirty-seven … ? Thirty-Seven’s got moves!

Frankly, it’s pretty much the same plot and setting from the previous issue – it’s even taking place in a school – but a few of Marvel’s familiar faces bring a welcome change. Listen, I haven’t read a Micronauts issue at all during the hiatus, so I’m just glad to be here.

Well, fourteen times isn't all that much spread out over forty years...

The Micronauts meets the X-Men! Sort of!  But what Marvel always insisted on calling its “merry mutants” open the book with a two-page adventure wherein they attempt to clean and then are almost killed by the Danger Room. I don’t know if Mantlo was angling for an X-Men job, but he’s got the Danger Room mechanics all figured out.


The Endeavor lands just outside the Westchester academy which houses the X-Men, at a moment where apparently all the X-Men except Nightcrawler have fucked off to the movies. A familiar beat in Mantlo’s Micronauts, the team uses this interim to catch up on character development. Bug is growing jealous of the tight bond being formed between his best friend Acroyear and unconvincing high school sports mascot Devil. Devil is gassing on about how he’s used to the fun-loving, devil-may-care (great, now I’m doing it) lifestyle on his home planet of Tropica, despite the fact that he is no fun and he won’t shut up about anything.

Microtron uses an extending arm to fix the Endeavor’s warp drive, and the resulting feedback damn near kills him. It’s in this moment that we are informed that Homeworld Roboid manufacturers give their creations “pain receptors.” Why. Fucking why. Is it no fun to enslave a creature if it can’t feel pain?

Mari reclines like a very tiny odalisque and muses about her mad brother Argon’s rule of the Microverse, leading us to check in on horse-boy. He’s busily shoving a Homeworld tramp into the body banks and bringing him back out as a wad of snot in boots. This is HUNTARR, a guy taking the place of the Death Squad, which is a real monkey’s paw kind of situation.



(I feel awkward savaging any of the creations in this series, suspecting that they might be the brainchildren of Mantlo’s son, who’d pushed him to do the Micronauts book in the first place and apparently helped with the background info on the characters. If this is his kid’s creation, I won’t say nuttin’. I bet DeFalco came up with it, though)

Back at the Endeavor, they’ve decided that Devil is a whiz with machines which makes no sense, but it seems that they’re desperate to give this guy something to propel him to popularity. If he can’t be the team’s Wolverine, maybe he’ll be the team’s Chewbacca? I wish he were the team’s rug, but I didn’t get a vote.

Huntarr wastes no time in crossing the Spacewall and hucking his nuts at the Endeavor. It seems that he can make any sort of weapon or device out of the mass of his body, so if he hits you in the face with what seems to be a beanbag, you might taste pancreas.

The battle takes them inside the X-Mansion, directly into the Danger Room where the malfunctioning equipment proves a hazardous battlefield. The highlight of the fight scene is probably a scene which depicts the world which Nightcrawler sees when he teleports. I feel like they used to do that all the time in the late 70s and early 80s, but they stopped showing it after a while. Anyway, it’s a groovy visual. I like it.

This is either a panel from this issue of Micronauts or every issue from Jim Starlin's Warlock...

The issue ends suddenly with Nightcrawler and the Micronauts proving to be good chums. Huntarr is last seen within the Danger Room where he is literally just being ruthlessly fired upon by everything the room has to offer. He’ll be back. I’ve seen the covers.

This wasn’t a great story, but it was a palate-cleanser after the last issue. It may have largely been the same plot, but the forced gag of using stationary supplies as weapons (and the inclusion of the Death Squad) benefitted the tale by their omission.

Nothing great in the lettercol, except that the Micronauts’ upcoming shift to a Direct Market prestige publication is announced in the back pages. They’re not going to give you a chance to forget, believe you me… 



5 comments:

Jonathan Hendry said...

Yay! Welcome back.

John Gallagher said...

nice to see you are back posting stuff again. welcome back

Jonathan Morris said...

Thanks folks, glad to be back!

karinations said...

I love Wolverine just can't get enough Raiders. He sees more crazy shit in a week than 20 Indiana Jones's in a lifetime. Welcome back sir.

Jonathan Morris said...

Thank you, glad to be back. And yeah, I love that he's apparently obsessed with it. Puts him in the mind of killing Nazis, one supposes. I wish they'd kept that as a character trait.

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