Monday, January 15, 2018


Micronauts vol.1 No.39 (Mar 1982)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Steve Ditko and Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Al Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter

Okay, so, let’s say you missed all the alerts and warnings about the Micronauts’ upcoming exclusive availability. Perhaps you somehow didn’t register that the book is only available through subscriptions and the Direct Market. Perhaps the in house ads and lettercol announcements weren’t enough. Perhaps it would have been better if there had been a narrative element in an earlier story which explained it! That would be handy, because if they waited until this issue to inform the readers of the change in the clearest possible venue, well, it’d be too late. How would they know where to buy the comic.

"Excuse me as I drop cigar ash on these original Kirby pages"
BUT WAIT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID! The weirdest opening sequence in any issue of the Micronauts starts here, outside the modest storefront of the New York comic shop “Funny Business” (“Catering to the Comic Book Connoisseur”) into which Micronaut fans Donna and Chris are walking. As they enter, Donna is painstakingly explaining to the absolute dullard Chris that the Micronauts, owing to their discerning (read “small but vocal”), will now be available only at shops and by subscription. The store’s cigar-smoking owner (that’s gonna lower the resale value of these comics, pal) adds that newsstands were always unreliable, anyway.

This is so odd, and you wonder how they’re gonna get to the main story – which they do by having the owner hold aloft a copy of Micronauts which proceeds to glow and become a portal allowing the Endeavor to burst into the shop! And like the last time Ditko joined the book, Bug gets into a fight with a bunch of Micronauts toys! I’m sure the toy collecting community in the Marvel Universe searches fruitlessly for an unblasted Force Commander figure.

Oh, and I can’t recall if this came up before, but we’re informed that the “HMS” in “HMS Endeavor” stands for “Homeworld MicroShip.” I love how the Micronauts all know that they’re tiny, even when they hadn’t ever left the Microverse. 

And chill.
They leave the shop in utter chaos, and take a quiret moment to catch the readers up on everyone’s current damage and concerns. We establish that Rann and Mari are still fucking (they hadn’t seemed particularly close these last few busy issues). Meanwhile, Acroyear is still bereft over the loss of his homeworld, his mate Cilicia, and his being branded a traitor by his people. Bug is doing nothing. Devil has been paired up with Microtron because it honestly feels like Mantlo is trying every possible combination with this guy and just nothing is sticking.

Back on Homeworld, Huntarr is confessing to Force Commander his failure to kill the Micronauts. Rather than being blasted to atoms, Huntarr is forgiven and sent back to the Body Banks to get a little weirder. Oh, and this reminds me that Huntarr invokes the name of Sepsis, Goddess of Rebellion, as he leaves the scene and … I don’t know, that seems ballsy to me? I don’t understand Microverse theology. 

While we’re in the royal chambers, the spidery old broad Belladona hobbles in, creaking like an army of old chairs at a fat man’s convention. She claims the body of Force Commander’s former betrothed and rebel leader Slug as her own, planning to transfer her mind into Slug’s young body. Watch what happens closely, the rich buying political dissidents so as to wear them like long underwear is the next stage of Capitalism, I promise you. 

Behind the curtain of Argon’s bedchambers stands Lady Cilicia, Acroyear’s one-time intended. She has been pressed into an alliance with Force Commander and agrees to send a squadron of Acroyear Elite warriors to Earth to finish the Micronauts once and for all.

The subsequent battle takes place at a construction site; setting the stage for another one of those fights were tiny everyday objects become weapons. I’m sort of okay with that in general, and it’s okay here, except that things at a construction site are sort of famously large? “Bring in the very small backhoe, you know, the one my dog can hardly drive? Yeah, my toy Pomeranian, Lucy. Right, that backhoe.” And then there’s a backhoe in a shoebox and they build an industrial park with it.

Devil continues to irritate me, and I’m just waiting for a chance to go off on the pink idiot. Although Devil is “a jester,” he enters the fight cracking no jokes, wiseassing not at all, and not doing anything acrobatic or exciting when fighting his foe – he just hucks rivets at them. Meanwhile, Bug is leaping around, smartassing and shooting dudes in the back of the neck with his lance while still smartassing. We don’t need Devil on this team if his role is just to be the guy who says he’s what another character actually is.

The battle is overwhelming the Micronauts, but luckily it’s interrupted by – construction workers! Oh yeah, now it’s sexy! Baffled by the sight of tiny aliens roughhousing where they work, the guys make a snap judgment (based on Marionette being a tiny hot blonde, as stated explicitly) to join the side of the Micronauts instead of the elite Acroyears. How they could tell one from the other, I dunno. Maybe they hit Funny Business on the way back from lunch and picked up a copy of the book.

Then there’s a lot of Acroyears getting smashed by sledgehammers and other reminders that Bill Mantlo is a dream and you know it.

Unfortunately for our heroes, they end up getting swept into the sewers after the fight, complete with a heavily-damaged Endeavor. This makes Rann say his mother’s name as an epithet, and I confess that I really just don’t understand this universe’s theology.

They're gonna GET Sepsis.

Meanwhile,  in the lettercol, someone finally gets around to fancasting a Micronauts movie!

Oh, and a bonus pinup!


neofishboy said...

.. Richard Dreyfuss?

Jonathan Morris said...

But the part they objected to was Sophia Loren? Twists and turns abound in the lettercolumn, I tell you what...

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