Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Gil Kane and Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Albers and Liefermann
Colorist: Bob Sharen
EIC: Jim Shooter Jim Shooter
Knave, Thy Name is Nemesis is a fantastic title for a comic which possesses one of my favorite covers of all time -- Micronauts wrecking a high-society cocktail party. I like the Class Warfare priorities of most superheroes. If they ever interrupt a party, it's usually a pretty high-class affair. You never seen Spider-Man and the Juggernaut blow through a church bake sale or barbecue on a Brooklyn apartment balcony. Eat the rich, you guys.
|The Death Squad hasn't shown up for|
months but they keep getting cameos...
I am enjoying how Kane has given up on trying to make the previous Devil design work, and has just made a magenta tiger-man out of him. This is as opposed to that fat, awkward, big-headed thing that had a face like the way that one vampire had a face when he was a cat in What We Do In The Shadows. Was that a sufficiently incoherent description of Devil's earlier design? Yes? Good, or I don't care, either way, really. I don't like this character.
In fact, we're in one of the cool-down scenes between crises, a rewarding pause in the book's often-frantic pace which I typically enjoy immensely. I don't know if Devil introducing the segment puts me in a sour mood, or if something really is missing in this one, but it played flat.
Arcturus Rann and Mari are at the core of the problem. Despite having been united as allies and lovers over the course of the last 41 issues, their relationship has not only failed to grow but to descend into insipid simplicity. Here's the entirety of their conversation as they play among the roses:
"Marionette, I do love you!"
"And I you, Arcturus!"
"I've longed to hold you -- feel your heart beating against mine!"
"No, Arcturus! Don't!"
"It's not right -- not now!"
"Stop gliding away from me! What's not right?!"
"To be in love -- to be so happy --"
|This is the only romance less robust than Mari and Rann's.|
I assume you know who said which line. These two characters should be at a point where their relationship is beginning to pay dividends, but nothing doing. If nothing else, the last three-and-a-half years of world-building has revealed to them new and challenging realizations -- Rann is, indeed, part-divine as well as distantly related to Marionette through their shared royal lineage. Marionette is increasingly driven towards the liberation of Homeworld not for the cause of freedom as much as to avenge a great betrayal on the part of her brother. This is stuff that should be explored, but the love affair has stalled narratively. Disappointing.
Anyway, speaking of love, Acroyear reflects of Cilicia and all he has lost with the destruction of Spartak, and Bug ponders the long-lost Jasmine -- and Janet Van Dyne? Yep, images of Janet Van Dyne -- an "insectivorid-type" mind, according to Bug -- plague Bug and instill in him a warning of terrible danger. And, believe it or not, this makes Rann jealous because he thought HE was the only guy on the team with telepathic powers.
The issue never really steps into overdrive, with the Micronauts eventually rushing to the aid of Van Dyne at her nearby garden party, which has been interrupted by the villainous Doctor Nemesis. I remember this character, I owned the comic he was in when I was a kid, and I remember the vague details about him which were covered in the comic. He is, nonetheless, unremarkable and kind of forgettable. I think I only remembered him because his costume is awful. I dunno, you can look the guy up, we got an internet for this stuff.
Wasp flies around for most of the adventure with her clothes off, which is a thing I think happened fairly often with the character, and I don't feel like blaming Mantlo for it. Kane's naked women never seem exploitative (to my eyes, anyway), since they look so much like figure studies. He draws women like great painters have painted them (We'll come around to that again with issue 44). PS Bug gets an erection and we see it.
|Wasp does a solid five on dressing in a napkin.|
Doctor Nemesis' stolen adamantium shrinking suit (don't care, won't explain) goes haywire and sends him shrinking into the Microverse -- taking all the cool Micronauts with him! Marionette, Bug and Acroyear vanish before the eyes of Arcturus Rann, who is caught between the shock that his oldest friends and the woman he loves have seemingly been destroyed, and the dread realization that he's gonna hafta bunk with Nanotron and Devil for the rest of the arc.
Lettercol! One writer complains that the new Direct Market plan makes it impossible for him to keep up on Micronauts (and he does it in precisely the same petulant "ho hum I guess you don't want my money oh well" attitude you hear on modern message boards, which is interesting), which leads to the hasty inclusion of a dashed-off subscription coupon in the book. Don't miss out!