Monday, April 2, 2018


Micronauts vol.1 No.50
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Butch Guice / Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Al Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter

Mantlo's taking the piss with that "Dark Phoenix" biz.
They aren't kidding about the title for this issue! It's the fiftieth issue and, boy, the good guys sure do lose! And not by a little!

As of the last issue, the Micronauts' assorted fates took a series of weird turns. Rann is back on Homeworld but only thanks to a giant robot ship that sucked the memories of Biotron out of the brains of Robotron and Nanotron, killing them, and sucking a few decades outta Rann's head too. The Time Travelers refuse to release the Enigma Force, which is a disaster inasmuch as Argon has been revealed to have been hosting Karza's energy-form, which has now shrugged off Argon's corrupted form and stands before the Microverse in his black-armored glory. Mari and her crew have brought the fight to Karza in the middle of the Body Banks-stocked arena, and the revolution has begun in earnest.

But, oh, the body count. A lot of folks die in this one, and Mantlo isn't any less unforgiving with Guice at pencils than he was for Golden. War is a messy, brutal, unfair affair and Mantlo is willing to make it hurt for the characters AND the readers.

Fortunately for me, the first causality of the book is Devil's! The fucker's finally dead but, even now, he can't stop talking about himself. Candide died faster than this fool.

God, just shut up already.
The dying Tropican is discovered by Rann after a psychic matchup with Karza ended up going in the Baron's favor. Preparing to engage his nemesis in the flesh, Rann finds a glowing, dissipating Devil lying helpless in his cot above the dead body of one of the Soul Survivors, transformed Microversians who worshipped Rann as a god and who could suck the life out of living beings with a touch. I just realized why normal people can't fucking stand comic books. Jeez, look at all that gibberish. Anyway.

But Devil can't go quietly. After informing the readers that Tropicans are just too stringy and urpy for Soul Survivors to safely consume, he goes on to explain that his recent fits of savagery had nothing to do with being trapped on Earth for too long, as previously explained. No, it seems actually that it's a normal part of a Tropicans life-cycle and HOW DID HE NOT MENTION THAT BEFORE. Anyway when a Tropican is separated from his Fireflyte, he eventually dies and part of him becomes a Fireflyte. That's fine, as long as he's dead.

Mari is rallying the citizens as Rann launches himself into battle with Karza, but not before the book's main baddie does a little haphazard murder. Both Slug and Belladonna (still in each other's bodies, even though an earlier issue implied that they were reversing that particular problem) are killed in Karza's grip; Belladonna's frail body succumbing to the devastating shock of Karza's Omega Beams Lite, and Slug getting fatally slammed into a wall by Karza's detachable fist.

And as Pharoid -- briefly Slug's lover -- rises to claim revenge, Karza snuffs that dude out too. I don't think I'm overstating my position in suggesting that this is bullshit. Belladonna and Slug spent something like eight months wandering the palace and plotting, only to have it end like this. Pharoid, him I don't care about.

I think I enjoy this more than I'm supposed to, and for all the wrong reasons.

Next up, The Death Squad also bite it, at the hands of assorted Micronauts. Just for those of you keeping score: Bug cracks Lobros' shell, Acroyear all kind of murders Ampzilla, Rann kills Battleaxe with the assistance of the new Fireflyte, and Mari ... Mari literally breaks Centauria's neck.  It is brutal and badass. I'm not doing a great job at hiding how much of a crush I got on Marionette at this point.

Margrace -- Pharoid's second-in-command and obviously intended to be his Falstaff (or Volstagg or Dum Dum Dugan, you know the type) leads a vicious assault on Karza's forces, but is also unseated and killed. Acroyear -- divested of his armor -- attempts to smack Karza down personally, and it reads like Blood Meridian:

In the end, with the rebellion stifled and a half dozen of the Micronauts and their allies dead on the field, all that's left to do is retreat. Fireflyte distracts Karza long enough that the surviving Micronauts can be teleported onto Bioship and retreat. Damn. They did indeed lose. Thanks, title. You really delivered.

Two other things I wanted to mention: Huntarr, whom I already suspect will annoy me as much as Devil, did damn near nothing during this fight despite being "a living weapon." Other thing was that passing reference was made around this issue that 50 had been intended to be a double-sized special, but the sudden departure of Gil Kane threw a spanner in the works. I can't even imagine what a double-sized Gil Kane issue woulda looked like, given that a normal-sized Butch Guice ish was this thrilling.

Speaking of which, here's ya boy with a pinup and now let's get ready for the next fifty issues! What? Why are you all looking at me like that ... ?

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